Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
With the 2020-21 NBA regular season shortened to 72 games – and some teams may not get all 72 in with around two dozen postponed so far – we are at the quarter-pole for the vast majority of clubs.
Fans may have been treated to an NBA Finals preview Wednesday when the Los Angeles Lakers took their 10-0 road record to the Philadelphia 76ers, who entered with a 9-0 record when having their preferred starting lineup of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry and Danny Green all available. Those guys all were Wednesday and the Sixers upset the Lakers 107-106 on buzzer-beater by Harris.
Philadelphia has the best record in the Eastern Conference but is only +1600 to win its first NBA title since 1983. The Sixers when healthy are excellent, but they have been below-average on the road and terrible overall when Embiid, a top MVP candidate, is out of the lineup. It will be important for the Sixers to get home-court advantage in the East, even if there will be no fans allowed in the playoffs (by then, they might be allowed).
That the Lakers rallied from down 14 midway through the fourth quarter to take a late lead was impressive in its own right, and it’s not like Los Angeles was going to go 36-0 on the road. The Lakers are still the +240 favorites to repeat.
How about the Utah Jazz? They tend to always fly under the radar simply because they play in the small market of Salt Lake City, but the Jazz as of this writing have the NBA’s best record and have not only won 10 games in a row but covered the spread in each. The Jazz have outscored opponents by 153 points during the winning streak, the longest in the league this season.
Oddsmakers aren’t all that impressed yet, however, as the Jazz are +2000 to win their first title. Utah made the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 behind the Hall of Fame duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone but ran into Michael Jordan’s Bulls both times.
No question that the Brooklyn Nets have the best trio of stars in the NBA in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving and they are +300 to win their first championship. When those three are clicking, the Nets are truly unstoppable on offense. Defense, though is another matter.