2020 NBA Bubble Playoff Round 1 Series Prices & Preview

2020 NBA Bubble Playoff Round 1 Series Prices & Preview

The matchups and betting odds for the First Round of the 2020 NBA playoffs are set

Each best-of-seven series will be played on alternate days in the bubble. The 2020 NBA Finals are currently scheduled to end no later than Oct. 13, however later rounds could be moved up if previous series don’t all need the full seven games.

2020 NBA Bubble Playoff Round 1 Series Prices & Preview

  • Los Angeles Lakers -485 vs Trail Blazers +385
  • Los Angeles Clippers -630 vs Mavericks +465
  • Denver Nuggets -220 vs Utah Jazz +180
  • Houston Rockets -150 vs Oklahoma Thunder +130
  • Milwaukee Bucks -7000 vs Orlando Magic +3000
  • Toronto Raptors -2200 vs Brooklyn Nets +1315
  • Boston Celtics -420 vs Philadelphia 76ers +335
  • Indiana Pacers +265 vs Miami Heat -325

Lakers vs Trail Blazers

All the Portland Trail Blazers wanted was a real shot at making the 2020 NBA Playoffs and when given the chance they went all in and cashed out.

The Lakers won the West, but now face red-hot Damian Lillard without home-court advantage. Good news is that Portland’s defense has been abysmal in the bubble but good enough for a 7-2 restart record. In Orlando, Portland only gave up fewer than 120 points twice, and fewer than 115 once. On the season, their defense was fourth-worst in the league, giving up 114.3 points per 100 possessions.

The bad news? The Lakers have had trouble scoring in the bubble. In eight games since the restart, they have the third-least efficient offense to go with a slightly below-average defense. The bet here is that the playoffs will wake them up.

  • Game 1: Aug. 18, Portland at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 2: Aug. 20, Portland at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 3: Aug. 22, Los Angeles at Portland, 8:30 p.m. EST, ABC
  • Game 4: Aug. 24, Los Angeles at Portland, 9 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 5*: Aug. 26, Portland at Los Angeles, TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 28, Los Angeles at Portland, TBD, TBD
  • Game 7*: Aug. 30, Portland at Los Angeles, TBD, TBD

Rockets vs Thunder

The Rockets average a stellar 117.8 points per game to rank second in scoring, but allow 114.8 points per game defensively (23rd). 

Oklahoma City averages 110.4 points per game (21st) while limiting the opposition to 108.4 points per game to rank an encouraging seventh in points allowed defensively. Houston went 4-4 in the bubble, but will hit the playoffs looking to snap a three-game losing streak. Oklahoma City also went 4-4 in the bubble while alternating wins and losses over their eight games. The Thunder took each of the last two meetings after dropping their first regular season meeting this season while going 3-0 ATS along the way. More importantly, while James Harden and Russell Westbrook get a ton of national notoriety for their much-publicized exploits, I believe Oklahoma City has the best backcourt trio in the league in Chris Paul (17.6 ppg, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19.0 ppg) and Dennis Schroeder(18.9 ppg). 

  • Game 1: Aug. 18, Oklahoma City at Houston, 6:30 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 2: Aug. 20, Oklahoma City at Houston, 3:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 3: Aug. 22, Houston at Oklahoma City, 6 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 4: Aug. 24, Houston at Oklahoma City, 4 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 5*: Aug. 26, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 28, Houston at Oklahoma City, TBD, TBD
  • Game 7*: Aug. 30, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD, TBD​​​​​​

Bucks vs. Magic

Milwaukee averages a stupendous 118.7 points per game to lead the NBA in scoring while allowing 108.6 points per game defensively to rank eighth in points allowed. The Bucks went 3-5 SU and ATS in the bubble with their most impressive win coming in their restart opener against Boston.

Orlando averages a modest 107.3 points per game (24th) while limiting the opposition to 108.3 points per game to rank an encouraging fifth in points allowed. The Magic went 3-5 SU and ATS in the bubble despite dropping five straight at one point.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have won all four regular season meetings while going 3-1 ATS along the way. Maybe it’s me, but I think it’s going to take a major miracle for Orlando to advance out of the first round.

  • Game 1: Aug. 18, Orlando at Milwaukee, 1:30 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 2: Aug. 20, Orlando at Milwaukee, 6 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 3: Aug. 22, Milwaukee at Orlando, 1 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 4: Aug. 24, Milwaukee at Orlando, 1:30 p.m. EST, NBATV
  • Game 5*: Aug. 26, Orlando at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 28, Milwaukee at Orlando, TBD, TBD
  • Game 7*: Aug. 30, Orlando at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD

Celtics vs. 76ers

The Sixers went 4-4 in the bubble, but they also looked mediocre at best in dropping three straight at one point. Philadelphia averages 108.4 points per game to rank an impressive fourth in scoring while allowing 110.7 points  per game defensively (20th).

Boston averages 113.7 points per game to rank ninth in scoring while limiting the opposition to 107.3 points per game defensively to rank a stupendous second in points allowed. The C’s went 5-3 SU and 3-4-1 ATS in the bubble. Philly took three of four regular season matchups, but with Ben Simmons out and Embiid battle some nagging injuries, Jayson Tatum and the C’s are looking good after putting up 122 points or more in each of their five bubble wins.

  • Game 1: Aug. 17, Philadelphia at Boston, 6:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 2: Aug. 19, Philadelphia at Boston, 6:30 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 3: Aug. 21, Boston at Philadelphia, 6:30 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 4: Aug. 23, Boston at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. EST, ABC
  • Game 5*: Aug. 25, Philadelphia at Boston, TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 27, Boston at Philadelphia, TBD, ESPN
  • Game 7*: Aug. 29, Philadelphia at Boston, TBD, TNT

Clippers vs. Mavs

LA went 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS in their eight bubble games while scoring 122 points or more in five of their victories. The Clippers rank an encouraging fourth in points per game (116.3 ppg) and 13th in points allowed (109.9 ppg).

The high-scoring Mavs put up an impressive 117.0 points per game to rank a stellar third in scoring while allowing 112.1 points per game defensively (16th). Dallas went an uninspiring 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS in seven bubble games while giving up at least 117 points in in each of their losses. Mavs all-star guard Luka Doncic is definitely a gifted baller, but the Dallas has lost all three regular season meetings while giving up at least 110 points in each contest.  This fist round matchup could end in a sweep, although I’m giving Dallas one win because of Luka’s often jaw-dropping heroics.

  • Game 1: Aug. 17, Dallas at L.A., 9 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 2: Aug. 19, Dallas at L.A., 9 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 3: Aug. 21, L.A. at Dallas, 9 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 4: Aug. 23, L.A. at Dallas, 3:30 p.m. EST, ABC
  • Game 5*: Aug. 25, Dallas at L.A., TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 27, L.A. at Dallas, TBD, ESPN
  • Game 7*: Aug. 29, Dallas at L.A., TBD, TNT

Nuggets vs. Jazz

The Nuggets put up 111.3 points per game (19th) while limiting the opposition to 109.2 points per contest (11th). Denver went a modest 3-4 SU and 4-3 ATS in seven bubble games, but gave up at least 124 points in every loss. The Jazz average 111.3 points per contest (18th) while limiting the opposition to 108.8 points per contest defensively (9th).

Utah also went 3-4 SU and 4-3 ATS in the bubble, but Donovan Mitchell and company dropped all three regular season meetings while covering the chalk just once. As usual, Utah just doesn’t have enough offense to beat the best in the west!

  • Game 1: Aug 17, Utah at Denver, 1:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 2: Aug. 19, Utah at Denver, 4 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 3: Aug. 21, Denver at Utah, 4 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 4: Aug. 23, Denver at Utah, 9 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 5*: Aug. 25, Utah at Denver, TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 27, Denver at Utah, TBD, ESPN
  • Game 7*: Aug. 29, Utah at Denver, TBD, TNT

Raptors vs. Nets

Toronto went a stellar 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in seven bubble games while beating the Lakers, Heat, Bucks and Sixers along the way. The Raptors average 112.8 points per game (13th) while limiting their opponents to just 106.5 per game to rank first in points allowed. Brooklyn surprised in a big way by going 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS in eight bubble games while stunning Milwaukee and the LA Clippers along the way.

The Nets average 111.8 points per game (16th) while allowing 112.3 points per game defensively (19th). While young guard Caris Levert is clearly a gifted player that has a bright future, the defending champs have won three of four in this rivalry this season and are elite at both ends of the floor while clearly having a legitimate shot to come out of the east at the very least!

  • Game 1: Aug. 17, Brooklyn at Toronto, 4 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 2: Aug. 19, Brooklyn at Toronto, 1:30 p.m. EST, NBATV
  • Game 3: Aug. 21, Toronto at Brooklyn, 1:30 p.m. EST, NBATV
  • Game 4: Aug. 23, Toronto at Brooklyn, 6:30 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 5*: Aug. 25, Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 27, Toronto at Brooklyn, TBD, ESPN
  • Game 7*: Aug. 29, Brooklyn at Toronto, TBD, TNT

Pacers vs Heat

The Pacers are continually overlooked, under rated and under-appreciated. And it’s about to happen again. T.J. Warren has been an offensive dynamo in the bubble earning NBA All-Bubble First Team honors. If Victor Oladipo gets going, Indiana will be troublesome to beat.

Injuries have kept the Miami Heat from fully realizing contender status but the Heat feel like a team with a legit claim shot at the East Title. The Heat are second in the bubble in points per game off turnovers (20.9) and third in fast-break points per game (13.4). Plus they have so much defensive versatility. Add all that up and Miami is going to be fun to watch.

  • Game 1: Aug. 18, Miami at Indiana, 4 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 2: Aug. 20, Miami at Indiana, 1 p.m. EST, ESPN
  • Game 3: Aug. 22, Indiana at Miami, 3:30 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 4: Aug. 24, Indiana at Miami, 6:30 p.m. EST, TNT
  • Game 5*: Aug. 26, Miami at Indiana, TBD, TBD
  • Game 6*: Aug. 28, Indiana at Miami, TBD, TBD
  • Game 7*: Aug. 30, Miami at Indiana, TBD, TBD

* – If Necessary
TBD – To Be Determined

The NBA Orlando restart has been a huge success with zero positive Coronavirus tests. Now with a final stretch of bubble games, including the first ever NBA play-in game, here are the top games that will decide the playoff seeding.

NBA Closing Week Must Bet Games

The NBA Orlando restart has been a huge success with zero positive Coronavirus tests. Now with a final stretch of bubble games, including the first ever NBA play-in game, here are the top games that will decide the playoff seeding.

NBA Closing Week Must Bet Games

Monday, August 10

Toronto at Milwaukee at 6:30 PM ET

The Raptors bounced back from their blowout loss against Boston on Friday to subdue Memphis 108-99 on Sunday as Pascal Siakim led the way to victory. Milwaukee couldn’t stop Luka Doncic late and succumbed to the high-scoring Mavs 136-132 in overtime on Saturday. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the top-seeded Bucks have won two straight in this rivalry after losing the previous four. While the Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings, Milwaukee hasn’t been playing very good defense since the restart in allowing 119 points or more in dropping three of four. 

Denver at LA Lakers at 9:00 PM ET

The Nuggets have won three of their last four after dropping their restart opener, including a high-scoring 134-132 overtime win over Utah on Saturday. The Lakers have lost three straight while getting humbled by Indiana 116-111 on Saturday. With some of the shine off their luster and Denver having won two of the last four in this rivalry, it’s no wonder 69 percent of public bettors are backing Denver to get it done as somewhere near a 5.5-point road dog in this meeting. 

Tuesday, August 11

Portland at Dallas at 6:30 PM ET

The Blazers have won three of their last four after dropping their restart opener while Dallas has won two of three after dropping their first two restart contests. Still, while Dallas put on a show against Milwaukee on Saturday, Portland has been more impressive to me in taking out Houston, Denver and Philly over their last four. While Luka Doncic is an unadulterated star, he definitely doesn’t have the postseason experience of Damian Lillard who went off against the Sixers for 51 points on Sunday night after missing some costly free throws in Portland’s narrow loss against the Clippers on Saturday. While the Mavs have won two straight in this series, Portland is clearly a better – and more dangerous team – now that they are completely healthy for the first time all season. 

New Orleans at Sacramento at 9:00 PM ET

Zion Williamson and the Pelicans came up small in their 122-113 loss against San Antonio on Sunday, but Sacramento has lost three of their last four and four of vie restart games overall. Still, after recording an emphatic 140-125 win over New Orleans on Thursday, to snap a three-game skid in this series, Sacramento looks like a solid pick to get it done again, although the Over might be the best pick here, seeing as how neither one of these teams plays much defense and the Over has gone 6-0 in the last six meetings and 9-1 in the last 10 meetings overall. 

Wednesday, August 12

Toronto at Philadelphia at 6:30 PM ET

With Sixers all-star center Joel Embiid potentially out of the lineup for this one after spraining his ankle on Sunday and Toronto taking three of the last four meetings in this rivalry, the defending champion Raptors clearly have an edge in this meeting even if these two have split their last six evenly against the spread. I’ve got to believe that Toronto wants to make a statement in this one should they meeting Philly in the postseason. 

LA Clippers at Denver at 9:00 PM ET

After talking a ton of trash following their narrow (lucky?) win over Portland on Saturday, the Clippers looked mostly awful in their 129-120 loss against lowly Brooklyn on Sunday. Denver has won three of four while putting at least 121 points on the board in all three victories. While LA recorded an emphatic 132-103 blowout win at home the last time these western conference rivals met in February, Denver took each of the previous three meetings, although all three victories came on their home floor. More importantly, since the restart, the Nuggets have found out that first round draft pick Michael Porter Jr. is clearly going to be a big-time star in this league. 

Thursday, August 13

Washington at Boston at TBD

The Wizards have lost all five of their restart contests and have nothing left to play for in this matchup. Conversely, Boston has won three straight and four of five and is clearly starting to resemble the dangerous title contenders they looked like before the league suspension. This one could be over by halftime. 

Portland at Brooklyn at TBD

The Blazers have won three of four and have the look of a dangerous team that could definitely pull off a huge upset if they get into the playoffs. However, Brooklyn simple hasn’t rolled over despite losing their top three players and comes into this affair having won two straight and four of five while beating the likes of the Bucks and Clippers along the way. With the Nets putting up at least 115 points in all of their restart contests and the Blazers scoring 117 or more in five of their six restart games, the Over looks like a solid selection in this matchup if you ask me. 

Friday, August 14

Philadelphia at Houston at TBD

Philly had their three-game winning streak snapped in their narrow 124-121 loss against Philadelphia on Sunday and they could be without Joel Embiid in this matchup after the versatile big man injured his ankle this weekend. High-scoring Houston has won four of five restart games while putting 113 points or more on the board in each of their victories. Will Philly have enough offensive firepower to keep up with Houston in this one? I think not!

Miami at Indiana at TBD

The Heat have lost two straight and three of four while giving up 119 points or more in each of their last two games. Indiana has won four of five while watching sweet-shooting forward T.J. Warren become the hottest player in the league since the restart. Indy’s 116-111 win over LeBron and the Lakers on Saturday was impressive to say the least and right now, no one can stop Warren. 

NBA Bubble Restart Top Games Aug 3-9

NBA Bubble Restart Top Games Aug 3-9

What an opening weekend of basketball from the NBA Orlando Bubble! Now that every team has a game or two under their belts, let’s take a look at this upcoming week’s top NBA restart games!

NBA Orlando Bubble Restart Top Games August 3-9

Monday, August 3

Memphis at New Orleans at 6:30 PM ET

This is a must-win game for both teams after the pair both dropped their first two restart contests. For me, Ja Morant and the young Grizzlies have been a bit more impressive than Zion and the Pelicans and I expect a special performance out of Memphis’ star floor leader in this one after he put up 25-10-9 against San Antonio the last time out. 

LA Lakers at Utah at 9:00 PM ET

LeBron and the Lakers will have the motivation they’ll need after getting humbled by Toronto on Saturday. On the flip side of the coin, the Jazz haven’t looked very good in splitting their two restart games while getting man-handled by Oklahoma City on Saturday. 

Tuesday, August 4

Boston at Miami at 6:30 PM ET

The C’s bounced back nicely from their restart-opening loss against Milwaukee to beat Portland on Saturday. Miami mauled Denver by 20 in their restart opener and will take on Toronto on Monday night before playing this one as part of a back-to-back. Boston’s deeper roster and pair of young stars (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) look primed to lead the Celtics to their third straight win in this series. 

Houston at Portland at 9:00 PM ET

The Rockets put a mind-boggling 153 points on the board in their restart opener against Dallas while the Blazers scored a combined 264 points against Memphis and Boston respectively. Unless that Over/Under in this clash of Western Conference rivals is a gazillion points, I’d bet high on the total in this meeting. Simply put, there just won’t be much defense being played in this affair. 

Wednesday, August 5

Oklahoma City at LA Lakers at 6:30 PM ET

The Thunder blitzed the Jazz to win their restart opener 110-94 on Saturday as six players scored in double figures. The Lakers had best be on guard against Oklahoma’s backcourt trio of CP3, SGA and Dennis Schroeder, which, by the way, I believe is the best backcourt threesome in the league. 

Brooklyn at Boston at 9:00 PM ET

The Nets won their restart opener against the lowly Wizards on Sunday, but they’ll find beating Boston a lot more difficult in this meeting. Then again, Brooklyn has surprisingly taken two of three regular season meetings. 

Thursday, August 6

LA Clippers at Dallas at 6:30 PM ET

The Clippers bounced back nicely from their narrow restart-opening loss against the Lakers to smack New Orleans senseless on Saturday as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 52 points. The Mavs put 149 points on the board in their restart opener against Houston on Friday, but they gave up 153 points while collapsing late. Dallas has lost both regular season meetings and LA is offering good value as they look to make it three straight in this clash. 

LA Lakers at Houston at 9:00 PM ET

The Lakers might be the top team out West, but I think Houston has a deeper and more productive collection of role players in this matchup.  If LA can’t stop James Harden and Russell Westbrook from getting to the paint, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rockets steal this one. 

Friday, August 7

Orlando at Philadelphia at 6:30 PM ET

The Magic put 128 points on the board in their restart opener against Brooklyn on Friday while Philadelphia gave up a whopping 127 points in their restart-opening loss against Indiana. After taking both regular season meetings in this rivalry, Orlando is looking good heading into this matchup. 

Boston at Toronto at 9:00 PM ET

The Celtics have won two of three in this rivalry, but the Raptors looked great in stunning the Lakers on Saturday. While each of the last two meetings in this series has been decided by an identical 16 points, I’m expecting this restart clash to literally come down to the last possession or two. 

Saturday, August 8

Utah at Denver at 3:30 PM ET

The Jazz were thoroughly outplayed in their restart opener against Oklahoma City on Saturday while Denver got similarly exposed in their humbling loss against Miami on Saturday. The Nuggets have won two straight against the Jazz this season, but both affairs went down to the wire, so I expect another thriller this time around as well. 

Milwaukee at Dallas at 8:30 PM ET

Both of these teams can put points on the board like nobody’s business, but only one team (Milwaukee) plays sound defense in this pairing (Milwaukee). Then there’s the fact that I was reminded on Friday night that Giannis Antetokounmpo is almost completely and utterly unstoppable. 

Sunday, August 9

Philadelphia at Portland at 6:30 PM ET

Philly gave up 53 points to Indiana’s T.J. Warren in their restart-opening loss while the Blazers looked dangerous in splitting their two restart games while averaging a stunning 132 points per contest coming into the new week. The Sixers better have an answer for Dame Lillard and CJ McCollum…or else. 

San Antonio at New Orleans at 3:00 PM ET

The Spurs have won both of their restart contests against Sacramento and Memphis and will get to take on a similarly young Pelicans squad that has lost both of their restart  games. Maybe it’s me, but I’m suddenly once again wary of any Gregg Popovich coached team! 

NBA Orlando Bubble Opening Weekend Betting Outlook

NBA Orlando Bubble Opening Weekend Betting Outlook

The 2020 NBA is set to restart in the Orlando bubble this weekend with a final eight game stretch before the playoffs. Keep reading for the top games you need to watch and bet on over the opening weekend of the NBA Orlando bubble restart.

NBA Orlando Bubble Opening Weekend Betting Outlook

Thursday, July 30

Utah at New Orleans at 6:30 PM ET (TNT) 

Will Jazz center Rudy Goebert lock the paint on Zion Williamson. Is there anyone on the Pelicans roster than can slow Jazz all-star ‘Spyda’ Mitchell? Can the young and desperate Pelicans pull off the big upset against a Jazz squad that is fourth out West, behind both LA powerhouses and Denver? Stay tuned!

LA Clippers at LA Lakers at 9:00 PM ET (TNT) 

The Clippers took the first two meetings before LeBron and company left an indelible impression by getting the win in their third meeting? Can the prohibitive favored Lakers get it done without defensive ace Avery Bradley or do the loaded Clippers simply possess to much talent?

Friday, July 31

Boston at Milwaukee at 6:30 PM ET (ESPN) 

Sue, the Celtics, like everyone else, might not be able to slow reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they’ve got a quartet of players that can all put 20 points on the board in any contest, not to mention, their own blossoming superstar in sweet-shooting forward Jayson Tatum (23.6 ppg). 

Houston at Dallas at 9:00 PM ET (ESPN)

There should be offensive fireworks in this affair as James Harden and Russell Westbrook take a gazillion shots for the offensive-minded Rockets while Luka Doncic and the reemerging Kristaps Porzingis try to help the dangerous Mavs keep pace.

Saturday, August 1

Miami at Denver at 1:00 PM ET (ESPN)

Will Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo provide enough offense for Miami to keep up with a Nuggets team that has been knocking on the championship door for the last two seasons? Will a slimmed-down Nikola Jokic take his already prolific skillset to a whole new level after shedding several pounds during the break? 

Utah at Oklahoma City at 3:30 PM ET (ESPN) 

The Jazz will try to use their elite defense to get the win in this one, but the Thunder are quietly dangerous with their trio of talented point guards in Chris Paul, Dennis Schroeder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? 

Sunday, August 2

Portland at Boston at 3:30 PM ET (ABC) 

Can the desperate Blazers get their act together after floundering all season long or will Boston’s more cohesive roster of young talent simply be too much for Portland to keep up with? 

Milwaukee at Houston at 8:30 PM ET (ABC)

Will Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo make James Harden eat his disparaging words about the league’s reigning MVP? Will the Rockets play any defense in this matchup. Hell, maybe a better question is…can Houston play any sort of competent defense? 

NBA Playoffs 8th Seed Odds

NBA Playoffs 8th Seed Odds

The 2020 NBA season continues July 30th with an eight game stretch to settle the playoff picture. With the top of both conferences almost settled let’s take a closer look at which teams will round out the 2020 NBA playoff’s at the eighth seed.

NBA Playoffs 8th Seed Odds

(odds FOR/AGAINST being the 8th seed)

Eastern Conference

Nets (-260/+180)

The Nets won’t have Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler and Nic Claxton for the restart. While Brooklyn did sign sweet-shooting veteran Jamal Crawford, I wouldn’t necessarily go around expecting them to get the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, particularly seeing as how they went 12-20 on the road during the pre-pandemic regular season. 

Magic (+180/-260)

While the Magic were a half-game behind Brooklyn and sitting in eighth place in the East, but more importantly, they’ll hit the restart at full strength aside from young center Jonathan Isaac. Orlando had the best offensive rating in the league (116.6) in the final month before COVID-19 brought the regular season to a halt – and they’ll have shooting guard Evan Fournier back – and that makes them a great bet to get the eight seed in the East. 

Wizards (+1050/-2150)

Wizards superstar shooting guard Bradley Beal will not participate in the NBA’s restart in Orlando because of an injury to his right rotator cuff and that’s a huge blow to a Wizards team that was sitting in ninth place at the time the season was halted. I love rookie forward Rui Hachimura (3.4 ppg), but the loss of Beal effectively cancels out any chance Washington would realistically have of getting the eighth seed.

Western Conference

Grizzlies (-120/-120)

Memphis was sitting in eighth place out West at the time of the break, three games ahead of Portland, New Orleans and Sacramento. The Grizzlies have a young stud in rookie point guard Ja Morant and a handful of other talented youngsters like forward Jaren Jackson and mid-season addition Justice Winslow. I’m expecting the Grizz to have a great shot to nail down the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference, seeing as how they’ve gone a decent, 14-18 on the road this season. 

“We’ve been motivated by the doubters all season long,” Morant said. “We’ll just go out and continue to play our game; don’t live and die by the game. Just play together and try to come out with the win. We’ve been doing that. We’re in the 8 position right now, so going into Orlando, it’s just more motivation, fuel to our fire.”

Pelicans (+190/-270)

The Pelicans will have rookie superstar Zion Williamson on the floor for the duration of the restart and their 15-17 road record bodes well heading into Orlando. . New Orleans also has a bunch of other gifted young players like swingman and leading scorer Brandon Ingram, point guard Lonzo Ball and swingman Josh Hart. The bad news is that New Orleans went an uninspiring 9-10 with Williamson on the floor and that just won’t be good enough to get the eighth seed unless they improve with their prized rookie on the floor.

Blazers (+360/-540)

Portland was floundering in mediocrity pretty much all season long before picking up the pace just before the season was suspended. Yes, the Blazers are just 11-23 on the road this season, but lest anyone forget, Portland has one of the game’s best floor leaders in Damian Lillard and another all-star caliber performer in backcourt make C.J. McCollum. The Blazers will also be healthier heading into Orlando than they’ve been all season long with Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic likely back in the starting lineup. Point blank…I believe Portland’s desperation makes them dangerous at the very least.

Kings (+1100/-2300)

De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Heild are averaging a combined 40 points per game, but Sacramento is young and doesn’t have any postseason experience they can truly rely on. The Kings have gone 14-19 on the road and that tells me Sacramento will at least put up a fight in Orlando, even if the deck is stacked against them.

Spurs (+5000/-20000)

The Spurs were in 12t place in the Western Conference standings at the time of the break, but their 11-222 road record doesn’t look very good at all no matter how much anyone tries to sugarcoat it. To make matters worse, San Antonio is giving up a generous 114.9 points per game, not to mention they just don’t have the offensive firepower necessary to get past some of the other teams in the chase for the eight and final spot in the Western Conference. Make no mistake about it, these are not the once perennially-powerful Spurs of Timmy, Manu and Tony Parker lore.

Suns (+10000/-50000)

The Suns have one of the game’s best shooters in Devin Booker and they have a talented big man in center DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix has recorded an identical 13 wins at home and on the road, but really, this team shouldn’t even be in the mix for the eight and final seed. The Suns are a serious long shot and not worth the wager if you ask me.

Mavs (+50000/-250000)

Dallas was firmly entrenched in seventh place out West, a solid seven games in front of eighth place Memphis. Not only do the Mavs have a flat-out superstar in forward Luka Doncic, but big man Kristaps Porzingis was starting to find his stride in a big way before the hiatus. If Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr. play at a high level, the Mavs have a fantastic shot to win the eight and final seed out West!

Updated 2020 NBA Championship Odds

Updated 2020 NBA Championship Odds

The NBA is coming back to finish the 2019-2020 season. The plan is to resume games on July 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside of Orlando, Florida. 22 teams will kick-start the end of the regular season before a full 16-team postseason with the Finals stretching into October.

Now let’s take a look at the opening NBA Championship betting odds after Adam Silver’s comeback plan reveal.

Updated 2020 NBA Championship Odds

Los Angeles Lakers +200

When we last saw LeBron and company, the Lakers (49-14) had the best record in the west and second-best record overall. L.A. won eight of 10 before the suspension. More importantly, the Lakers have been equally good at home (23-8) as on the road (26-6).

Milwaukee Bucks +275

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have the best record in the league at 53-12 while ranking first in scoring (118.6 ppg) and fifth in points allowed (107.4 ppg). The Bucks rank first in team field goal percentage (47.7%) and second in defensive field goal percentage (41.3%).

Los Angeles Clippers +300

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the rest of the loaded Clippers have the fourth-best record in the league (44-20), but it should be known that they’ve struggled away from home in going just 19-13 on the road. The question begs to be asked. Can the Clippers win away from their comfy confines of the Staples Center?

Boston Celtics +1200

The young and blossoming C’s have the fifth-best record in the league (43-21). They’ve recorded at least 20 wins at home and on the road, making them one of the more dangerous teams entering the re-start because of their ability to play at a high level away from T.D. Garden.

Toronto Raptors +1400

The Raptors (46-18) won four straight before the suspension, and the defending champs have the look of a dangerous underdog team that won’t beat themselves in the playoffs, especially following last season’s experience-building run to the title.

Houston Rockets +1500

Tied for the ninth-best record in the league (40-24) James Harden and the Rockets have been a mixed mess of explosive offense and non-existent defense as they rank a stellar second in scoring (118.1 ppg), but just 22nd in points allowed (114.4 ppg).

Denver Nuggets +2400

The Northwest-leading Nuggets (43-22) have an elite defense that ranks eighth in points allowed (107.4 ppg), but an offense that has put up a modest 110.4 points per contest to rank 20th in scoring. With all of their games now being played away from home, it’s important to not that Denver is just 18-14 on the road this season.

Philadelphia 76ers +2400

The Sixers have the 12th best record in the league and they’ve been the best home team in the league by far in going 29-2 in South Philly. However, with an uninspiring 10-24 road record, it remains to be seen hos Philadelphia will fare from here on out with every game being a literal neutral site affair.

Miami Heat +3300

Miami (41-24) has overachieved all season long, but they’ve gone just 14-19 on the road and they have a serious drop-off in talent once you get past Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Dallas Mavericks +4000

The Mavs have the 13th best record in the league and a true superstar in forward Luka Doncic. The Mavs can score the ball with anyone in ranking sixth in scoring (116.4 ppg), but their 15th-ranked defense leaves a lot to be desired (110.3 ppg).

Utah Jazz +4000

The Jazz have the seventh-best record in the league (41-23) and they’re one of just seven teams that has won at least 20 games on the road. Utah has a top 10 defense, but they rank a modest 17th in scoring and just don’t have enough weapons at that end of the court outside of Donovan’ Spyda’ Mitchell (24.2 ppg).

Brooklyn Nets +5000

The Nets somehow have the 15th-best record in the league despite sitting at 30-34 entering the re-start. Still, this is a team that has gone an uninspiring 12-20 at home and has leadership problems, thanks to the quirky Kyrie Irving, who just isn’t very well-liked by his teammates.

Indiana Pacers +8000

With the 11th-best record in the league (39-26), the Pacers look dangerous seeing as how they’ve gone 21-11 at home and 18-15 on the road. The good news for Indy is that, the time off due to the pandemic pause could see Victor Oladipo return closer to the all-star level he was playing at before suffering a horrific leg injury over a year ago.

New Orleans Pelicans +9000

The Pelicans have the 18th-best record in the league (28-36) but they will enter the re-start as one of the most dangerous teams around seeing as how the young Pels picked up their play in a big way after getting superstar rookie Zion Williamson on the court after a lengthy absence to start the season.

Oklahoma City Thunder +9000

The Thunder have the ninth-best record in the league (40-24) thanks to their ability to win at home (20-13) and on the road (20-11). With a bunch of proven veterans (Chris Paul) and young stars like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City looks quite dangerous to me.

Portland Trailblazers +15000

The Blazers have a losing record (29-37), but this is also a veteran-laden team with one true superstar in Damian Lillard, and another all-star caliber performer in C.J. McCollum.

Unfortunately, Portland is just 11-23 on the road and that just doesn’t bode well heading into the post pandemic return.

Memphis Grizzlies +17500

Memphis has the 14th-best record in the league (32-33), but they young Grizz have recorded a winning record at home (18-15) and a decent 14-18 mark on the road. More importantly, Memphis has a legitimate star in point guard Ja Morant (17.6 ppg, 6.9 apg) that has absolutely no fear of anyone!

Orlando Magic +17500

Orlando has the 16th-best record in the league (30-35), but they’ve gone just 14-20 on the road and a modest 16-15 at home. The Magic also don’t have a true superstar to turn to in the clutch.

San Antonio Spurs +17500

The Spurs have the 20th-best record in the league (27-36), but they’re an uninspiring 11-22 on the road and has just one player (DeMar DeRozan) averaging over 20 points per game.

Phoenix Suns +20000

The Suns (26-39) have one of the game’s best scorers in shooting guard Devin Booker (26.1 ppg), but the young Suns have also recorded losing records at home (13-22) and on the road (13-17).

Sacramento Kings +25000

The Kings have some nice young talent, but they also have just the 19th-best record in the league (28-36) by going 14-17 at home and 14-19 on the road.

Washington Wizards +30000

The Wizards have the 22nd-best record in the league (24-40) and they shouldn’t even be sniffing a playoff berth, seeing as how they’ve gone an awful 8-24 on the road this season.

Bet The NBA's HORSE Challenge

Bet The NBA’s HORSE Challenge

NBA H-O-R-S-E Challenge Takes Center Stage in the Basketball Universe

Get ready for some basketball action with current and past stars from the NBA and WNBA. The NBA and ESPN have finalized plans to televise a HORSE shooting competition, featuring NBA stars Chris Paul, Trae Young and Zach LaVine of Chicago as well as women’s roundball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings and a few other recently retired NBA alumni throwing down in a single-elimination format.

Young will face off against Chauncey Billups while Catchings takes on Utah jazz point guard Mike Conley. LaVine will do battle against former Boston Celtics superstar Paul Pierce while CP3 takes on Allie Quigley of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Title sponsor State Farm will donate more than $200,000 in support of coronavirus response efforts.

Odds FOR/AGAINST Winning NBA Horse Challenge

  • Trae Young +305/-425
  • Chris Paul +305/-425
  • Zach LaVine +355/-535
  • Mike Conley Jr. +460/-780
  • Paul Pierce +800/-1700
  • Chauncey Billups +850/-1750
  • Allie Quigley +1100/-2300
  • Tamika Catchings +1250/-2750

Trae Young

Young put up a stellar 29.6 points per game this season in just his second year in the NBA. All I can say is that if Young faces an opponent that can’t consistently make shots from long range, then this tournament is an absolute wrap!

Chris Paul

The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard and future Hall of Famer has put up 17.7 points per game this season while owning a career average of 18.5 points and 9.5 assists per game. The aptly-named CP3 is sneaky good from behind the arc, as he owns a career 37.0 percent shooting mark from downtown.

Zach LaVine

The Bulls shooting guard is averaging a career-high 25.5 points per game this season. You may already know that LaVine is one of basketball’s best high-flying dunkers. What you may not know is that he also drained 38.0 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. If dunks are allowed, LaVine will easily win, but since I suspect they won’t be, he’ll have his work cut out.

Mike Conley Jr.

The Utah Jazz point guard has career averages of 14.8 points and 37.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The heady and gifted lefty could surprise!

Paul Pierce

P Squared as he is appropriately known as, put up 19.7 points per game in his career while shooting 44.5 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from distance. I’m expecting him to pull off a couple of ‘old guy’ Horse shots in this fun-filled affair.

Chauncey Billups

The former NBA champion retired with career averages of 15.2 points and 5.4 assists per game while shooting a modest 41.5 percent from the field. However, Billups, who was once called ‘Mr. Big Shot’ for his propensity for draining timely ‘big shots’ looks like a player that could challenge for the win, even if he hasn’t suited up since hanging up his sneakers following the 2013-14 NBA season.

Allie Quigley

The Chicago Sky point guard is a three-time all-star that has put up 10.3 points per game while shooting a blistering 39.9 percent from beyond the arc. Could Quigley pull off an upset by hitting consistently from deep? I think so!

Tamika Catchings

Former Tennessee and Indiana Fever superstar might be in the Hall of Fame following her 2016 retirement from the game, but she put up a healthy 16.1 points and 7.3 boards per game during her fine career. Catchings is a long shot though that owns a career 41.5 percent shooting mark from the field and 35.5 percent mark from downtown.

2020 March Madness Cinderella Teams

2020 March Madness Cinderella Teams

In under a week, millions of people will be filling out their March Madness brackets and if you are looking for a few Cinderella to pick here are four that need to be on your radar.

2020 March Madness Cinderella Teams

East Tennessee State Buccaneers (27-4 SU, 15-13 ATS)

Haven’t heard of East Tennessee? That’s okay, you could come to know the Buccaneers very well once March Madness gets underway. East Tennessee State is 27-4 heading into the Southern Conference semifinals. The Buccaneers have won nine straight at the time of this writing and the Buccaneers rank a fantastic 28th in points allowed (63.1) and equally impressive 51st in scoring (75.9 ppg).

What They Do Well

East Tennessee State gave top-ranked Kansas all they could handle before fading late and they took out LSU by 11 points in their only two games against teams from a major conference. The Buccaneers have three double-digit scorers on their roster and they can play at any pace.

What They Don’t Do Well

Shooting free throws is about the only thing ETSU doesn’t do well as they make just 68.8 percent of their collective shots from the charity stripe (250th).

Stephen F. Austin (28-3 SU, 17-10-1 ATS)

The Lumberjacks got on the national map following their stunning 85-83 road win over Duke in their fifth game of the season, but Stephen F. Austin is definitely more than a team that just got ‘lucky’ against the Blue Devils.

What They Do Well

The Lumberjacks force almost 21 turnovers per game to lead the nation in that category. Stephen F. Austin also averages a stellar 80.6 points per game while shooting a blistering 49.1 percent from the field to rank eighth nationally in both categories. The Lumberjacks have won 15 straight at the tie of this writing so they’ll hit March Madness with a ton of momentum.

What They Don’t Do Well

The Lumberjacks also commit a whopping 17 turnovers per game and they don’t shoot it well from the free-throw line by making a collective 69.1 percent from the foul line (240th).

BYU Cougars (24-7 SU, 19-11 ATS)

No. 2 Gonzaga might be the cream of the crop in the West Coast Conference, but BYU looks capable of pulling off at least one or two upsets once the national championship tournament gets underway.

What They Do Well

The Cougars can score the ball with almost any team in the country as they put up a stellar 80.6 points per game (10th) on a scorching 50.4 percent shooting mark from the field (3rd) and incendiary 42.4 percent mark from beyond the arc (first). BYU also defends the three-point shot very well in limiting their opponents to 31.1 percent shooting from downtown (73rd). The Cougars gave San Diego State all they could handle in a five-point loss in their second game of the season and the Cougars split with Gonzaga while beating the No. 2 team in the country by 13 points almost two weeks ago.

What They Don’t Do Well

The Cougars might be one of the best shooting teams in the country, but you’d never know it when they go to the free-throw line. BYU makes just 70.4 percent from the charity stripe to rank an uninspiring 196th in that category. The Cougars are also just mediocre when it comes to rebounding the ball as they give up one more board per game than they pull down.

Northern Iowa Panthers (25-6 SU, 19-8-1 ATS)

You might have already heard of the Panthers thanks to their stunning upset of No. 1 Kansas in the second round of the 2010 NCAA March Madness championship tournament.

What They Do Well

Anyway, this season, Northern Iowa has the look of a Cinderella ballclub because they are elite at both ends of the floor in putting up 75.8 points per game (57th) while limiting the opposition to just 64.3 points per contest defensively (43rd). The Panthers shoot it very well in making 48.2 percent from the field (12th), 39.6 percent from beyond the arc (5th) and 76.0 percent from the free-throw line (29th).

What They Don’t Do Well

On average, the Panthers commit 2.1 more turnovers than they force and they don’t have much of a shot-blocking presence as they average just two per game. The Panthers also have just two double-digit scorers on their roster and just four players that put up more than 9.0 points per contest, so this is a team lacking quality depth on the bench.

2020 March Madness Key Dates

2020 March Madness Key Dates

Welcome to March Madness! AKA the 2020 NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament. This year Selection Sunday is set for March 15th. Once the field of 68 teams is revealed the games will begin with the “First Four” in Dayton, Ohio, on March 17-18. 5Dimes’ brackets will be available on March 16th. Odds to win the 2020 NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament are available now!

The bedlam will be in full swing from March 19 to the 22nd with the first and second rounds. The four regionals AKA the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight are scheduled for March 26th to the 29th. 2020’s Final Four is on April 4th in Atlanta with the national championship game to tip-off on April 6.

2020 March Madness Key Dates

  • Sunday, March 15 – Selection Sunday
  • Tuesday, March 17 & Wednesday, March 18 – First Four (Dayton, Ohio)
  • Thursday, March 19 & Saturday, March 21 – First and Second Rounds (Albany, N.Y.; Spokane, Wash.; St. Louis, Mo.; Tampa, Fla.)
  • Friday, March 20 & Sunday, March 22 – First and Second Rounds (Greensboro, N.C.; Omaha, Neb.; Sacramento, Calif.; Cleveland)
  • Thursday, March 26 & Saturday, March 28 – Midwest (Indianapolis) and West (Los Angeles) Regionals
  • Friday, March 27 & Sunday, March 29 – South (Houston) and East Regionals (New York City)
  • Saturday, April 4 – Final Four (Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta)
  • Monday, April 6 – National Championship (Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta)
Updated 2020 NBA Championship Odds

5 NBA Finals Matchups You Want To See, 5 You Don’t!

After a successful All-Star break it is time to take a look at the future. Here are five NBA Finals matchups that everyone wants to see and five no one does.

5 NBA Finals Matchups You Want To See, 5 You Don’t!

5 NBA Finals Matchups I Want To See

Milwaukee Bucks vs LA Clippers +355

There’s no NBA Finals matchup I’d rather see right now and I believe this matchup is actually going to take place. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have been the best team in all of basketball this season and have the look of a team that won’t be seriously challenged in the weak Eastern Conference. Still, the reigning MVP and his band of merry mates are going to have their hands completely full against two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and a Clippers team that got even stronger recently thanks to their additions of Marcus Morris and Isiah Thomas.

Milwaukee Bucks vs LA Lakers +338

While the Bucks have been red-hot since the start of the regular season, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have their own legitimate championship hopes out west. What self-respecting NBA fan doesn’t want to see the Greek Freak try to throw down some hellacious jams on James and Anthony Davis? Oh, and since I’m in a giving mood, if these two teams do meet, you can expect the Bucks to win it all simply because the Lakers are lacking quality depth on the bench.

Boston Celtics vs LA Lakers +2000

Remember Jayson Tatum’s vicious dunk on LeBron James in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago? I do, but if you don’t, here it is! Besides that, Boston looks like one of just a couple of teams that could actually challenge Milwaukee in the East and the still-blossoming Tatum is a huge reason why. Points blank, you can expect a knock-down, drag-out thriller if these two contenders make it to the finals.

Toronto Raptors vs LA Clippers +2215

The defending champion Raptors might have lost Kawhi Leonard in free agency following their first championship win in franchise history, but Toronto has looked surprisingly solid and are the hottest team in the league with a whopping 14 straight wins at the time of this writing. Seeing Leonard go up against his former teammates, including now, all-star forward Pascal Siakim, might not be great for TV ratings, but I believe it it would be a competitive series.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Denver Nuggets +8500

While I’m disappointed with the struggling 76ers right now, I’d love to see the all-star center matchup and contrasting styles of Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Philly’s Joel Embiid and a similarly interesting matchup between point guards Jamal Murray and Ben Simmons.

5 NBA Finals Matchups No One Wants

Philadelphia 76ers vs Houston Rockets +6850

While I’d love to see some on-court ‘drama’ from Embiid and Houston’s Russell Westbrook, this potential finals matchup won’t be good for the league’s ratings, nor would it be good for basketball purists that like to see a better brand of hoops besides the isolation style both of these teams play.

Boston Celtics vs Denver Nuggets +8500

While the Celtics and Nuggets are two of the league’s best title contenders in their respective conferences, I’m not sure how many fans outside of Boston and Denver would actually watch this series. The good news is that it would definitely be competitive with a chance to go the distance. The bad news is that no one’s getting fired up to see Kemba Walker and Paul Millsap.

Toronto Raptors vs Utah Jazz +10100

Again, while both of these teams are legitimate NBA Finals contenders, the fact of the matter is that the Jazz have absolutely no pizzazz outside of entertaining high-flyer Donovan Mitchell and some blocks by Rudy Gobert. Likewise, while Pascal Siakim and Fred VanVleet are fine players, no one will be in a big rush to leave their summertime fun to see these guys.

Miami Heat vs Houston Rockets +8700

I love Miami’s additions of Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder, but the only reason anyone would watch this potential NBA Finals pairing is to see Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook potentially come to blows. Ooh, maybe this is a finals matchup I’d want to see!

New York Knicks vs LA Lakers +999999

East Coast vs West Coast usually sounds like fun, but watching LeBron, the Brown and the Lake Show win in 4 straight will be only fun for one city.