The NBA trade deadline is only a month away. While we wait for the chaos of that day to descend upon us, another (unofficial) milestone is quickly approaching—the midway point of the regular season!
Don’t everybody jump out of your seats at once.
With the midway mark next week, here is a look at the NBA futures bets currently available at BetAmerica.
Odds to win the NBA Championship
|Team||2020 NBA Championship Odds|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+320|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+320|
Lakers bucked from perch as NBA title favorites
The headlines in the offseason belonged mostly to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers. That’s Hollywood for you.
It was no surprise, given the moves those clubs made in the summer, that the Lakers and Clippers were both considered favorites to win the NBA Championship when the season began. Lurking in the East, however, was a team that made it to the conference finals a year ago and had the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Milwaukee Bucks now have the best odds to win the NBA Championship, at +300 as of Tuesday morning. A $50 wager on the Bucks to win it all would have a potential payout of $200.
The Bucks have surpassed the Lakers in the outright market, after LeBron James and company previously overtook the rival Clippers only a few weeks ago.
Milwaukee’s offense is humming
Despite a lopsided loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, the Bucks sit well ahead in the East with a 32-6 record. They also have one of the best offenses in the league, at an average of just more than 119 points per game.
The centerpiece of their offense—and the entire team—is Antetokounmpo, and he is having another monster season as the MVP frontrunner.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 43.5 points per 36 minutes in December (7 games), and is shooting 41% from 3 in the process pic.twitter.com/mGgTdDknCI
— Play Gary Clark (NBA (@Itamar1710) December 19, 2019
The Bucks are certainly worthy of taking over as the favorite at this point. But can they get the job done when it matters most?
Mid-season lull for the Lakers
They no longer have the best NBA Championship odds, but the Lakers appear to have turned things in the right direction after a four-game losing streak in the middle of December.
Those four losses (from Dec. 17-25) were against good teams, like the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets, and really good teams, like the Clippers and Bucks.
The latter matchup was dubbed as a potential NBA Finals preview.
The competition for the Lakers has certainly tailed off since then. Not including a win against the Dallas Mavericks to close out 2019, the Lakers have taken advantage of their current schedule by taking care of business against Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans, and Detroit Pistons. Out of that group not a single team currently holds a playoff spot.
Clippers are struggling with consistency
The Clippers have fallen four games back of the Lakers in the Pacific Division, and the odds reflect that. The Clippers’ odds to win the division are now +140, compared to the Lakers at -225.
“Inconsistent” is probably the best way to describe the Clippers of late. They defeated the Lakers, and they’re fourth in the NBA, at just less than 116 points scored per game. But they also have five losses in their last 11 games, including defeats to the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies—two clubs also not currently in a playoff position. The Grizzlies also throttled the Clippers by 26 points, which led to plenty of angst among the fan base.
Kawhi Leonard on how he views losses – “It’s been up & down so, you have to string more than 1 game… The way I look at losses is how did we play? Were we competing? Did we have energy? Was it a night that our offense wasn’t there, but we still gave our effort?”#Clippers pic.twitter.com/wBEYdjtx6Q
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 5, 2020
It’s a long season, and these dips can happen from time to time. It could serve as a wake-up call for the Clippers, who were looked at as a favorite to win the NBA Championship when the season began.