NBA Champion Best Bets for 2020-2021
Los Angeles Lakers (+250)Just two months ago, the Lakers were crowned the NBA Champions after an impressive Game 6 victory over the Miami Heat. Los Angeles was the clear-cut best team in the NBA all season long. The Lake Show could play outstanding defense, often going long stretches without allowing a single point. Since then, the Lakers were able to add to their already elite roster. The team traded for point guard Dennis Schroder and signed multiple key role players such as Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol. The team lost a couple of key contributors, such as Rajon Rondo, Danny Green (trade) and Dwight Howard. Still, the roster seems to be better on paper, now boasting multiple other scoring options behind its two superstars. At +250, you are betting on LeBron James and Anthony Davis to stay healthy. They are unlike any duo we’ve ever seen in the NBA, and you would have to assume they will be even better in Year 2. If they continue to play at the level we saw in the NBA Bubble, there might not be a team in the NBA that can stop them. Their ability to create and make shots plus dominate on the defensive end makes them arguably the best duo we’ve ever seen in the NBA. (And yes, that includes Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, too.) Heading into the year, it’s tough to make a case for anyone but the Lakers as the favorites to take home the championship.
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Milwaukee Bucks (+500)After back-to-back seasons of being the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks failed to advance to the NBA Finals once again. In fact, they didn’t even make it out of the second round as they lost to the Heat, 4-1, in the Conference Semifinals. However, the Bucks made some necessary changes this offseason, including the blockbuster move to acquire point guard Jrue Holiday. That gives Milwaukee another ball-handler who is among the league’s best in on-the-ball defense against guards. Holiday can help with the offensive load some if Giannis Antetokounmpo needs a break. Betting on the Bucks at +500 is really a bet on Antetokounmpo to stay healthy. Given his linear growth as a player in the NBA, he should be ready for a monster season. The roster looks much more competent than last year and they are a great bet to reach the NBA Finals this season.
Los Angeles Clippers (+575)The entire 2019-2020 year was billed as the “Battle for LA" as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined the Los Angeles Clippers last offseason. However, that matchup never happened in the Western Conference as the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Conference Semifinals. That led to the firing of head coach Doc Rivers and multiple roster adjustments. However, Los Angeles seems to be in a much better position after hiring Tyronn Lue as head coach. They also added defensive monster Serge Ibake to their frontcourt to help deal with Anthony Davis and Denver’s Nikola Jokic. With a much more complete roster and a head coach that might force them to play a more team-friendly offense, the Clippers are still as dangerous as ever. At +575, this LA squad has a lot of post-hype value entering the season.
Brooklyn Nets (+600)The NBA is about superstars, and the Brooklyn Nets have two of the best in the entire league. After missing all of the 2019-2020 season, former two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant will return to the floor this season. Now that KD is paired with dynamic point guard Kyrie Irving, the Nets have two of the best scorers in all of the NBA. But can their team gel quickly enough to get past the likes of the Bucks, Heat and Celtics in the Eastern Conference? That remains to be seen. Still, this is a much better overall roster than given credit for, and first-year head coach Steve Nash will be tasked with finding rotations that work. The Nets will be one of the most fun teams in the league to watch this season and aren’t a bad bet to win the title, given their star power.
Miami Heat (+2000)We have to mention the Miami Heat as a possible candidate to take home the NBA Finals trophy after pushing the Lakers to six games last season. Led by Jimmy Butler, who is coming off a heroic performance in the final round, this roster is as physically and mentally tough as they come. The Heat also brought back Goran Dragic, a player they missed in the final round of the playoffs. They also added Avery Bradley to help on-the-ball defense. If players like Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson can all continue to improve, on one will want to see this team in the playoffs. At 20-1 odds, the Heat are a great buy-low candidate entering the season to win the title.
NBA Champion Sleeper Picks
Dallas Mavericks (+2500)My favorite sleeper candidate to win the NBA Championship this season is the Dallas Mavericks. They have a young superstar in Luka Doncic, who is the favorite to win the MVP award. They have a brilliant coach in Rick Carlisle, and they already have recent playoff experience after going toe-to-toe with the Clippers in Round 1 last season. If Doncic makes the leap that everyone expects, this could be a very dangerous team come playoff time.
Denver Nuggets (+2500)Another Western Conference team that is worth mentioning is the Denver Nuggets. They took the Lakers to Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals last season behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. While they didn’t do much to their roster this offseason, the team hopes that Michael Porter Jr. can make a leap. If he does, watch out; this could be a dangerous offensive team for opponents like the Lakers and Clippers.
Phoenix Suns (+5000)Looking for a big long-shot pick? Consider the Phoenix Suns, who went undefeated in the NBA Bubble in Orlando. Over the offseason, they added veterans Chris Paul and Jae Crowder to help Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton take the next step. The roster isn’t perfect, but they have three stars in Paul, Booker and Ayton, who all score at a high rate and can each win a positional matchup. Keep an eye on the Suns; this appears to be a playoff-caliber team entering the year.
NBA Championship Best Bet for 2020-2021
The best value on the board is taking the Milwaukee Bucks at +500. They have one of the best overall rosters in the league and they are a good bet to finish as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Take the Bucks to win the 2020-2021 championship, but keep an eye on the Clippers, as well, at +575. There is just too much talent on that roster for them not to make it further into the playoffs this season.
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