The wait is over. The 2019-20 NBA season resumes Thursday night with two excellent matchups from the Orlando bubble.
The action begins when the Utah Jazz take on the New Orleans Pelicans, followed by the two best teams in the league -- the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers -- squaring off in a much-anticipated showdown.
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The last few weeks have been full of bold predictions and commentary on which team will win the Larry O'Brien Trophy in October. The betting odds for many teams have changed since the schedule was released in late June. The Lakers remain the favorites, but they certainly aren't the only team that oddsmakers believe in.
Here are the latest title odds with the seeding games about to commence. All lines are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
1. Los Angeles Lakers: +250
2. Milwaukee Bucks: +250
3. Los Angeles Clippers: +333
4. Houston Rockets: +1400
5. Toronto Raptors: +1800
6. Boston Celtics: +2000
7. Philadelphia 76ers: +2000
8. Denver Nuggets: +2500
9. Miami Heat: +3000
10. Utah Jazz: +3300
All other teams have odds worse than +3300
The Toronto Raptors were +2200 to win the title when the schedule was released last month, and now the defending champs have leaped over the Boston Celtics for the fifth-best odds at +1800. The Celtics are still a better value at +2000.
The Celtics have better top-end talent and depth than the Raptors. Boston is the only team in the league with three players (Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown) averaging 20 or more points per game, with Gordon Hayward pretty close at 17.3 points per game. One potential concern with the C's is the health of Walker's knee, but Brad Stevens gave an encouraging update on it during Wednesday's media availability.
If you look at the most money being wagered at BetMGM sportsbooks on the NBA title, the Celtics are fifth, per The Action Network's Darren Rovell. So, plenty of people believe in Boston's chances at succeeding in the bubble.
We'll learn more about the C's right off the bat when they take on the Bucks in their first seeding game Friday night on NBC Sports Boston. A victory over the Bucks probably would result in even more people jumping onto the Celtics bandwagon as the playoffs approach.