The 2019-20 NBA season concluded with the Los Angeles Lakers hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. Their 4-2 series win over the Miami Heat earned the team its 17th NBA championship, tying them with the Boston Celtics for the most titles in league history. We are now a quarter of the way through the 2020-21 NBA campaign and the Lakers are amongst the contenders once again.
The Los Angeles Lakers are once again among the favorites to win the NBA title in 2020-21.
Do the defending NBA champs have what it takes to repeat, or will another team rise to dethrone LeBron James and Anthony Davis? Here is a short list of the top three teams you should place your money on to win it all based on how they performed over the past week (Feb. 1 through Feb. 7).
3. LA Clippers (+550 odds)
As you might recall, the LA Clippers were the odds-on favorites to win the title last season. And their postseason run got off to a good start. They took a 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals. Unfortunately, the Nuggets came back to win the next three games and squashed the Clippers’ title hopes in the process. Although the Clippers have dropped three of their last four contests, their 17-8 record is the third-best mark in the Western Conference. In other words, the Lakers may be the defending champs, but the Clippers have revenge on their minds, which makes them a formidable opponent going forward.
2. Brooklyn Nets (+400 odds)
The Brooklyn Nets finished with a 35-37 record in 2019-20. This was good enough for the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference. The bad news is they were ousted by the Toronto Raptors in the first round. The good news is Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would be back in the rotation this season. Not only that, but the Nets also traded for James Harden, which increased the expectations surrounding this team. Despite boasting one of the more talented trios in recent memory, life hasn’t been easy for the Nets. KD is out of the mix once again due to COVID-19 protocols. Not only that, but the Nets have dropped two of their last three outings coming into this week. This includes back-to-back losses against the Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. While their 14-12 record isn’t stellar, they currently hold the No. 3 spot in the conference playoff race. Once the dust settles, though, look for this team to make some noise down the home stretch of the season.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (+250 odds)
As it was previously stated, the Lakers are right in the thick of the playoff race out west. Over the past week, the Lakers posted wins in each of their three outings. On the heels of a perfect week, the Lakers stand at 19-6. This is the second-best record in the Western Conference and the NBA as well. Who owns the top record in the league you may ask? Well, that honor belongs to the Utah Jazz, who have won 20 of their first 25 games. Why the odds-makers aren’t giving them love is anyone’s guess.
Not all the news is good for this squad. Anthony Davis sat out the team’s recent outing against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to an Achilles injury. On the positive side, two of the Lakers’ next three contests are against opponents that have sub-.500 records which should allow them to hold on to the top spot from a betting standpoint.
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