Los Angeles Lakers Heavy Favorites to Beat Miami Heat for NBA Championship

Posted on: September 29, 2020, 07:55h. 

Last updated on: September 29, 2020, 10:13h.

More than 11 months after the basketball season tipped off, it will come to a close with the start of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James
The Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James (23), are heavy favorites to beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

While plenty has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered the league for four-and-a-half months and shifted the action to Orlando, Fla., one thing remains the same. The public is backing the Lakers.

The Lakers are big-time favorites to win their 17th NBA championship. They are -400 to win the series, while the Heat is +300.

Heavy Liability on Lakers

When the season started in October, the Los Angeles Clippers were the championship favorites at +425, followed closely by the Lakers (+450) and Milwaukee Bucks (+550). Those three jockeyed for betting position all season. Ultimately, though, the Lakers were the last of those teams left standing.

The Lakers have been the play dating back even prior to COVID, when it seemed like they were really in their stretch,” said Patrick Eichner, PointsBet’s director of communications, to Casino.org. “That trend has continued.

“The Clippers were probably the original popular play once we got to the bubble,” Eichner continued. “The Lakers had some struggles out of the gate in finding their team chemistry again, but they have been a big liability for us the entire season. They’ll continue to be a big liability for us here. I imagine, just in terms of tickets, the Lakers will certainly be favored in terms of actual bets placed.”

For Game 1, the Lakers are 5-point favorites with an over/under of 217.5 points. On the moneyline, Los Angeles is -200 and Miami is +170.

Can’t Beat the Heat

Miami is a big underdog, just as it was at the start of the season when it was a distant +6,000 to win the championship.

However, the Heat shouldn’t be discounted. It has cruised through the playoffs as only the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, with a 4-0 sweep of the Indiana Pacers, a shocking 4-1 dismantling of the top-seeded Bucks, and a 4-2 victory over the Boston Celtics to win the East.

It will be interesting to see, as we get a little bit deeper into the series – particularly if the Heat go down 1-0 and that price extends even farther – the Heat might wind up being a big liability for us,” Eichner said.

“They’ve proven they’re a ridiculously tough basketball team and aren’t really fazed by what’s going on and can go ahead and come back. I could see there being a decent liability on the Heat just because you’re getting them at a plus number,” he continued.

For NBA Finals MVP, the Lakers’ LeBron James is a heavy favorite at -213. Teammate Anthony Davis is +300. Miami’s top picks are Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who are both +900.

For exact series outcome at PointsBet, the Lakers are the top four choices: +300 for a 4-0 sweep, +275 for 4-1, +375 for 4-2 and +550 for 4-3. For Miami, it’s +5,000 for a sweep, +2,000 for 4-1, +1,200 for 4-2 and +800 for 4-3.

Game 2 is set for Friday, with Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Tuesday.