Last Updated on June 11, 2020
The NBA is preparing for a never-before-seen format due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) that brought the league to a standstill in mid-March. The 22-team format will give a few teams on the outside looking in the opportunity to make a run at the playoffs with eight regular-season games and potential play-in games.
Since the league announced this format, bettors are going heavy on a few teams for very different reasons to win the NBA Title.
NBA Championship Betting Splits
|NBA Championship Futures (Since Pandemic Return Announcement)|
|Team||Odds||% Handle||% Bets|
|POR Trail Blazers||+15000||13%||3%|
|Provided by DraftKings Sportsbook|
The Los Angeles Lakers (+250) are leading the way in total money wagered (26%) and number of bets placed (21%). This should come as absolutely no surprise. The Lakers were running away with the Western Conference when the shutdown started. The duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis make for one of the most dangerous combinations in the NBA. Considering how upsets are rare in the NBA playoffs, the Lakers are a safe bet to make a deep run.
On the other hand, a select few bettors are going heavy on the Portland Trail Blazers (+15000). Despite only accounting for 3% of all total bets, 13% of total handle is on the Blazers. Portland is currently 3.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Of course, Damian Lillard and company will have to knock off the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
Again, upsets are rare in the NBA playoffs, but if there was ever a year to put some money down on a longshot, this is it. One key player coming down with coronavirus could flip a series on its head. Furthermore, the Blazers underachieved to this point in the 2019-20 season, but they have the star power needed to shock the world. Extra time for guys like Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins to recover from injury put the Trail Blazers in a position to pull off the huge upset.