- The NBA is due to return in Orlando next month
- 22 teams are heading to Disney World Resort with three different arenas being used
- Opening lines and predictions are below
NBA basketball is (nearly) back in our lives. Caution is necessary – there are no guarantees about the league’s resumption – but it’s hard not to be excited as a basketball fan. This is set to be an unprecedented feast of ball, days and nights of games, hours gorging on games after months of basketball starvation.
The table below shows the odds for the opening games in Orlando.
NBA Restart Odds
|Boston Celtics||+5.5 (-110)||Over 218 (-110)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-5.5 (-110)||Under 218 (-110)|
|Sacramento Kings||-2.5 (-110)||Over 218 (-110)|
|San Antonio Spurs||+2.5 (-110)||Under 218 (-110)|
|Houston Rockets||-1.5 (-110)||Over 226 (-110)|
|Dallas Mavericks||+1.5 (-110)||Under 226 (-110)|
|Miami Heat||pk (-110)||Over 216.5 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||pk (-110)||Under 216.5 (-110)|
|Utah Jazz||-2 (-110)||Over 216 (-110)|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+2 (-110)||Under 216 (-110)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+5.5 (-110)||Over 226.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||-5.5 (-110)||Under 226.5 (-110)|
|Utah Jazz||pk (-110)||Over 221.5 (-110)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||pk (-110)||Under 221.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||pk (-110)||Over 220 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||pk (-110)||Under 220 (-110)|
|Orlando Magic||-1 (-110)||Over 215 (-110)|
|Brooklyn Nets||+1 (-110)||Under 215 (-110)|
|Memphis Grizzlies||+1.5 (-110)||Over 224 (-110)|
|Portland Trail Blazers||-1.5 (-110)||Under 224 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||-2.5 (-110)||Over 229 (-110)|
|Washington Wizards||+2.5 (-110)||Under 229 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-3.5 (-110)||Over 217 (-110)|
|Toronto Raptors||+3.5 (-110)||Under 217 (-110)|
Odds taken Jun. 27
Eight teams are sitting out the NBA’s resumption plan, and the other 22 will head to Orlando. The 16 playoff occupants across the two conferences are joined by the Wizards, Kings, Suns, Spurs, Pelicans and Blazers. If either 9-seed is within four games of the 8-seed, a play-in will be needed – the ninth seed will need to win two games against the eight seed to take the final playoff berth.
Ahead of the transaction window, allowing teams to sign players, Washington’s Davis Bertans, Lakers guard Avery Bradley and Portland wing Trevor Ariza opted not to enter the ‘bubble’.
Near the top of the NBA title odds, the Bucks have all but guaranteed the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Their motivation for the eight seeding games will be interesting. It could be about gearing up for the playoffs or the focus could be rest, protecting their key players to avoid unnecessary injuries against teams like the Boston Celtics, who will be desperate to chase down the Raptors for the 2-seed.
Milwaukee lost to Boston earlier in the season, but got the better of their Eastern Conference rivals when they met again in January. It should be a favorable matchup for Milwaukee – the Celts are not particularly well equipped to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is fully fit for the league’s resumption after picking up a knee injury back in March.
Mike Budenholzer’s team hit a minor blip before the league was halted, though that probably doesn’t mean much considering how long the players have had off.
Evaluating the betting market for this game depends on what we expect from the Bucks. Boston is capable of beating even a full strength Milwaukee, and if Budenhozler restricts the minutes for his starters, it could open the door for the Celts. Milwaukee have little to play for – the Celtics could be a good bet here.
Pick: Boston Celtics +5.5 (-110)
Lillard On the Charge
The Portland Trail Blazers are out to prove a point. Healthy and with a chance of a playoff spot, Portland start their Orlando spell with a game against the current eighth seed, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Portland have been riddled with injuries. Lillard missed time, Jusuf Nurkic hasn’t taken the court and Zach Collins has played only three games. All of them should be back for the league’s restart.
If the Blazers are to make a push for the final postseason spot, they need to get off to a winning start against the Grizzlies. Their schedule gets much tougher after that – they face the Celtics, Clippers, Rockets and Nuggets in their next four.
Memphis’ season has been brilliant. In the general discourse about the contest for the final seed and a potential play-in, the standard that the Grizz have played at this year is sometimes overlooked.
These are two so-so defensive teams loaded with talent. Lillard and Ja Morant are two of the best players to watch in the league. I like the over at 224.
Pick: Over 224 total points (-110)
Zion Leads the Pels
New Orleans were due to have the easiest schedule in the NBA. With the league’s eight worst teams staying at home, the Pels’ schedule is tougher than before, but it remains easier than everyone else’s. They start off against the Utah Jazz, a game that could set the tone for their stay in Florida.
The absence of Bojan Bogdanovic hits Utah hard. Their ceiling is much lower without Bogdanovic, who scored over 20 points per contest this season, and they have a weakness on the wing.
The Jazz have been a streaky team, mixing runs of victories with slumps all season long. In New Orleans, they face a team desperate to get off to a strong start as they pursue the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the West. Rudy Gobert will presumably be tasked with guarding Zion Williamson, which has the potential to be an epic matchup, but the Pels have offensive options aplenty, and Utah could struggle to restrict them.
Utah was 23rd in defensive rating since the All-Star break. No team has been able to halt Zion so far, and with Brandon Ingram enjoying a brilliant season too, the Pelicans should have enough to record a much-needed victory in their opening game.
Pick: Pelicans pk (-110)