Nets Behind Lakers for Most 2020 NBA Finals Bets Amid Durant Injury Speculation

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 10:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  Kyrie Irving #11 (L) and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets during a game against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center on January 10, 2020 in New York City. The Nets defeated the Heat 117-113.
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The Brooklyn Nets were just 30-34 when the NBA season was suspended because of the coronavirus, but they have become a popular title pick as of late. 

According to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic, there has been a spike in bets for the Nets to win the 2020 championship and only the Los Angeles Lakers have been on more tickets since the season was suspended.

Bettors are clearly basing the prediction on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving returning to action after both were initially ruled out for the rest of the year.

"It's kind of a speculative bet, but nothing compares to this situation," said Dave Mason, the sportsbook brand manager at BetOnline.ag.

The NBA is in talks to resume play in late July with all games taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

If the league goes straight into the playoffs, the Nets would be involved as the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. The biggest question for the squad is who will be able to play.

Durant was expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season after suffering an Achilles injury in the NBA finals last June. However, he reportedly had been playing full five-on-five scrimmages with teammates before the March 11 shutdown, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

He left his return open-ended when speaking on Young Money Radio on May 12.

"It is what it is man. Everybody waiting on me to come back," Durant said, via Berman. "A lot of emotions involved. So I get it. I understand the business now. But I'll be back when it’s time."

Irving played 20 games this season but was limited by shoulder problems and eventually underwent surgery in March. However, he indicated he was recently back on the court:

B/R Kicks @brkicks

Kyrie is back in the gym 👀 @KyrieIrving https://t.co/2P7WLTYTkD

The time off could have given him the opportunity to recovery from the injury and help out the team.

Still, there is no set return for either player, meaning bettors might be placing all their hopes on Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert.