Complete First-Round NBA Playoffs Odds, Tips & Betting Picks
With the end of a unique NBA regular season, a familiar NBA Playoffs format returns, albeit all from the bubble in Orlando.
After a four-month hiatus from the courts due to the coronavirus epidemic and an eight-game restart featuring playoff-contending teams, the 2020 NBA Playoffs tip off on Monday. It features the usual eight best-of-seven showdowns and plenty of NBA betting opportunities.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks secured the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason, while LeBron James and the Lakers secured the No. 1 seed in the West. Yet the Lakers have the lowest odds to emerge with the championship. Let’s dive into the NBA odds for each series.
Updated 2020 NBA Title Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+250|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+300|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+6000|
NBA Eastern Conference 2020 First-Round Odds & Picks
Bucks-Magic Series Odds & Pick
Series odds: Bucks -10000, Magic +1300
The Bucks finished just 3-5 in the bubble and certainly didn’t look like the team that had crushed the competition during the initial part of the NBA regular season. But they also played their starters roughly half a game, or not at all, in several instances.
I’m not concerned, especially in this opening round. Orlando doesn’t have the horses to keep up, especially after losing Jonathan Isaac to a torn ACL in the bubble. The Magic lost five straight soon after that. Milwaukee pounded Orlando in all four regular-season games, by an average of 17 points.
THE PICK: Bucks in 4
Raptors-Nets Odds & Pick
Series odds: Raptors -3335, Nets +1100
It’s easy to forget about the Raptors, with the headline-stealing Bucks, Celtics and even 76ers in the East. But Toronto is the conference’s top defensive squad, and it relies on a trio of veterans who continue to get it done. They’re the defending champions for a reason, even without Kawhi Leonard.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, has little to hang its hat on anymore. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving of course aren’t out there, but three other regulars also won’t play in the postseason for the Nets. Jacque Vaughn has been head coach for 10 games and nearly half his team was “called up” for the bubble.
THE PICK: Raptors in 4
Celtics-76ers Odds & Pick
Series odds: Celtics -375, 76ers +270
We’ve been waiting all season for Joel Embiid and the 76ers to match the lofty expectations bestowed upon them. It hasn’t happened, and even the restart didn’t offer much hope for 76ers backers. Now Ben Simmons (knee) is out.
Philly did take three of four against Boston this season, but it was because of the defense. Simmons, who led the NBA in steals and ranked third in deflections, was a huge part of that. Boston is seemingly getting better. Embiid can only keep the 76ers in the series for so long.
THE PICK: Celtics in 6
Heat-Pacers Odds & Pick
Series odds: Heat -310, Pacers +260
The Heat have struggled against the Celtics this season, but they’ve compiled a stellar 15-6 record vs. the other playoff teams, with a winning record against each. That includes the Pacers, winning all three matchups this season (by 1, 14 and 22), excluding a bubble finale when neither team played its regulars.
The Pacers were the better team in the bubble (6-2, vs. 3-5 of the Heat), but Indiana is limping into this round. All-Star center Domantas Sabonis (foot) is out and bubble star T.J. Warren (foot) is hobbled. Miami’s depth and 3-point shooting prowess will eventually be too much.
THE PICK: Heat in 5
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NBA Western Conference 2020 First-Round Odds & Picks
Lakers-Blazers Series Odds & Pick
Series odds: Lakers -550, Blazers +425
The Blazers made the most of their second chance, going 6-2 at the restart and overtaking the Grizzlies for the final spot in the West. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were special, and Jusuf Nurkic, who missed all season recovering from a broken leg, was back in action and a huge interior boost.
Nurkic should help against Anthony Davis, who destroyed the Blazers for 32 ppg in three games, two of them Lakers wins. Lillard averaged 36 ppg vs. L.A. this season, including 48 in its lone win.
RELATED: More on The Lakers-Blazers Series
This is going to be a closer series than some expect — the Blazers advanced to the Western Conference Finals last season and is, on paper, a better team this time around. But it’s hard to imagine James and Davis bowing out this early.
THE PICK: Lakers in 7
Clippers-Mavericks Odds & Pick
Series odds: Clippers -560, Mavericks +370
The future is bright for Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks, but they have yet to get their feet wet in an NBA playoffs situation. That’s not the case for Leonard, Paul George and a Clippers team built to win the championship right now.
Neither had much to play for in the bubble, but the Clippers handled the Mavs in each regular-season showdown, winning by 15, 3 and 15 points. The one game that was close was the one that George sat out. Expect the Clippers defense to handle the dynamic Mavs offense enough times to get through.
THE PICK: Clippers in 5
Nuggets-Jazz Odds & Pick
Series odds: Nuggets -177, Jazz +135
The Nuggets won all three regular-season meetings, but by a combined 11 points. If there’s a center who can bother Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, it might be Rudy Gobert. And when Donovan Mitchell gets hot, he can beat anyone.
Denver is missing some key pieces, but Michael Porter Jr. averaged a whopping 29 ppg in four bubble games without them. If Will Barton and Gary Harris can return, it would provide a huge boost to one of the NBA’s deepest rosters. Utah is in this series, but Denver should have too many weapons for Utah to contain for a full series.
THE PICK: Nuggets in 6
Thunder-Rockets Odds & Pick
Series odds: Rockets -175, Thunder +155
The Rockets are a new team since going “small ball,” but now the engine of the train, Russell Westbrook, is potentially sidelined or at least hobbled by a strained quadriceps. That’s huge for a player who relies on his elite explosiveness.
If there’s one team built to handle and overcome James Harden and Houston, it might be OKC. It was the best team defensively against the Rockets all season, keeping them off the free-throw line and limiting them to under 30% shooting on 3s in all three regular-season matchups.
OKC has hidden in the shadow of the Lakers, Clippers and Rockets in the West. But it has the tools to be a surprise team, especially in this first round — and especially if Westbrook can’t be Westbrook.
THE PICK: Thunder in 7
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