Updated Championship Odds for NBA Playoff Teams

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterAugust 24, 2020

Updated Championship Odds for NBA Playoff Teams

0 of 14

    Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

    While some NBA playoff teams' seasons are quickly coming to an end, the race for a championship is still wide-open at the top.

    Some of the title favorites like the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers have already lost a game or two in their first-round series, while the sixth-seeded Utah Jazz have jumped out to a surprising 3-1 series lead over the third-seeded Denver Nuggets.

    The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors have looked terrific, albeit against inferior or injured competition, and the Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks have refused to lay down despite being heavy underdogs. The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are the only eliminated teams to date, swept by the Celtics and Raptors, respectively. 

    So, what does this mean for every team's championship odds?

    Here's how the remaining 14 stack up in the 2019-20 title chase.

No. 13 (tied): Indiana Pacers

1 of 14

    Mike Erhmann/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +25000

    Record: 0-3

    Net Rating: minus-7.9

    Indiana is in danger of getting swept by the Miami Heat despite being the higher seed in the series.

    Losing All-Star power forward Domantas Sabonis to plantar fasciitis before the series was a devastating blow, and Victor Oladipo has struggled to return to his former All-Star self.

    Oladipo is averaging just 15.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists on 35.1 percent shooting from the field, a far cry from when he almost led the Pacers to a first-round knockout of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018. With Oladipo limited and without Sabonis, the Pacers have been carried by Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren.

    Brogdon is leading the Pacers with 24.3 points and 11.0 assists per game, displaying both his skill set and calm-under-pressure nature from three previous playoff runs with the Milwaukee Bucks. Warren's 19.7 points per game have helped keep Indiana reasonably close during each contest, and Myles Turner is swatting away 3.7 shots per outing.

    One game away from a sweep and still without Sabonis, the Pacers face an impossible road to a title.

No. 13 (tied): Orlando Magic:

2 of 14

    Kim Klement/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +25000

    Record: 1-2

    Net Rating: minus-6.7

    Kudus to the Orlando Magic for stealing Game 1 against a heavily favored opponent for the second year in a row.

    Much like their series against the Toronto Raptors in 2019, it may be Orlando's only win this time, as well.

    The Magic are trying to win without Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon, two talented forwards, while going against a team with the best power forward (and perhaps best overall player) in the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    The Milwaukee Bucks have had little answer for Magic center Nikola Vucevic with the 29-year-old averaging 29.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals on 54.5 percent shooting from the field. Terrence Ross has been quite good off the bench (16.7 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting), although the rest of Orlando's roster has struggled against the Bucks' No. 1-ranked regular-season defense.

    Winning one game in this series was an accomplishment, but Orlando's championship odds still reflect the quality of opponent and the multiple missing starters.

No. 12: Portland Trail Blazers

3 of 14

    Kim Klement/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +16000

    Record: 1-2

    Net Rating: minus-7.9

    The Blazers probably aren't going to make it past the Los Angeles Lakers and advance to the second round of the playoffs, but this isn't a team that's going down without a fight, either.

    Simply making the postseason was an achievement in and of itself as they caught the Memphis Grizzlies in the standings and held off a red-hot Phoenix Suns team in the process.

    Although his shooting has dipped while battling a dislocated left index finger, Damian Lillard is still putting up 28.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, and CJ McCollum has played through a fracture in his lower back to average 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

    Jusuf Nurkic's return has been a tremendous positive for next year's championship hopes even if Zach Collins is out once again following ankle surgery.

    The Blazers have a Big Three good enough to go deep into the playoffs, yet injuries and a first-round meeting with LeBron James have severely hurt their championship odds.

No. 11: Denver Nuggets

4 of 14

    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +15000

    Record: 1-3

    Net Rating: minus-11.9

    In a surprising hole to a Utah Jazz team missing Bojan Bogdanovic, the Nuggets still shouldn't be counted out just yet.

    Nikola Jokic has been good against all-world defender Rudy Gobert thus far (25.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 40.0 percent from three), and Jamal Murray has taken on more playmaking duties while still leading the team with 28.0 points per game.

    Denver has gotten a spark from rookie Michael Porter Jr. as well. He ranks third on the team in scoring with his 14.3 points per game, and he's shooting 52.4 percent from three.

    The Nuggets could be getting starting shooting guard Gary Harris back sometime this series after he's missed action with a hip strain. Harris is one of the team's best defenders and would go a long way in slowing down Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell.

    To have any hope of advancing past Utah and making a run to the Finals, the defense has to be better, of course. The Nuggets are dead last defensively among all 16 playoff teams (131.1 defensive rating), more than eight points per 100 possessions worse than the 15th-place Brooklyn Nets.

No. 10: Oklahoma City Thunder

5 of 14

    Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +12000

    Record: 1-2

    Net Rating: minus-5.9

    An overtime win in Game 3 breathed some life into the Thunder, who were in danger of going down 3-0 to a Houston Rockets team missing Russell Westbrook.

    The surprise of the NBA season, OKC has the talent to climb out of a 2-1 hole and beat the No. 4-seeded Rockets, so long as it gets more production in certain areas.

    As good a defensive job as Luguentz Dort has done on James Harden, he must start hitting shots on the other end, as well (2-of-14 from three). Sixth Man of the Year candidate Dennis Schroder is shooting just 38.3 percent from the field to get his 16.0 points per game, and OKC is 12th in assist percentage (50.4 percent) even with Chris Paul running the show.

    While the Thunder have done a great job controlling the glass against the small-ball Rockets, they'll need to get as many wins as possible before Westbrook returns.

No. 9: Utah Jazz

6 of 14

    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +3200

    Record: 3-1

    Net Rating: 11.9

    Utah has been one of the most impressive teams of the postseason, jumping to a 3-1 series lead against the No. 3-seeded Denver Nuggets.

    Even missing second-leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic following wrist surgery and without Mike Conley for the first two games after he left the bubble for the birth of his son, the Jazz offense has been electric against Denver.

    Donovan Mitchell is looking every bit a No. 1 option in his third postseason run, averaging a playoff-high 39.5 points to go along with 4.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Conley has made 11 of his 16 threes for a 26.5 point-per-game scoring average, and Rudy Gobert is averaging 19.3 points on 75.0 percent shooting from the field.

    Playing a Denver team missing Gary Harris and Will Barton, Utah has made 51.6 percent of its total shots and 43.3 percent of its threes, figures that rank first among all teams in the playoff bubble.

No. 8: Dallas Mavericks

7 of 14

    Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +2700

    Record: 2-2

    Net Rating: 0.0

    Thanks to Luka Doncic's game-winning shot in overtime to sink the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4, the Mavericks have a real chance to upset their favored opponent in the first round.

    Now the youngest player in NBA history to record a 40-point triple-double in a playoff game, Doncic is averaging 31.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 9.8 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 51.8 percent from the field through four games.

    The Mavs are far from a one-man show, though.

    Kristaps Porzingis is putting up 23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game in three appearances, numbers that would likely be higher had he not been questionably ejected from Game 1 after his second technical foul.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. has proved a reliable third scorer (19.5 points per game), Seth Curry continues to shoot the lights out (56.3 percent from three), and Dorian Finney-Smith is becoming one of the game's most underrated defenders.

    The Mavericks have played the Clippers dead-even in both record and net rating through four games, and they will be extremely dangerous moving forward.

No. 7: Miami Heat

8 of 14

    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +1900

    Record: 3-0

    Net Rating: 7.9

    One of just three teams without a loss in the playoffs thus far, the Heat have looked dominant against the Indiana Pacers.

    Jimmy Butler has caught fire from three, making 57.1 percent of his looks from deep following a lowly 24.4 percent mark during the regular season. His 24.3 points per game leads Miami, and he's racked up 6.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.0 steals per contest in the process.

    Former starter and rookie Kendrick Nunn has fallen out of the rotation, but Goran Dragic has more than excelled in his place. The veteran guard is averaging 22.7 points on 47.8 percent shooting from three and is leading the Heat with 5.7 assists per game.

    Miami is second among all playoff teams in three-point success (42.7 percent) with Butler, Dragic, Duncan Robinson (55.0 percent) and Andre Iguodala (40.0 percent) leading the way. Bam Adebayo is the perfect playoff center given his ability to switch onto nearly every player, and Iguodala and Jae Crowder bring some added toughness to the wing.

    Assuming Miami advances, a showdown with the Milwaukee Bucks likely awaits.

No. 6: Boston Celtics

9 of 14

    Kim Klement/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +1200

    Record: 4-0

    Net Rating: 12.3

    The first team to advance to the second round of the playoffs, Boston looks every bit a contender to come out of the East.

    Sweeping a Philadelphia 76ers team was impressive even without Ben Simmons playing as a core of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Josh Richardson is certainly paid well enough to win at least one playoff game on their own.

    Boston passed a major test in the process by knocking out a team with an elite big man. With starting center Daniel Theis standing just 6'8" and 245 pounds, easily taking out arguably the biggest team in the league, especially one led by Embiid, should give the Celtics plenty of confidence moving forward.

    Jayson Tatum led Boston with 27.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game, and Kemba Walker wasn't far behind, putting up 24.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest.

    Losing Gordon Hayward to an ankle injury shouldn't be too big a blow given Jaylen Brown's performance on both ends of the floor and Marcus Smart's previous starting experience in big games.

No. 5: Houston Rockets

10 of 14

    Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +950

    Record: 2-1

    Net Rating: 5.9

    The Rockets were one overtime period away from being up 3-0 on the Oklahoma City Thunder, and they have looked great even without All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.

    While James Harden has carried his usual offensive load (32.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game), the Rockets will need a return from Westbrook if they want to have any chance at a title.

    Jeff Green has been Houston's second-leading scorer (19.7 points per game on 61.1 percent shooting), but history tells us that kind of performance likely isn't sustainable. Eric Gordon is putting up 18.0 points per game but has struggled mightily from the field (34.4 percent) and three-point range (15.4 percent).

    Austin Rivers has looked dominant for brief stretches, and the Rockets will need more from Robert Covington moving forward (6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game).

    Harden can get the Rockets past OKC by himself, but Westbrook gives them a championship chance.

No. 4: Toronto Raptors

11 of 14

    Kim Klement/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +850

    Record: 4-0

    Net Rating: 20.4

    The Raptors have once again been playing like a championship team. At this point, it shouldn't be a surprise to see them come out of the East.

    Toronto has the best net rating of any NBA team thus far in the postseason, can be led by three different scorers on any given night and has 2019-20 NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse on the sideline.

    Fred VanVleet has picked up where he left off in last year's playoffs, averaging a team-high 21.3 points on 55.9 percent shooting from three to go along with 4.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Pascal Siakam (20.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per contest) is capable of turning his play up another notch if needed, and Toronto beat Brooklyn by 28 points with Kyle Lowry barely on the floor.

    While playing an injury-riddled Nets team has certainly helped, there's no doubt the Raptors are title contenders. Set to face off against a tough Boston Celtics team in Round 2, they will truly be tested for the first time this postseason.

No. 3: Los Angeles Lakers

12 of 14

    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +350

    Record: 2-1

    Net Rating: 7.9

    After dropping their opening playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers have looked far more like a title team in their last two wins.

    LeBron James is averaging a triple-double through three games (23.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, 10.3 assists), yet he has happily taken a backseat on offense to Anthony Davis. The 27-year-old big man has led the Lakers in shot attempts (21.0 per game to James' 16.3) and scoring (29.3 points per game).

    Not having to rely on James to score 30-plus points per night will be a blessing for the Lakers' title hopes as the 35-year-old hasn't averaged as few as 23.7 points per game in the playoffs since his 2010-11 season with the Miami Heat.

    The question becomes whether the Lakers are deep enough outside of James and Davis to win a title, especially with no Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo missing time.

    The Lakers' Nos. 3-5 scorers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green, are all shooting between 30.0 and 34.6 percent from the field. That's a bad sign against a Portland team that ranked 27th defensively in the regular season, and it's something to be monitored as the competition level increases.

No. 2: Los Angeles Clippers

13 of 14

    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +300

    Record: 2-2

    Net Rating: 0.0

    While the Los Angeles Lakers finished the regular season with the better overall record (52-19 to 49-23), it's actually the Clippers who have the better championship odds.

    Despite being locked in a grueling 2-2 series with the Dallas Mavericks, the Clippers still have the second-best title odds in the NBA. As good as the Mavs have been, both Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and Luka Doncic (ankle) are battling nagging injuries that may only get worse over a seven-game series.

    It's unlikely Paul George will keep up his miserable play, either.

    During this first-round series, George is averaging 15.3 points on 29.0 percent shooting from the field and 22.2 percent from three. Even a mediocre performance would likely have given the Clippers a 3-1 series advantage, and the six-time All-Star is bound to have a breakout game soon.

    Kawhi Leonard has played at a championship level (33.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game), and L.A. should get Patrick Beverley back from a calf strain soon.

    Despite the early struggles, the Clippers' ceiling and depth are still arguably the best in the league.

No. 1: Milwaukee Bucks

14 of 14

    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    FanDuel Championship Odds: +270

    Record: 2-1

    Net Rating: 6.7

    Despite dropping their first game of the series and Khris Middleton disappearing for stretches, the Bucks still have the best odds to win the NBA championship.

    Playing an Orlando Magic team missing both Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon probably should have resulted in a sweep by the Bucks, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo playing at his current level (31.3 points, 16.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game on 54.8 percent shooting).

    The odds appear to be rewarding Milwaukee for its first-place finish in the regular season (56-17 record) and the confidence that Middleton will regain his All-Star form. The 29-year-old is only putting up 11.0 points per game on 32.4/29.4/57.1 shooting splits after going for 20.9 points per contest on 49.7/41.5/91.6 in his 62 regular-season appearances.

    Assuming Milwaukee makes it past Orlando, a tough second-rough matchup with the Miami Heat (currently up 3-0 over the Indiana Pacers) likely awaits.


    All stats, unless otherwise indicated, courtesy of Basketball Reference, Stathead and NBA.com