After a long wait, the NBA is back. Well, not yet right now but the league now has an official date of return.

In an official release dated June 4, 2020, the NBA said via its website that the league’s Board of Governors has approved a “competitive format” to restart its 2019-20 season. It can be recalled that the NBA suspended its current season last March 13, 2020, after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus. With the pandemic hitting the United States hard, the league was put into an uncertain hiatus. But after several talks between the league and the team owners, a positive decision has been reached.

Basketball A Competitive Format

Under the agreed format, 13 Western Conference teams and 9 Eastern Conference squads will play eight regular-season games for “seeding purposes”, with the possibility of a play-in tournament for the 8th seed and the playoffs.

The 22 teams who will go to the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida will be the Top 8 teams from each conference and they will be joined by teams from the respective conferences who are within six games of the 8th seed. Based on the NBA’s standings before the season went to a pause, the teams that can still catch up with the 8th seeds are the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards.

After eight regular-season games, there will be a play-in tournament for the 8th seed if the 9th seed finishes within four games of the 8th seed. If that happens, the 9th seed will have to beat the 8th seed twice to enter the playoffs. Meanwhile, the 8th seed needs to beat the 9th seeded team once to book a spot in the postseason. The playoffs will be played using the traditional format with a best-of-seven series for the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals, and NBA finals.

With this exciting news, new prop bets for the NBA season restart have emerge.

*Odds from BetOnline as of 06/08/2020

Which Team Will Be The 8th Seed in the West?

Teams Odds
Memphis Grizzlies -190
Dallas Mavericks
Portland TrailBlazers +275
New Orleans Pelicans +325
Sacramento Kings +1200
San Antonio Spurs +1800
Phoenix Suns +15000

The Memphis Grizzlies had an overachieving season behind rookie point guard Ja Morant. Memphis had a 3.5 games lead over the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings. The Grizzlies were also four games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs and six games in front of the Phoenix Suns. Given the amount of talent present in those teams, there’s no reason to doubt that any of those teams can catch-up.

The Blazers have been hounded by injuries all season long but the break could be to their advantage as Jusuf Nurkic should be in better form on July 31 than he was expected to be in his anticipated return last March 15. With an in-form Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside there as well, Portland’s ceiling will increase, both literally and figuratively.

The suspension of play should have given Damian Lillard enough time to rest. Lillard was having an incredible scoring run in 2020, including a three-game 158-point stretch last January. But he led the league in minutes and it was possible that he would have slowed down had the season continued. With the break, Lillard should be fresh and ready to lead the Blazers to a run at the 8th seed.

The Pelicans were on a hot streak when the season was suspended. New Orleans won eight out of their last 13 games played and had the league’s #1 pace since February. Zion Williamson was slowly getting into peak form after starting the season with an injury. If the Pelicans pick up where they left off, they will be a strong contender for that 8th spot.

Sacramento is also just 3.5 games back but the team only has two wins against opponents with a winning record since January 1st. But the team doesn’t have enough playoff experience outside Harrison Barnes and they don’t have the frontcourt to match the other contenders. The Spurs have struggled this season and even with their playoff streak on the line, I don’t see them making a run here.

I think that Portland and New Orleans are terrific contenders with plenty of talent. However, They are down by 3.5 games with only 8 regular-season games to be played. I think that while the West is a competitive conference, there may not be enough games to catch up, especially with the teams coming from a long break.

Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies (-190)

Will the West 9th Seed Win a Play-In Tournament?

  • Yes (-140)
  • No (+110)

I think that the Grizzlies will make the 8th seed outright but for the sake of this bet, I think that the Western Conference has a better chance of seeing a play-in tournament. They are four teams within four games of the 8th seeded grizzlies and if they can just keep pace with Memphis, then we would see a play-in. I’m not very much interested in this bet because I don’t see enough value on both sides but if you insist, I’ll go with the YES here because these teams are capable of beating each other in a play-in tournament.

Prediction: Yes (-140)

Which Team Will Be the 8th Seed in the East?

  • Orlando (-250)
  • Brooklyn ()
  • Washington (+950)

The Eastern Conference playoff race is also interesting as the Brooklyn Nets are just one-half game on top of the Orlando Magic for the 7th seed in the conference. Orlando was playing good basketball when the season was suspended and the restart will be played at Disney World. Although there won’t be any audience in the games, the Magic have the psychological home-court advantage.

The Nets won’t have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving but Spencer Dinwiddie was doing very well leading the team. Caris LeVert was scoring 24.5 points per game in 15 games since he was inserted to the starting line-up and the Nets have a hard-working group that should keep them in the 7th spot.

The Wizards are an interesting team in this race because of Bradley Beal. While Washington could easily go 0-8 here, Beal might heat up anytime and after an impressive ore-COVID 2019-20 season, there is a chance that he catches fire and pushed Washington to a spot where they could force a play-in tournament.

I think that Orlando takes the 8th seed here and they are the safe bet to make. But if you want value, Washington’s +950 is tempting. With a star like Beal on their side, this 8-game regular season will be interesting. I think it will be hard to overtake the Magic outright but to get within four games and force a play-in tournament is possible. Given that Orlando will be without Jonathan Isaac, Bradley Beal could be the difference-maker.

Prediction: Orlando Magic (-250) but I won’t be surprised if you take your chance with the Wizards

Will the 9th Seed Win a Play-In Tournament?

  • Yes (-105)
  • No (-125)

There isn’t much value here too on both sides and if you ask me, I won’t be making a bet here but for the sake of making predictions, I think that the Wizards are capable of beating either Brooklyn and Orlando in two consecutive games if ever they get a chance to get into a play-in tournament. Again, my reason is Bradley Beal as he not only has playoff experience but the ability to take over games with his scoring prowess. I don’t think that Brooklyn and Orlando have a player that can stop Beal from scoring. Washington was good as dead when the season was suspended but with this new hope, I think Beal steps up big and the Wizards are live dogs here.

Prediction: Yes (-105)

Place Your Bet Here

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *