With Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers out of the way, the Los Angeles Lakers are heavy betting favorites to reach the 2020 NBA Finals.
The odds are overwhelmingly in the Lakers’ favor for their Western Conference Finals matchup with the Denver Nuggets, which starts Friday night with Game 1 inside the NBA’s Disney bubble. The Lakers have -625 odds to win the series, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Nuggets are +450 underdogs.
The Lakers are such big favorites that they’re given an even better chance to reach the Finals than the Miami Heat, who have a 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Following Thursday’s Game 2 victory, Miami is a -360 favorite. Boston has +270 odds to win the series.
The Heat are 10-1 through 11 games this postseason. The Lakers were dominant in the first two series, losing Game 1 against both the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets before rattling off four straight wins in each round.
Denver overcame a 3-1 series deficit in both the first and second rounds. The Nuggets were 20/1 underdogs heading into Game 5 against the Clippers.
The Lakers are the biggest favorites in the conference finals since 2017, when Kevin Durant first joined the Golden State Warriors to form arguably the greatest team of all time. Coming off three titles in four years, the Warriors were -550 favorites over the Portland Trail Blazers in last year’s conference finals. Golden State started the 2018 conference finals as -200 favorites over Houston.
The odds of the Lakers and Heat meeting in the Finals are set at -210. The biggest longshot matchup is a meeting between the Celtics and Nuggets, which has +1900 odds before Friday’s Game 1.
LeBron James reached the NBA Finals every year from 2011 to 2018. The league’s top star took Miami to the Finals in four of those seasons, winning the 2012 and 2013 championships.
The Lakers last reached the NBA Finals in 2010.
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