Count those sleeps: the NBA is nearly back!
After an unexpected break to the NBA season, which coincidentally saved me from being eliminated in my season-long fantasy league and wind up getting are fund (SCORE!) the league is very close to returning!
So let’s get you caught up on all the latest happenings in the NBA so you’re ready to smash those NBA bets when things get rolling again on July 30th, which is just over a week away.
First up, which teams are returning and which teams aren’t?
The NBA will be giving the returning 22 teams eight games each to tune up, shake off the rust, and also to finalise the Playoff seeding in both conferences.
Since the league decided there’s not much point in putting the bottom of the barrel teams at risk, those without a mathematical chance of making the playoff shave been excused from attending the bubble in Orlando.
- In: 76ers, Bucks, Celtics, Heat, Magic, Nets, Pacers, Raptors, Wizards
- Out: Hornets, Bulls, Knicks, Pistons, Hawks, Cavaliers
- In: Clippers, Grizzlies, Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pelicans, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Trail Blazers
- Out: Timberwolves, Warriors
These are the key players that will likely be sitting out the NBA re-start:
- Trevor Ariza (Blazers)
- Davis Bertans (Wizards)
- Avery Bradley (Lakers)
- Willie Cauley-Stein (Mavericks)
- Wilson Chandler (Nets)
- Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets)
- DeAndre Jordan (Nets)
- Victor Oladipo (Pacers), some reports now say there’s a chance he will play
- Thabo Sefolosha (Rockets)
- Kevin Durant (Nets)
- Kyrie Irving (Nets)
- Lamarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
- Trey Lyles (Spurs)
- Bradley Beal (Wizards)
- John Wall (Wizards)
There is also some doubt about Rajon Rondo’s return for the Lakers, after he recently broke his hand at practice. There’s a chance he could rejoin the team atsome point during the playoffs.
Pelicans superstar rookie Zion Willamson also exited the bubble for an urgent family matter, depending on how long it extends he may miss some or all of the games when the season resumes as he will need to re-start his quarantine period after returning from the outside world.
Several star players tested positive for covid recently, including RussellWestbrook, Nikola Jokic, Malcolm Brogdon and Harrison Barnes. Eric Bledsoe’s diagnosis was reported on July 16th, so it’s possible that he may miss some of the first few games back for the Bucks if he doesn’t recover in time.
The majority NBA players that have been diagnosed seem to get over it fairly quickly, with most players being symptom free within 12-15 days.
Here are the latest standings prior to the restart
So who is going to win the NBA title?
This season is so topsy turvy that anything is possible. There is so much unprecedented stuff to take into consideration.
Home Court Advantage? Nope!
Every team is playing in the bubble, away from their home court, with no fans in attendance, so right now the playoff seeding means very little in terms of the advantage that it would normally present by playing at home.
If a series goes to a game 7, the team higher on the standings doesn’t really have that added advantage that they normally would. Throughout NBA History there have been 133 game 7’s, and the home team has won 105 of those (79%), with only 28 being won by the road team (21%).
Erasing that home court advantage is going to be huge. Perhaps this is a big reason why the Lakers are so heavily favoured. Although they were one of the top teams in the NBA this season, their road record was actually better than their home record this season, winning a whopping 81% of their games on the road (26/32) :
There are so many other variables this season, with teams potentially being rusty, which also means the risk of injuries is higher than usual, let alone if someone tests positive for Covid 19 mid way through a series and having to go into a 2 week quarantine!
So teams with a deep, balanced squad may also be at an advantage compared to those that rely heavily on 1-2 players.
The Lakers are the current betting favourites, with Lebron and AD running the show and they really are a great chance to win it. But don’t overlook teams like the Houston Rockets @17.0 or Utah Jazz at $21.0 as they’re going to be in it with a realistic shot as well.
Portland could be a darkhorse @ $101 odds if they can find a way to squeak in to that 8th spot in the West. With Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside, and Jusuf Nurkic has had several additional months to return from his devastating injury as well. They were missing players early on with Nurkic out the whole year and Carmelo a late addition, so they could be a team to watch!
Here are the latest odds for the NBA Championship, and you can also start to bet on games already at PlayUp too. Best of luck on your bets and hopefully the return will lead to some wild and entertaining games with the return of basketball to our screens!
*odds accurate at 21/7/2020, check PlayUp for the latest odds