Michael Gatti

2020 NBA championship odds: Updated look as NBA releases schedule for seeding games

2020 NBA championship odds: Updated look as NBA releases schedule for seeding games

The NBA schedule is set. Each team's eight remaining regular-season games are mapped out before the postseason begins. However, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to think about the NBA Finals, especially from a sports betting perspective. 

For the sake of this conversation, let’s assume the Sixers are firing on all cylinders and rip through the Eastern Conference playoffs en route to a berth in the Finals. If that happens, hopefully you locked in on the 28-1 odds ($100 wager pays $2,800) DraftKings is offering on Brett Brown and company to take home the title. 

Now, what about opponents from the West? Well, the last four times the Sixers made it to the big stage, they just happened to face star-studded Lakers squads (1980, 1982, 1983 and 2001). There’s no doubt star power would dominate the storylines once again in 2020 — LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons would be just a few of the big names in that series. One who thinks this matchup can happen should jump on DraftKings and FanDuel and grab 25-1 odds ($100 wager pays $2,500) on Sixers vs. Lakers. 

Then there is that other team in the City of Angels ... the Clippers. There’s plenty of elite talent on that roster too, starting with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. A Sixers vs. Clippers championship has odds of 27-1 on DraftKings and 28-1 on FanDuel. To put this in perspective, a Lakers vs. Bucks matchup is listed at 3-1 on FanDuel. Needless to say, the oddsmakers think the Sixers have a lot to prove just to make it to the Finals. 

The basketball fan in me would just love to see the Sixers meet the Rockets in the Finals. Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook would be pure entertainment. With no fans in attendance, wouldn’t it be great to hear the trash talking between the two rivals? I’m wondering how James Harden will play under these quieter conditions. The Beard could be even more dangerous in a streetball style game. which makes Sixers vs. Rockets at 80-1 odds on DraftKings ($100 wager pays $8,000) a little interesting. 

Want to really test the waters? BetMGM has odds on selecting the exact outcome of the Finals. The Sixers knocking off the Lakers is listed at 50-1, followed by the Sixers toppling the Clippers at 70-1 and Sixers over Rockets at 200-1 ($100 wager pays $20,000). On the flip side, the Lakers defeating the Sixers has odds of 35-1. That’s followed by Clippers over Sixers at 40-1 and the Rockets beating the Sixers at 125-1. 

The playoff run should be fast and furious, like a ride on Space Mountain giving bettors butterflies in their stomachs with every twist and turn of this unprecedented postseason. Let’s hope for the best and that everyone stays healthy so we can see how this season plays out. 

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MLB odds 2020: NL East could be a photo finish this year

MLB odds 2020: NL East could be a photo finish this year

So you're saying there's a chance?

Despite the Phillies having such a difficult 2020 schedule as outlined by Corey Seidman and generally placed by the sportsbooks as the fourth-best team in the National League East, the gap between first and fourth isn't that far apart if you dive into the numbers set by the oddsmakers.

As displayed below, William Hill Sportsbook lists the Phillies with odds of +330 to win the division ($100 wager pays $330). Those are the fourth-best odds in the division but not far behind the three teams ahead of the Phils. 

The only division with odds closer between the projected first- and fourth-place teams is the NL Central.

2020 National League East Winner (William Hill)

Braves +200 
Nationals +240 
Mets +300 
Phillies +330 
Marlins +5000

The NL East win totals also give a similar indication that there isn't a large discrepancy between the top four teams in the division. Three wins separate the Braves 34.5 over/under total from the Phillies and Mets, who are both listed at 31.5. It indicates the sportsbooks are thinking the NL East will be a sprint that may come down to a photo finish.

2020 National League East Win Totals (PointsBet New Jersey) 

Braves 34.5
Nationals 33.5
Mets 31.5
Phillies 31.5 
Marlins 24.5

The Phillies eclipsed that 31.5 win total mark in the first 60 games under former manager Gabe Kapler's watch in each of his two seasons. However, in fairness to first-year manager Joe Girardi, his predecessor didn't have this bear of a schedule staring at him day in and day out. If the odds give us any sign, then how the division shakes out will be must-watch TV and streaming during the back half of this unprecedented summer.

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Examining Phillies’ World Series odds in this sprint of a season

Examining Phillies’ World Series odds in this sprint of a season

Take me out to the ball game. And since we can’t yet go out with the crowd, let’s head to the sportsbooks apps for the Phillies’ odds. 

If you have faith in the Phils during the most unusual season of them all with this 60-game format, there is plenty of value for the taking. 

The Phillies currently have odds of 20-1 to win the World Series at DraftKings and FOX Bet ($100 wager pays $2,000), while you can get bigger odds of 25-1 ($100 wager pays $2,500) at FanDuel and William Hill. 

You may want to consider jumping on Caesars Sportsbook’s number of 30-1 ($100 wager pays $3,000) on the Phillies. 

It’s important to point out the Phillies’ odds haven’t changed much since they were released around last Halloween. On most sportsbooks the Phils are anywhere from the 8th to 12th best odds to take home the crown. However, that’s not going to be an easy ticket to cash. 

Let’s look at the odds of the teams in the East to win the National League. According to most experts and sportsbooks (DraftKings) the Phils (+1100 — $100 wager pays $1100) are the fourth best team in the NL East behind the Braves (+600), the defending champion Nationals (+750), and the Mets (+900). 

As for the rest of the National League, add in the Dodgers, who are generally the favorite to win the World Series, as well as the Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers and Reds and you have one heck of a race jockeying for NL supremacy. 

To make it even more difficult for the Phillies, they’ll play games against the Yankees, who are the second choice on the board at most sportsbooks, with odds of +400 to win the World Series. By the way, all the Bronx Bombers did a season ago was win 103 games. The climb uphill doesn’t get any easier with games against the Rays (+1800) and Red Sox (+3000). Tampa wasn’t too shabby last year with 96 wins of their own, while Boston racked up 84. 

Here’s a little optimism for you: After 60 games a season ago, the Phillies (33-27) were the leaders in the NL East and held the fourth-best record in the National League. Meanwhile, the Mets (28-32) and the World Champion Nationals (27-33) were closer to the bottom of the standings and wouldn’t have sniffed the postseason. 

So it’s going to be a 60-game sprint to the finish. Wouldn’t it be great if we turn back the clock to 1993? That was the season when the Phillies posted the franchise’s best 60-game start to a season (43-17) and earned a trip to the World Series. 

Or perhaps a 35-25 beginning like in 2008 could suffice. All the Phils did that season — to quote the great “Indians” catcher Jake Taylor — was “win the whole (bleeping) thing.” 

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