Slumping Bucks Slide, Surging Trail Blazers Rise in Latest NBA Title Odds
Posted on: August 11, 2020, 11:11h.
Last updated on: August 11, 2020, 01:41h.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on the NBA season for more than four months, the Milwaukee Bucks were rampaging through the league. The Portland Trail Blazers, on the other hand, were staring at a long off-season.
Since the league’s restart two weeks ago, it’s been a bit of a role reversal. The Bucks, who were a league-best 54-12 when the league shut down on March 11, are 2-4 in the Orlando, Fla., “bubble.” At least they clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Trail Blazers, who were a woeful 29-37 when the league went on hiatus, are 4-2. They have moved from 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference to just a half-game back of Memphis for the No. 8 seed.
Their play is reflected in the latest NBA Championship odds from the Westgate SuperBook. While Milwaukee remains the East’s best bet to win the title at 7/2, the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors have closed the gap considerably, now checking in at 10/1.
We’ve eased their odds out. They’re 7/2 now when they were shorter than 3/1 before their restart. There hasn’t been too much interest in the low odds on them,” Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk management and oddsmaking for Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, told Casino.org on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, while the Los Angeles Lakers (11/4) and Los Angeles Clippers (3/1) are considered the top dogs in the Western Conference — the Lakers’ play should make their fans less toxic — Portland has surged from 100/1 to 30/1, even though it remains on the outskirts of the playoff race.
“Portland and Phoenix (100/1 from 5,000/1 at the restart) have been the two popular teams where everyone’s supporting them in their games and the future book,” Sherman added to Casino.org.
“We have a liability built up from the year. Now that they have their players back, people are supporting them. If they were to get the eighth seed, then obviously they’d be a dog to the Lakers,” Sherman added.
Here are the top 12 championship odds from the SuperBook:
- Lakers – Were: 9/4; Now 11/4
- Clippers – Were: 3/1; Now 3/1
- Bucks – Were 11/4; Now 7/2
- Celtics – Were 16/1; Now 10/1
- Raptors: Were 20/1; Now 10/1
- Rockets: Were: 16/1; Now 14/1
- Nuggets – Were 16/1; Now 20/1
- Trail Blazers – Were 100/1; Now 30/1
- Heat – Were 40/1; Now 40/1
- Thunder – Were 60/1; Now 40/1
- Mavericks – Were 50/1; Now 60/1
- 76ers – Were 25/1; Now 60/1
Bucks Bursting in Bubble
In their first “bubble” game, the Bucks beat East-rival Boston 119-112. Since then, they’ve lost to Houston and Brooklyn, rallied past Miami, then lost to Dallas and Toronto. It’s been an ugly restart for a team that looked like a juggernaut from the season’s opening tip in October to the shutdown in March.
“Kind of the broad concern is just the continued effort and just the execution defensively, not being who we are, being as good and as committed as we are on that end of the floor,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters after Monday’s 114-106 loss to Toronto. It was a game in which overwhelming MVP favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo was out following oral surgery.
“The turnovers are something we have to improve, we have to get better. Really, our thoughts and our focus should be on how do we get to an elite defensive team and being a team that’s really, really good on that end? I think that will take some of the pressure off the turnovers and the offense. Until we get better on that end, that’s where our focus should be,” Budenholzer added.
Meanwhile, Damian Lillard — who is sixth in the MVP race, according to Draft Kings — scored 51 points to help Portland beat Philadelphia.
“When the pressure is on, I think he approaches with a determination that is unparalleled,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said at a Monday presser. “I’ve seen him in the playoffs and, obviously, this is our playoffs so far.”
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