NBA Playoffs 2020: Latest Postseason Odds, Bracket Picture, Results, Predictions

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 24, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) and forward LeBron James (23) celebrates a play during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA playoffs have proved worth the wait, and we are not even through the opening round.

The competition is fierce. The storylines are abundant and amazing. The star power is so prevalent that it's enough to light the Orlando, Florida, skyline.

It's been incredible to watch, and thankfully there's another four-game slate to devour Monday. Before it tips, let's run through the latest championship odds from Caesars Palace, the most notable playoff dates and our predictions for the series on Monday's schedule.


Updated NBA Championship Odds

Los Angeles Lakers: +275

Los Angeles Clippers: +300

Milwaukee Bucks: +300

Toronto Raptors: +700

Boston Celtics: +800

Houston Rockets: +1200

Miami Heat: +2000

Utah Jazz: +2000

Dallas Mavericks: +3500

Oklahoma City Thunder: +5000

Portland Trail Blazers: +5500

Denver Nuggets: +8000

Indiana Pacers: +100000

Orlando Magic: +200000


Key NBA Postseason Dates

August 31: Conference semifinals begin

September 15: Conference finals begin

September 30: NBA Finals begin

October 13: Latest possible date for NBA Finals


Monday NBA Playoff Schedule and Series Predictions

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic: 1:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Nikola Vucevic's first season of the four-year, $100 million deal he inked last summer to stay with the Orlando Magic hasn't always been the smoothest. His stats didn't dramatically drop, but he had volume and efficiency reductions in most categories.

However, the bubble has brought out his best, and he has sometimes been a one-man wrecking ball in this series. He keyed the Magic's Game 1 upset with 35 points and 14 rebounds and then came back to deliver 32 and 10, respectively, for his follow-up.

The problem is it takes more than one player to dispatch the Milwaukee Bucks, and even when Vooch was at his best (he dropped to 20 points and five rebounds in Game 3), the Magic were out of their weight class. Milwaukee has won the past two contests by an average of 14.5 points, and it shouldn't break a serious sweat again this series.

Prediction: Bucks in five.


Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: 4 p.m. ET on TNT

The Houston Rockets threatened to put a stranglehold on this series. They opened it with back-to-back double-digit wins and then had a two-point lead with the basketball and only 24 seconds left in Game 3. But Houston turned over the ball (amid a missed foul by the officials), the game went to overtime, and Oklahoma City sprinted to a win after James Harden fouled out early in the extra session.

Does this mean we have a series now? The Thunder clearly played their most impressive game, yet their last time out and their three-headed monster at guard finally got going together. Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder combined for 78 points and 16 assists.

"I think we're starting to figure out how to play against their defense," Gilgeous-Alexander told reporters. "They're the only team in the NBA that really plays like that. It's something that we have to get used to. But I think we've figured it out, and we're excited about going forward."

The Rockets still have the edge thanks to both their 2-1 lead and the fact that they employ the most fiery offensive force in this series (Harden). But this could be the nail-biter so many expected it would be.

Prediction: Rockets in six.


Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat: 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT

In an alternate universe, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat are two evenly matched teams battling back-and-forth in a first-round series for the ages.

In our reality, Indiana is too affected by injuries to make things interesting. Domantas Sabonis is outside the bubble getting treatment for a foot injury, and while Victor Oladipo is inside it, his All-Star impact isn't. He's only 22 games into his return from January 2019 knee surgery, and the rust remains. He's shooting 35.1 percent and averaging nearly twice as many turnovers (3.3) as assists (1.7) in this series.

Miami has more than Indiana can handle, and that's created a 3-0 series lead for the Heat, who haven't won by less than nine points. They should deliver the knockout punch Monday evening.

Prediction: Heat in four.


Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: 9 p.m. ET on TNT

The Portland Trail Blazers had legitimate reasons to believe they might be able to bother the Los Angeles Lakers. When Portland drew first blood with a 100-93 Game 1 victory, its backers felt emboldened to take an early victory lap.

But the worst-kept secret in basketball was that the Blazers didn't have a great defensive option for Anthony Davis or LeBron James. And if the Lakers' stars ever awakened, they could run away with this series.

About that. Davis keyed his club's Game 2 victory with 31 points and 11 rebounds. James led the charge in Game 3, steering his squad to the winner's circle with 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. The Lakers have outscored the Blazers by 12.6 points per 100 possessions over the 77 minutes Davis and James have played together in this series.

Portland still has a higher ceiling than your typical No. 8 seed, and L.A. hasn't answered the lingering questions about its supporting cast. But if Davis and James can maintain this level, then nothing else matters.

Prediction: Lakers in five.