Okay BetUS online betting nation, while the 2019-20 NBA season just ended a little more than a month ago, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 season is set to get underway just prior to Christmas Day. With that thought in mind and the new season quickly approaching, it’s time to take a look at the value-packed NBA sportsbook odds to win both conference championships.
While the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics are the top three sports betting favorites to win the eastern conference in 2020-21, all eyes will be on the No. 4 favored Miami Heat as they get set for the new campaign. In addition to the Heat, the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers both have the look of long shot contenders that will challenge for the eastern conference crown.
In the western conference, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers and Golden State Warriors are the top three favorites to advance to the 2021 NBA Finals. However, it looks like a whopping five long shot title hopefuls will all have a decent shot of unseating the Lake Show as conference champs this coming season.
Eastern Conference Long Shot Contenders
Miami Heat +700
Miami will be led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo for the next handful of seasons, but as far as the upcoming 2020-21 campaign is concerned, it’s a bit difficult to predict what lies ahead for the Heat, who are reportedly saving some cash in order to try and woo Giannis Antetokounmpo away from Milwaukee following the upcoming season.
“If there’s a next thing that can take us to another level, I’m open to it,” Heat resident Pat Riley said recently.
The Heat, who will pick 20th in the upcoming NBA draft, are reportedly set to go after several household name veterans this offseason including forward Danilo Galinari and/or Victor Oladipo. There have even been rumors that Miami could move rookie sensation Tyler Herro in the right deal
“Can we get through the Eastern Conference next year with what’s happening in Philadelphia,” Riley said. “Or what’s going to happen in Milwaukee or Brooklyn or Boston? We already know Boston’s got their team together and three first-round picks. Toronto? There’s a lot of very good teams. That was the question I kick around in my mind … are we good enough? Or do we need to get around to the next thing earlier.”
No matter what happens during free agency and the upcoming NBA draft, I expect Miami to be in the thick of the race to win the Eastern conference and that makes the Heat a great long shot pick at +700.
Toronto Raptors +700
Toronto reached the eastern conference semifinals before falling to Boston in a seven-game thriller, but this is a franchise that should be right back in the hunt for the eastern conference crown next season simply because GM Masai Ujiri is one of the best in the business at building a team, if not the best.
Toronto will have to figure out what to do with unrestricted free agents, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, with VanVleet their first and foremost priority. The former Wichita State star has options on the table and he could sign with any team he chooses.
“I’m tryin’ to get paid, man,” VanVleet recently said on JJ Redick’s “The Old Man and the Three” podcast. “I am not shy about that.”
Rumors are flying fast and furious about Ibaka who several teams are reportedly interested in signing. Gasol looks like he’ll be gone, but again, the raptors have an outstanding GM that will make the best moves possible to keep Toronto relevant in 2020-21. Still, I think Toronto, which has the 29th pick in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft, will be fighting an uphill battle to win the conference crown and right now, I just don’t see it happening.
Philadelphia 76ers +900
Last, but not least in the eastern conference is the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly recently hired former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey to run the show in the City of Brotherly Love and rumors say he wants to move Ben Simmons to land superstar James Harden. Whether that happens or not (it might), the Sixers have options on the table and a GM that knows what it takes to build a winner. Philly could part way with veteran big man Al Horford and other rumors have them parting ways with shooting guard Josh Richardson.
The Sixers have a new – and much better head coach in Doc Rivers and they have the 21st, 34th and 36th, 49th and 58th picks in the upcoming NBA draft. Whatever happens in Philly, I expect the Sixers to really challenge for the eastern conference crown and that makes them another great long shot pick at a value-packed +900.
Check out the latest NBA Draft odds right here!
Western Conference Long Shot Contenders
The Nuggets had a fantastic season while reaching the Western Conference semifinals before falling to the Lakers. Denver will pick 22nd in the upcoming draft, but they have a lot of unrestricted free agents they need to figure out what to do with, starting with veteran forward Paul Millsap and small forward Jerami Grant who has a player option for the upcoming season. Recent rumors say that Denver is exploring moving into the top 10 in the draft, but no matter what happens in free agency and the draft, the Nuggets have a very nice trio to build around in all-star center Nikola Jokic, blossoming point guard Jamal Murray and versatile forward Michael Porter. I see absolutely no reason why the Nuggets won’t challenge to win the west after they just did so this past season. Denver has a great head coach in Mike Malone and the Nuggets will be a year older – and wiser next season.
The mostly young Mavericks had a fantastic season in dispatching the loaded LA Clippers in seven thrilling games. Dallas has one of the best young players in the game today in do-it-all forward Luka Doncic, but they’ll need big man Kristaps Porzingis to be better next season if they really want to challenge for the western conference title. Recent rumors have the Mavs targeting Victor Oladipo, Spencer Dinwiddie and Zac LaVine in various trades and I believe if they do add just another really good veteran or two, Dallas could challenge in the western conference. Dallas will pick at No. 18 and No. 31 in the upcoming draft or they could package those picks for a contributing veteran. Whatever goes down in the Big D, I just don’t see this squad going backwards with Luka leading the way!
Trail Blazers +1400
Last, but not least out west, is the Portland Trail Blazers who own the 16th and 46th picks in the upcoming draft. The Blazers have one of the game’s most dangerous players in superstar point guard Damian Lillard and another all-star in backcourt mate CJ McCollum, though he’s been the subject of recent trade rumors (don’t do it Portland).
There’s a recent wild rumor that says Miami could go after Lillard for a package that includes Andre Iguodala, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk, and the 20th pick in the draft. While Herro and Robinson are totally gifted young players with extremely bright futures, I don’t see the Blazers moving Lillard, although I guess it’s not out of the question. Portland needs to re-sign Carmelo Anthony in the worst way, but they could be parting ways with veteran center Hassan Whiteside, which would leave them even thinner in the frontcourt than they already are. While I love Damian Lillard (who doesn’t?) the Blazers have too far of a way to go to really challenge for the western conference championship. Then again, the perennial MVP candidate is so good….