The NBA season is now at a pause with the players enjoying the 2020 NBA All-Star Break. There won’t be any regular-season games until next Thursday so while we wait, let’s take a look at how the futures betting odds look like for the odds to win both conferences.

The Milwaukee Bucks are the solid favorites to win the Eastern Conference and they are the only team that is currently pegged at a premium. The Sixers, Heat, Raptors, and Celtics round up the top 5 in the East. In the West, it’s a close race between the two Los Angeles teams with the Lakers currently having the upper hand over the Clippers. The Rockets, Nuggets, and Jazz round up the Top 5 in the West.

Check out the complete odds board for the 2020 NBA conference winners. These odds were picked up from BetOnline as of 02/17/20:

Basketball Odds to Win the Eastern Conference

Team Odds
Milwaukee Bucks -125
Philadelphia 76ers +500
Boston Celtics +500
Miami Heat +700
Toronto Raptors +800
Indiana Pacers +2500
Brooklyn Nets +4000
Orlando Magic +6600
Washington Wizards +6600
Atlanta Hawks +15000

The Milwaukee Bucks have been the most consistent team in the league this season. Milwaukee has the best record in the NBA at 46-8 and they have a 6.5 games lead over the second-place Toronto Raptors. Giannis Antetokounmpo is having another MVP season and he is the betting favorite to win his second straight Maurice Podoloff trophy. The Bucks are also getting another excellent season from Khris Middleton who is again an All-Star this year. Milwaukee lost to Toronto in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals but with Kawhi going West, this team is primed to take its spot atop the East.

The Philadelphia 76ers have the best center in the East and probably one of the top three centers in the NBA in Joel Embiid. They also have a terrific young supporting cast led by Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Josh Richardson. But this team has been in turmoil as of late with Embiid posting cryptic social media messages after getting booed by the fans. Al Horford has been taken out of the starting lineup lately. I don’t like where this team is, mentally.

Boston has been one of the favorites to win the East since the preseason. The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving but they got an equally talented playmaker in Kemba Walker. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are having terrific seasons while Gordon Hayward is playing better this year. With Marcus Smart providing the x-factor, Boston is a tough nut to crack in the East. The Celtics head to the All-Star break with eight wins in their last 10 outings.

Miami added Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder to a team that has overachieved this season. The Heat are in 4th place in the East right now and while they are 11 games behind the Bucks for the top spot, they are just three back of third-place Boston. Miami has a terrific 22-3 home record this season but they are just 13-16 on the road. This team is loaded with veterans and young talents. With Erik Spoelstra calling the shots, this team has a high ceiling. But they need to start winning on the road.

The Toronto Raptors won 15 straight games before finally losing a game to the Brooklyn Nets last week. That torrid winning run has put the defending NBA champs in second place in the Eastern Conference. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard in the offseason, Toronto has shown the poise of a champion and they have risen to the challenge behind Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fled VanVleet and Marc Gasol. I think that the Raptors are a sleeper in the East right now.

Prediction: The East is easier to pick than the West. If Kawhi were still here, I would’ve picked the Raptors. Without him, I don’t think there is a team in the East that can stop Giannis Antetokounmpo. Give me the Bucks.

Basketball Odds to Win the Western Conference

Team Odds
Los Angeles Lakers +165
Los Angeles Clippers +200
Houston Rockets +800
Denver Nuggets +900
Utah Jazz +900
Dallas Mavericks +1600
Portland Trail Blazers +3300
New Orleans Pelicans +4000
Oklahoma City Thunder +4000
Memphis Grizzlies +5000

The Western Conference is much closer than the East, at least that’s what the oddsmakers are saying right now. As of the All-Star break, the Lakers are four games ahead of the Denver Nuggets in the conference standings. The Clippers are five games behind their cross-town rivals while the Utah Jazz are 5.5 games off the Lakers’ pace. However, the oddsmakers are high on the Houston Rockets who are third in the odds board but are 5th in the standings at 7.5 games behind the Lakers.

The Lakers have been on top of the West since the start of the season. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been dominant for the Purple and Gold. However, it remains to be seen if their supporting cast will hold in the playoffs. The Lakers didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline and were beaten to the draw by the Clippers in the race for Marcus Morris. The Lakers are reportedly eyeing Dion Waiters but that’s just a rumor, at least for now. This year’s team has more shooters than the previous one but they haven’t been consistent enough. If James and Davis stay healthy, the Lakers are going to be in the mix.

The Clippers were the preseason favorites but this team hasn’t lived up to its billing yet. We’ve seen them beat the Lakers twice already this season but outside their rivals, they have not been consistent enough to make a run to the top of the West. Injuries have limited their floor time together and this team doesn’t have the chemistry that is equal to their talent. They acquired Marcus Morris at the trade deadline but perhaps more than getting another scorer, they prevented him from joining the Lakers. If the Clippers can put things together, they will be the beast in the west. I’m not sure if they have enough time to do that though.

Houston was the biggest mover at the trade deadline, dealing big man Clint Capela in a multi-team deal. They acquired Robert Covington, who gives them scoring and defense but also cuts their ceiling. Without Capela, the Rockets are going to have to win the 2020 NBA title using a small ball. They will have to live with P.J. Tucker defending the likes of Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, and Nikola Jokic. That’s a tough task but when you have two MVP in James Harden and Russell Westbrook, you have to think you have a chance.

Denver has the second-best record in the Western Conference, heading to the All-Star break Nikola Jokic has gotten plenty of help from his teammates and despite dealing with injuries to their starters recently, the Nuggets have kept their lofty spot atop their conference. Denver has gotten most of its players back before the break and they should be able to finish the season strong. I’m not sure why the oddsmakers aren’t too high on the Nuggets. Maybe it’s because of their lack of experience. Last week, they lost an OT game to the Lakers. Nikola Jokic passed up on an open three-pointer to tie the game and instead committed a turnover while trying to make a pass.

The Jazz went on a terrific winning run when they acquired Jordan Clarkson but the honeymoon is over and the team is currently just 5-5 SU in their last 10 games played. This is a team anchored on the defense or Rudy Gobert and the explosive offense of Donovan Mitchell. They also have added Bojan Bogdanovic for more offense this year but Mike Conley continues to struggle after starting the season on the injured list. Utah needs Coney’s experience in the playoffs and if he can’t get it going, it’s hard to bet on the Jazz.

Prediction: When all is said and done, what matters is how teams will play in the postseason. I think the Clippers will be ready when that time comes. I’ll take the Clippers in the West.

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