- The NBA playoff bracket was finalized on Saturday.
- The playoffs begin on Monday at Lake Buena Vista, Florida
- The LA Clippers are now favored to win the NBA Championship at several Nevada books as well as at major international sportsbooks.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has made a mess of college football futures betting the restarts of the NBA and NHL have gone reasonably well thus far. The NHL is well into the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA will begin their playoffs on Monday at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The playoff bracket was finalized on Saturday and in the process the Los Angeles Clippers have assume the role of NBA futures favorite at most Nevada sportsbooks as well as major international books.
In Las Vegas, the Westgate Sportsbook has the Clippers as a +275 favorite to win the NBA title. For most of the season the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks have been co-favored but that has changed in the past few days. Westgate’s VP of risk Jeff Sherman told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he has had the Clippers rated ahead of the Lakers all season but the ‘public’ support for LeBron James’ team has kept them at the top of the NBA futures board. That has changed in the past 48 hours, primarily due to a potentially tough matchup for the Lakers against #8 seed Portland:
“Look at the Lakers’ path. They have to play Portland, then the Houston-OKC (Oklahoma City) winner. It just creates a much harder road.”
The Clippers aren’t exactly an overwhelming favorite–the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks are next on the futures board at the Westgate, both priced at +300. Sherman says that the Clippers are still something of a mystery since they haven’t had their team at full health all season:
“The Clippers haven’t had their team at full health all year. But they’ve got the best lockdown defenders with Kawhi (Leonard), (Paul) George and and Pat Beverley.”
The Lakers were still a +200 favorite on Sunday morning at the South Point Sportsbook with the Clippers and Bucks right behind at +300. That’s likely to change when they post the opening numbers on Monday morning. At Circa Sports the Milwaukee Bucks are currently a +250 favorite just ahead of the Lakers and Clippers at +275. At ELITE Sportsbook in Colorado and Iowa, the Bucks, Clippers and Lakers are all priced at +250 to win the NBA Championship. At FanDuel, the Bucks are a +260 favorite ahead of the Clippers at +300 and Lakers at +320. As of Sunday night, BetMGM had the Bucks at +270, the Lakers at +290 and Clippers at +320.
Looking offshore, BetOnline.ag has also installed the Clippers as a +250 favorite just ahead of the Lakers at +275 and Bucks at +300. Back in Las Vegas, Caesars Sportsbook has the Lakers favored though that’s due in large part to their liability from earlier wagers.