- The Toronto Raptors are at +800 to win the NBA Championship next season
- The Milwaukee Bucks are currently favored at +450
- Is there value with the Los Angeles Lakers at +700?
The Toronto Raptors have won their first championship in franchise history. While the city will savor the moment, 29 other teams are already looking ahead to the 2019-20 season. The Milwaukee Bucks have opened as a +450 favorite in NBA Championship odds, while the Raptors are at +800 to repeat. Who is the best bet looking forward?
2020 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||2020 NBA Championship Odds at BetOnline|
|Golden State Warriors||+500|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+700|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1200|
*Odds taken 06/14/19. Click on the link in the table above to see odds for all 30 teams.
Warriors in Shambles
There was already concern that the Warriors could lose one or two stars in free agency. Unfortunately, those very two stars – Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson – suffered significant injuries in the 2019 NBA Finals. Durant tore his Achilles while Thompson tore his ACL. Durant is expected to miss all of next season while Thompson is expected to be out nine or 10 months.
The Warriors are still at +500 but it’s hard to imagine them being competitive. If they only sign Thompson, they’re already $5 million over the salary cap but they’ll still need a bench too. If Durant opts in to his contract, the Warriors are essentially crippled financially.
Fade the Bucks
The Bucks are the favorites but I don’t really see why. Yes, they won 62 games this season but we saw that they’re flawed in the playoffs. Giannis Antetokounmpo can be stopped, Eric Bledsoe disappears and head coach Mike Budenholzer – as he did with the Atlanta Hawks – seems to have some postseason issues too.
More importantly, the Bucks have some key free agents. Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brodgon, Brook Lopez, George Hill, and Nikola Mirotic are all set to hit the market. Middleton probably stays, but with so many teams missing out on stars in free agency, it’s possible someone throws a lot of money at him. Even if he’s back, the Bucks are losing a lot. I’d pass.
Lakers Are a Risk
Everyone is making the assumption that the Los Angeles Lakers are going to acquire Anthony Davis. That’s still very likely, but betting the Lakers at +700 right now doesn’t make sense. Their offseason has been a mess and the Thompson-Durant injuries could throw the Davis sweepstakes for a loop.
With the Warriors out of the way, maybe now teams like the Denver Nuggets or Portland Trail Blazers make a push for a one-year rental with Davis because they could have a clear path to the title. The Lakers are in the driver’s seat but more teams might be in the running.
What About the Raptors?
The Raptors are the top team in the NBA and could – repeat, could – return the team intact. A lot hinges on Leonard and whether he, in fact, decides to stay. If he’s back, they’re a decent bet as players like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are on the rise. This team is young and will improve internally – especially with OG Anunoby getting healthy next year.
However, I still think it’s very hard to repeat as champs and this team wouldn’t be my first choice right now.
Value With Rockets, Celtics
At this early point, I see value with the Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics.
Starting with the Rockets, they are the team that has been closest to beating the Warriors. Now they (likely) won’t have to worry about them. It feels like the Toronto Raptors and LeBron James all of those years in the playoffs; once LeBron left to the West, the Raptors won. Obviously, it’s a different situation, but the Rockets couldn’t get over that hump.
As for the Celtics, there’s a chance they get Anthony Davis or there’s a chance they’re good enough as is. Remember, this team went to the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Even if Irving leaves, the team could still be good enough to make a push.
These are two teams with bold front offices that do what it takes to build the proper roster. They are in good shape now, could pounce to add that final piece now that the Warriors are out of the way and offer some value in terms of NBA Championship odds.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.