By Dan Kilbridge | | 7 mins
NBA 2019-20 Betting: Blockbuster Offseason Creates Intrigue
Blockbuster trades and free-agent signings shook up the NBA futures betting market in unprecedented fashion entering the 2019-20 season.
The average NBA title odds for the top teams are the shortest they’ve been in nearly a decade. Moves such as Kawhi Leonard to the L.A. Clippers and Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets changed the betting landscape, creating both opportunities for NBA bettors and potential pitfalls.
Here’s how the NBA Championship futures odds look for top contenders as we approach the start of the season:
- L.A. Clippers, +325
- L.A. Lakers, +420
- Milwaukee Bucks, +650
- Philadelphia 76ers, +700
- Houston Rockets, +800
- Golden State Warriors, +1100
- Utah Jazz, +1400
- Denver Nuggets, +2000
The summer dominoes ultimately put an end to the Golden State Warriors’ run as preseason NBA betting favorites to win the title. They were on top of the futures list four years in a row, checking in with -168 odds last year. They were also favored against the field in each of those four seasons, never dropping below -128.
Those Warriors futures bets paid off in two of four seasons, so betting them all four years led to a net loss. The value just wasn’t there.
This year? We’ve got options. This all presents an opportunity for NBA bettors to take advantage of preseason value like never before.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the biggest offseason moves and how they impacted NBA futures betting.
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Clippers Have Value As Favorite With Kawhi Leonard, Paul George
Betting impact: The Toronto Raptors’ odds to win the 2018-19 title were around +1850 at the start of the season. How’s that for value? Leonard sparked it all and moves on to the Clippers, who also acquired six-time All-Star Paul George from the Thunder. Now the Clippers are the preseason favorite with +325 odds to win the title. Those are the longest odds for a favorite since the 2008-09 Miami Heat so, if you like betting on frontrunners, this is your year.
Lakers Might Be Team to Beat With Star Duo
Betting impact: The Clippers moves actually brought value to the Lakers in the process. Otherwise the Lakers would be significant favorites after trading for Anthony Davis to team up with LeBron James. That’s a ridiculously talented top two for a team with +420 odds to win it all. Some think the Lakers should be favored over the Clippers, and if that’s the case, their +225 odds to win the Pacific Division are tempting. Davis balances out the Leonard-George deals and provides good odds on whichever L.A. team bettors prefer.
76ers Reload To Challenge Bucks in the East
Betting impact: Leonard leaving Toronto opened the door for bettors to cash in on Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers went out and got veteran big man Al Horford and combo guard Josh Richardson to complement All-Star center Joel Embiid. They also spent big to keep Tobias Harris for a strong core that includes Ben Simmons.
The big L.A. signings grabbed offseason headlines, but Philadelphia might now be the most complete team in the NBA. Consider that with their +700 odds to win the championship and +220 odds to win the Eastern Conference. The regular season wins total is 54.5 at William Hill, same as the Clippers. The 76ers won 52 games last year and have improved by all accounts. The Milwaukee Bucks are still the favorites to win the East (-139) after a stunning first-round collapse last year, but Philadelphia looks like a smart play at +150.
Warriors’ Offseason Clears Path For New-Look Rockets
Betting impact: Maybe the most intriguing offseason move in that it could get the Rockets over the Western Conference hump or fail spectacularly. Offensive-minded Westbrook joins the NBA’s leading scorer James Harden, and we’ll see if there are enough touches to go around.
There’s also a ripple effect here from the Golden State Warriors’ offseason. The team that has eliminated Houston in four of the past five postseasons is now depleted, with the injured Kevin Durant heading to Brooklyn and Klay Thompson out until at least the All-Star break with a torn ACL. That roadblock is clear, and bettors can still get the Rockets at +500 to win the West thanks to the big signings in L.A.
Long Odds On Pelicans After Davis Departure
Betting impact: Landing Zion Williamson No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft set the table for Davis to head West and shake-up all those futures odds. New Orleans acquired Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart in return for Davis. The Pelicans would be among the favorites had Davis stayed put. As is, they’re +6000 to win it all. A more sensible longshot bet for those who believe Williamson can help them contend is +1200 to win the Southwest Division.
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