The NBA has announced that it will resume the 2019-20 season on July 31, 2020, at Disney World in Orlando. The league also revealed that a total of 22 teams will join the restart next month. These teams include the Top 8 teams of each conference and the teams which are within six games of the 8th seed.

As a result, the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards get invitations to participate in an 8-game regular season where the team standings before the pause will be carried over. To make the season more exciting, the league will hold a play-in tournament for the 8th seed if the 9th seed finishes the 8-game regular season within four games of the last playoff spot.

What makes the restart more exciting is that all the games will be played at Disney World meaning the traditional home-court advantage for the higher seeds will no longer be enjoyed during the 2020 playoffs.

Because of the changes in how the 2020 NBA postseason will be played, the NBA’s 2020 championship odds have also changed with some teams moving up the ladder and some teams going down.

Here are the latest NBA odds to win the NBA title. Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 06/09/20:

Teams Odds
Los Angeles Lakers +225
L.A. Clippers +275
Milwaukee Bucks +300
Boston Celtics +1200
Houston Rockets +1800
Toronto Raptors +2500
Denver Nuggets +2800
Philadelphia 76ers +3000
Dallas Mavericks +4000
Utah Jazz +4000

The Los Angeles Lakers kept the top spot on the odds board and the team with the best record in the Western Conference when play was halted is expected to be fresh when the season resumes on July 31st. LeBron James is already 35 years old and playing in his 17th season while Anthony Davis was playing banged up already last March. However, with a four-month break, they should be fresh and recharged for a deep playoff run. Critics pointed to the Lakers’ lack of depth but with James and Davis well-rested, this team is capable of beating anyone in a seven-game series.

The L.A. Clippers were the preseason favorites to win the title after they acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. But the two superstars didn’t play enough minutes to give their team the best record in the league. However, the season suspension gave Leonard and George more time to recover and get back in shape. With the league’s most talented lineup, there is no question that the Clippers should be one of the top favorites to win the NBA title this season.

The Milwaukee Bucks fell to third place in the updated odds board. The reason why the oddsmakers are fading the Bucks is that they no longer have the homecourt advantage that made them the best regular season in the league during the past two seasons. The Bucks are a combined 61-11 since last season and were a league-best 28-3 at the Fiserv Forum this season. However, with the games to be played in one venue, the Bucks no longer have that edge.

The Boston Celtics managed to stay within striking distance of the second-place Toronto Raptors in the East despite dealing with several injuries to key players like Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward. The four-month pause should’ve helped the Celtics get healthy and we know what they can do when they are complete. Jayson Tatum had an All-Star season and Jaylen Brown was having a 20-point season. If both can pick up where they left off, Boston is going to be a tough customer in the postseason,

The Houston Rockets have climbed to 5th place in the current odds board. Oddsmakers believe that the four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic will work well for their small-ball lineup. It can be recalled that Houston traded big man Clint Capela at the trade deadline and insisted on going small the rest of the way. A full 82-game season would’ve taken a physical toll on James Harden and Russell Westbrook who have high usage stats but this 120-day break should’ve given the Rockets’ stars enough time to recharge.

Among the teams from 6-10 in the current odds board, I like the Philadelphia 76ers as longshots at +3000. The Sixers were one of the top favorites in the preseason and the team had a decent start but injuries to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons pulled them down in the team standings. Because the injuries to their stars were just minor, I expect the two young players to return to form come July 31st. Philly was just 10-24 on the road before the season was paused but without home and away games now, I think they will have a good chance to create upsets.

Basketball Who Wins?

The stakes have changed with the announcement that the remainder of the NBA’s 2019-20 season will be played at Disney World. While it doesn’t give the homecourt advantage to the Orlando Magic, the teams with the best records like the Bucks and Lakers will no longer have homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

Without homecourt advantage and with all teams enjoying the same among of rest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that the NBA’s 2019-20 season will go down to talent and experience.

When it comes to talent, there is no question that the Clippers have the most talented lineup on paper. I like the Lakers too because LeBron James and Anthony Davis were the best 1-2 punch during the 2019-20 season. However, the Clippers have a deeper bench with the likes of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell leading their reserves.

The Bucks were the most consistent regular-season team in 2019-20 just like they were the year before. But as I mentioned earlier, they no longer have the homecourt advantage that made them a very special team. Milwaukee was 38-2 against teams below the .500 mark but were only 15-10 against opponents with a winning record. They won’t have many losing opponents starting July 31st.

The Lakers (17-10) and Clippers (17-11) had the top two records against winning teams and that shows how good these two L.A. teams are against elite competition. However, you have to consider that only one of them makes it to the Finals as they are expected to collide in the 2020 Western Conference Finals. I think that team will be the Clippers and they will win it all this season.

Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers

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