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Lakers Championship Odds Shorten to +250 After Beating Clippers on Thursday Night

Kawhi Leonard dribbling, being guarded by LeBron James
LeBron James and Lakers beat the Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on opening night of the NBA restart. Photo from @LAClippers (Twitter)
  • The Los Angeles Lakers beat Clippers on the opening night of NBA restart, shortening their title odds to +250
  • LeBron James & co. looked sharp against a shorthanded Clippers squad
  • Read below to see the latest 2020 NBA Championship odds

If the Lakers and Clippers are indeed destined to meet in the West Finals to decide who goes on to play for the NBA title, someone will have to lose, but the viewing public is a big, big winner.

Thursday’s late game as part of the NBA Opening Night restart was another slugfest between the two titans in the conference, and with the Lakers’ narrow 103-101 win, they’ve shortened their 2020 NBA Championship odds.

2020 NBA Championship Odds

Team Odds at DraftKings
Los Angeles Lakers +250
Milwaukee Bucks +260
Los Angeles Clippers +333
Houston Rockets +1400
Toronto Raptors +1800
Boston Celtics +2000
Philadelphia 76ers +2000
Denver Nuggets +2500
Miami Heat +3000
Utah Jazz +3300

Odds taken July 31st

However, there’s still plenty to unpack before locking in a wager for either LA team for the ‘chip. This is a whole new world, and there are still lots of unanswered questions after the first day of competitive games in the bubble.

Star Power Shines Through

While other players will play critical roles, in the end, this is a battle of stars, and as each matchup between the two teams has shown, it will come down to which stars execute better down the stretch to determine the winner.

In this matchup, Davis did a lot of heavy lifting early as James struggled to find his footing through three quarters. The ‘Brow finished with a game-high 34 points and added eight rebounds and four assists.

LeBron came alive in the fourth, scoring seven of his 16 points in the frame, including the game-winning bucket on a putback.

Meanwhile Paul George poured in 30, six of those from behind the arc, including a money step-back to tie the game at 101 before James’ heroics. Kawhi Leonard quietly dropped 28 points of his own.

It’s an intriguing battle because the Clippers possess the two best wing defenders in the NBA, but even they can’t handle Davis – a problem most teams have. On the other side, James will always be forced to guard one of Kawhi or PG, especially in the crunch. He came through big time on Thursday, dealing with both on the final possession.

Shaking Off the Rust

Both teams entered as top-5 defensive teams and that stayed true Thursday night. The Lakers were held to 39.2% shooting from the field, while the Clippers didn’t fare much better, ending at a 43.2% clip.

Both LA squads were loose with their care of the ball. The Clippers turned the ball over 22 times, blowing past their season average of 14.8. The Lakers were just over their season average of 15.1 with 16 turnovers, but the Clippers turned those extra possessions into 29 points, while the Lake Show amassed just 14 points with their extra possessions.

Unfinished Products

Even though we’re just over two weeks away from the playoffs, each of these teams don’t exactly know what they’re working with. The Clippers were wildly shorthanded with Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell out for quarantine purposes. It’s hard to replace nearly 38 points of output per game from two of the league’s best reserves.

While the Lakers’ losses are less substantial, with Rajon Rondo injured and Avery Bradley opting out, LA is still trying to figure out their rotation. On Thursday, Dion Waiters played well and finished with 11 points, though JR Smith was a nonfactor.  Alex Caruso played the nominal point guard role at the end of the game, initiating the actions involving LeBron and Anthony Davis.

What’s the Best Bet?

Even with four-plus months to get right, the Clippers still couldn’t field their full roster, something they’ve done only 11 times this year. That lack of continuity steers me to the Lakers or Bucks. Either wager is legit.

But hold tight: we’re just one day into bubble games, and we don’t know what we’re looking at yet. There are some tasty odds in the next tier of potential contenders. Could the Rockets (+1400) or the Nuggets (+2500) overwhelm and outscore the opposition to a title?

And how are the Raptors, the defending champs, who currently own the third-best record in basketball and possess the most continuity and title pedigree of any top contender, sitting at +1800?

It’s probably the best value bet on the board, and a must side-wager.

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