The NBA makes a long-awaited return on Thursday night after almost five months without any action on an NBA court. Play was suspended on March 11th after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and teams haven’t taken to the court since. Now, after plenty of negotiations, 22 teams will return to action at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Campus in Walt Disney World, Orlando.
Each team will play 8 regular season games before the top 16 enter the playoffs as usual. With that in mind, lets take a look at some of the best prop bets and outright bets for the remaining games.
Most of the prop bets available for the remaining 8 regular season games are based on the final playoff spots. All but four of the playoff spots have been confirmed. In the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic look to have secured the final two spots. 9th seed Washington Wizards join them in the bubble but they are currently six games back from the playoff spots.
Things are a little bit more interesting in the Western Conference. Luka Doncic and the 7th placed Dallas Mavericks have all but secured their playoff spot meaning six teams will battle it out for the final seeding. It’s worth remembering here that if the ninth place team finishes within four games of the eighth seed there will be a play-in series between the two.
Critics have said that this is a clear ploy by the NBA to arrange a 1st Round Playoff series between LeBron James’ Lakers and Zion Williamson’s Pelicans but we can assure you it will not be as straightforward as that. The Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs all still have a role to play over the next two weeks.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best bets on offer over the remaining regular season.
Portland Trail Blazers to make playoffs (+400) with CanPlay
Last year’s beaten Western Conference finalists Portland Trail Blazers currently occupy 9th position behind the Memphis Grizzlies. Jusuf Nurkic went down with an injury in the Conference Finals and it’s fair to say that the Trail Blazers have missed his presence ever since. Thankfully for them, the Bosnian big man has made his return in the bubble and has stated his intent for another long playoff run. With Damian Lillard, C.J McCollum alongside him, as well as Carmelo Anthony off the bench, Portland will be a force to be reckoned with.
The Blazers might like their chances in a 1st Round series with the Los Angeles Lakers. Back them to make the playoffs with CanPlay.
Win total props have also proven to be a popular for the resumption of NBA action. The Washington Wizards have the lowest projected win total at under 1.5 wins. Their three best players, John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, will not make the trip down to Orlando which makes their task all that bit harder. At the other end of the table, there is a possibility of a team going 8-0 over the opening two weeks of bubble basketball. Keep an eye out on CanPlay for up to date game odds and prop bets.
The respective conference leaders, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, are joint Larry O’Brien favourites at +250 with CanPlay. The pre-season favourites Los Angeles Clippers are still available to back at +330 despite their recent controversies and injury-hit roster. After that there’s a group of outsiders listed between +1000 and +3000 who may all fancy their chances in this unusual 2020 season.
Eastern Conference Outright
The 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks are odds on favourites for the Eastern Conference at -175. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has had another stellar season and looks set to retain the Maurice Podoloff Trophy. While they are a formidable team, we think the value lies further down the field.
Last season’s champions Toronto Raptors were the first of the 22 teams to arrive in the Walt Disney World bubble and they have shown plenty of promise in their opening two scrimmages against the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers. They are available at +750 to win the Eastern Conference and a very attractive +2000 to retain their Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The other contenders in the Eastern Conference include the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. The addition of Shake Milton to Philadelphia’s starting line-up gives their team a new impetus on the offensive end.
Western Conference Outright
The NBA season returns with a bang on Thursday night as the Lakers face the Clippers at the HP Field House. Many fans will be hoping that this is a taste of what is to come in the Western Conference Finals. A Finals match-up between LeBron James and Anthony Davis against Paul George and Kawhi Leonard has been predicted since the start of the season an it is still the most likely scenario.
The Lakers are +155 to win in the West while the Clippers are +180 to do the same. It is worth remembering though that both teams will be without key men in the bubble. Lakers wingman Avery Bradley has decided to sit out the remainder of the season while Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell have left the bubble to deal with ’emergency issues’ and may miss the Clippers opening round of fixtures.
It’s hard to look past either of those two in the betting although the Dallas Mavericks may be an attractive outside bet for some at +1800 with CanPlay.
Keep a look out over the next few weeks for more great NBA odds and offers with CanPlay Sports.