7 NBA Prop Bets for 2020 You Should Already Be Jumping On
The NBA is up for grabs after seven different All-Stars changed teams in the offseason. A generational talent is entering the league, a handful of impact players are returning from season-ending injuries, and we could see as many as five new playoff teams in 2020.
It’s anyone’s guess as to how the season will play out after an unparalleled offseason, but we’re here to give you our seven favorite NBA prop bets heading into the 2020 NBA season.
James Harden to Win MVP
Odds: +650 on 888Sport
In an era where rest and load management have become the norm, James Harden keeps on humming along. The 2018 NBA MVP has played in 765 of a possible 804 games over his 10-year career (95.1% of possible games). He has missed 16 games the last five seasons and just posted one of the all-time great individual seasons in NBA history.
What does it mean? Harden has to be considered the MVP favorite. Guys like Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Anthony Davis could rest often in the regular season. Even Giannis Antetokounmpo could see more time off in the regular season to keep him fresh for the postseason.
Harden? He’s going to be in the lineup just about every night, and at 29 is entering the prime of his career.
The L.A. teams may get the headlines but Harden is going to steal the show in the regular season. He’ll also be playing with a chip on his shoulder after losing last year’s MVP to Antetokounmpo.
Pelicans Over 39.5 Wins
Odds: -120 on PointsBet
What’s the record for the quickest rebuild in NBA history? Whatever it is, the Pelicans are about to crush it. Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday are the headliners in New Orleans, but in the last three months GM David Griffin has also added a talented young trio in the Anthony Davis deal and signed both J.J. Redick and Derrick Favors in free agency.
This is a brand-new team with a terrific blend of star power, potential, depth and veteran leaders. They should have no problem reaching .500 as long as Williamson and Holiday remain healthy. The Lakers trio – Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball – will be playing with something to prove, and Alvin Gentry’s fast pace should only benefit their games.
They may not make the postseason – though their +350 odds to make the playoffs are intriguing – but this is a team rising quickly. They’ll top 40 wins without much trouble this season.
Clippers Under 56.5 Wins
Odds: -110 on PointsBet
Life is rough in the Western Conference. Just one team – the Warriors – reached 57 wins last season, and only two teams topped 50 wins the season before that. The Clippers have the highest win total in the league, and for good reason.
Adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to a 48-win team will do that. But there’s also a meshing period that those two will have to go through that could cost them some wins early in the season. Let’s also remember that Leonard and George are prime “load management” candidates during the regular season.
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The Clippers should win 50 games on talent alone, but with so much talent in the Western Conference – there’s a chance no team reaches 57 victories. Consider that last year’s Raptors team won 58 games, and that came in the Eastern Conference. There’s a lot of hype surrounding the Clippers, but 57 wins is a little too aggressive.
Nuggets to Win Northwest Division
Odds: +160 on PointsBet
The Utah Jazz had a loud offseason. They traded for veteran point guard Mike Conley and signed four free agents, including sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic. They’re certainly a contender in the West, with that group joining Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles. But let’s not forget about last year’s division champions.
The Nuggets were quiet this summer. They picked up Paul Millsap’s player option, extended Jamal Murray and dealt a first-round pick to the Thunder for Jerami Grant. But this is a group that returns its top seven scorers from last year’s 54-win team, and five of those players are 24 years old or younger.
Denver is on the rise after breaking through a year ago and shouldn’t slow down. Mike Malone has such a good feel for his roster that they have to be considered the favorites in the Northwest, even over an on-the-rise Jazz team that has the best odds at +110.
Sixers to Win 2020 Title
Odds: +900 on 888Sport
NBA Finals betting is as wide open as it’s been in more than a decade, when the Mavs and Lakers were both +450 to win the 2008 NBA Finals. That season, the Boston Celtics wound up winning it all despite +1000 preseason title odds.
Perhaps that will happen again, where all the attention was on a dominant Western Conference, allowing a team on the rise in the East to sneak in.
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The Sixers have two future All-Pros in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and they were aggressive in free agency by re-signing Tobias Harris and signing Al Horford to a four-year deal. The bench will be good enough, and GM Elton Brand has shown that he’s willing to spend on the trade market to give his team a shot at a title.
If Horford meshes with Embiid, and two young guns make the jump from All-Star to All-Pro, there’s an argument they’re the team to beat in the East. That means they’ve got title hopes, and +900 is excellent value.
Hawks to Make Playoffs
Odds: +300 on PointsBet
The Eastern Conference is top-heavy, but the No. 8 seed has averaged just 40.4 wins the last seven seasons. The Atlanta Hawks closed their 2019 campaign with a 7-8 record, and four of those wins came against playoff teams.
They have a foundation in Trae Young and John Collins, both of whom should flirt with All-Star status next season, and were aggressive in the draft in adding Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter and Duke’s Cam Reddish.
They feel like a team that could make a Magic-like leap – Orlando went from 25 to 42 wins and made last year’s postseason – and they shouldn’t need more than 41 or 42 wins to make it happen.
Orlando and Detroit, last year’s 7 and 8 seeds, are teams that could regress in 2020 and open up a spot or two in next year’s East playoffs. The Hawks will be ready to pounce.
Bulls Over 30.5 Wins
Odds: -106 on PointsBet
The Bulls haven’t cracked 30 wins in either of the first two years of their rebuild, but there’s optimism in the Windy City. No team dealt with more injuries to key players than the Bulls last season, and they actually went a respectable 7-8 in games that Otto Porter played in following his trade to Chicago in February.
What’s more, the Bulls were active in free agency, grabbing veterans Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky to fill depth at positions of need. That should contribute directly to a handful of wins they missed out on last year simply because they had no depth.
They also drafted combo guard Coby White, and the UNC point guard is expected to make an immediate impact.
Combine that with a core of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Wendell Carter Jr., and you’ve got a team that should make significant progress. A 31-win season (at least) should be an expectation in Year 3 of a rebuild.