NBA Playoffs 2020: Updated Odds, Predictions for NBA Finals

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIAugust 3, 2020

Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam (43) guards Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

One team will end the 2019-20 NBA season by hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy and celebrating a championship, like every year. This time, though, it's going to happen at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World in October.

It's been an unorthodox season because of the four-and-a-half-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but the NBA is back on track to crowning a champion. Currently, 22 teams are each playing eight seeding games apiece to determine the field for the NBA playoffs, which will begin Aug. 17.

From there, it will be a traditional postseason, even if it's coming a bit later than usual and in a different environment.

Here's a look at the odds for each of the 22 teams to win this year's NBA title, followed by predictions for the two teams that will battle for the championship.


NBA Title Odds

Los Angeles Lakers +180 (bet $100 to win $180)

Milwaukee Bucks +290

Los Angeles Clippers +350

Houston Rockets +1200

Boston Celtics +1400

Toronto Raptors +1700

Denver Nuggets +1800

Philadelphia 76ers +2500

Miami Heat +3200

Dallas Mavericks +3500

New Orleans Pelicans +5000

Oklahoma City Thunder +5000

Utah Jazz +6000

Portland Trail Blazers +7500

Indiana Pacers +10000

Brooklyn Nets +15000

Memphis Grizzlies +50000

Orlando Magic +50000

Phoenix Suns +50000

San Antonio Spurs +100000

Sacramento Kings +125000

Washington Wizards +200000

Odds obtained via Caesars Palace


NBA Finals Predictions

LeBron Leads Lakers to NBA Finals

After taking his team to the NBA Finals in eight consecutive seasons from 2011-18, LeBron James wasn't even in last year's playoffs in his first season in Los Angeles.

Not only is that going to change this year, but James will also get the Lakers to the NBA Finals for the first time since they won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

Los Angeles is 1-1 through its first two seeding games, as it beat the Clippers on Thursday and lost to the Raptors on Saturday. But the Lakers have a 5.5-game lead over the Clippers for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, meaning they'll clinch the spot with their next win or their city rival's next loss.

That means the Lakers will have some tune-up games before the stakes are raised at the start of the playoffs, which is when James invariably shows what he's capable of. But he's rarely had teammates as talented as Anthony Davis alongside him, and this duo has proved they work well together during the team's impressive regular season.

With their recent win over the Clippers, the Lakers improved to 34-7 against Western Conference opponents this season. They should continue their dominance with James' veteran leadership powering the way in the playoffs.


Giannis Makes NBA Finals Debut

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo won NBA MVP while powering the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. And while they made their deepest postseason run since 2001, they lost to the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 25-year-old is likely going to be the NBA MVP again this season, and Milwaukee is one win (or one Toronto loss) from clinching the No. 1 seed for the second straight year. Then, it'll be looking to get to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974, and it has a good chance to do so.

Before winning two playoff series last year, the Bucks hadn't advanced past the first round of the postseason since 2001. Their players have now had some success and better know what it takes to do so in the playoffs. They are also an NBA-best 54-13, which includes going 35-5 against Eastern Conference opponents.

Plus, Antetokounmpo is having an even better season than last year (29.8 points and 13.8 rebounds per game, both career highs). So, he's likely to will Milwaukee to victory at points throughout this postseason.


Lakers Top Bucks in Competitive Series

A matchup of the No. 1 seeds featuring several of the league's top stars? The first NBA Finals to take place in a bubble environment could be a memorable one.

The Lakers and Bucks split their two regular-season contests, and they're not going to play each other in a seeding game, so the only way we'll see these teams face off is a potential NBA Finals matchup. But these have been the two best teams in the NBA this season, and it would make sense for the year to end with this contest.

Because both of these teams have such talented lineups and haven't played each other frequently, it would likely go six or seven games, ending the season with a thrilling series. However, James' leadership and the tandem of him and Davis would be too much for Milwaukee to overcome.

James may not be doing his annual social media blackout during this year's playoffs, but don't expect that to change how he performs in the postseason. The Lakers star will win his fourth career NBA title as he continues to cement his legacy as one of the top players of all time.