The 2020 NBA Finals odds are here and while LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers were destined to make it here, the Miami Heat were not. Which makes the 2020 NBA Finals odds — and this specific matchup — all the more intriguing.
For the first time in a long time, the NBA provided a matchup we didn’t necessarily expect. But that has been the case for the entire 2020 NBA Playoffs. Nobody knew what to expect.
Rob Dauster is here to preview the 2020 NBA Finals odds and the specific matchups that will help determine the way the series shakes out. BetRivers.com has a wide variety of 2020 NBA Finals odds for both the series and each game.
I did not know what to expect when the NBA bubble kicked off.
Considering the number of teams that were left at home, the number of players that decided to opt-out and everything else that is going on outside of the bubble in this country — from an unprecedented pandemic to the second civil rights movement to the most important election in the history of America — there really wasn’t much reason for optimism about it being successful.
And that could not have been more wrong.
The bubble has been incredible. It has provided an incredible level of competition and drama as the best basketball players on the planet have put on a show on just about a nightly basis. Without the temptation of hitting the clubs after games and a lack of cross-country travel ruining their sleep cycles combined with the fact that the gym they’re playing in has ideal sightlines and no fans, it’s been like watching the most intense and competitive open gym in the history of gyms.
I have loved every second of it.
And it’s just about over.
Which brings me to the 2020 NBA Finals odds. As the top seed out west, the Los Angeles Lakers, dispatched Denver in five games and advance to face the fifth-seed in the East, the Miami Heat.
We’ll leave the storylines about Spo and LeBron and Jimmy Butler and Kentucky basketball to the scribes.
Here, we’re about the numbers and, hopefully, the dollars.
So I’ll start with this: The Miami Heat are, right now, getting (+300) to win the title at BetRivers.com, which is an intriguing number considering the way that they have played throughout this postseason and the way that they matchup with the Lakers — more on this in a second.
I don’t see the value in betting on the Lakers (-400) to win the series; you’re better off just betting on them every game if you think they’re winning the title. They enter Game 1 as a five-point favorite, and it’s worth pointing out that they are 12-3 in the playoffs and have covered in 10 of their 12 wins. One of the games they didn’t cover was a push.
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So let’s talk about those matchups.
I think the most interesting part of this Finals series is going to be who forces the other team to adjust. The Heat play small. Meyers Leonard, who started for much of the regular season, has assumed the role of a walk-on, the captain of the bench mob. The Heat play Bam Adebayo at the five and surround him with a bunch of guys that can all shoot the cover off the ball: Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, Jae Crowder, Tyler Herro, Kelly Olynyk, Andre Igoudala and, in the postseason, Jimmy Butler.
The Lakers, on the other hand, want to play big. I’m assuming that they are going to start out Game 1 by seeing if using Javale McGee or, more likely, Dwight Howard can be effective against the Heat. This is going to create all kinds of fascinating matchups. If the Lakers are playing big, are they going to put Bam on Anthony Davis and allow two of Butler, Crowder and Iggy to find a way to slow down LeBron and Howard? That seems like the best option, if Eric Spoelstra can tolerate the fact that Howard will get some second-chance points along the way.
It’s not just that one matchup, mind you. I expect to see quite a bit of that 2-3 zone the Heat have been running, which is tough to rebound out of. Considering how good LeBron is passing out of the post as well, I think we could see quite a few layups at the rim for the Lakers. How much of that can Spo tolerate, and can they hit enough threes to make the Lakers pay?
On the other end of the floor, this will put the Lakers in an awkward position. Howard is going to have to guard Bam in these big lineups, which is going to be a tough thing for the best defensive team in the NBA to deal with. Bam is effectively a point-center, and Howard is not built to be guarding players like that on the perimeter. Neither is AD, who will likely be matched up with one of Crowder or Butler. The Heat offense is already a nightmare to deal with considering just how many elite shooters they have spacing the floor and how good Herro and Dragic have been in ball-screen and dribble-handoff actions.
Who forces the change?
Will the Heat make the Lakers go small?
Will the Lakers make the Heat play big?
To me, that is the key to this series.
At the end of the day, I expect the Lakers to win, and my guess is that it goes six games. The Heat are that good and that well-coached, but the Lakers will have the two best players on the floor who just may be two of the four or five best players alive today. Not only are they great, but if they’re forced to play “small”, it means the Lakers will have Anthony Davis at the five matched up with Bam and LeBron at the four on Butler.
That seems like a good situation to be in.
Now, if we’re talking about key matchups here, I think that it all comes down to Bam Adebayo vs. Anthony Davis. If Bam can play AD to a stalemate, then the Heat have a very real chance to win this series if their shots are dropping. That, to me, is where this series swings. So if you think that the Heat are going to be able to find a way to win the title, it makes Adebayo (+900) for Finals MVP quite interesting.
It works the other way as well. There’s a very real chance that AD averages 30 and 10 this series, that he is enough of a pest defensively to slow down what the Heat do with their DHO’s and that he keeps Adebayo in check. If that happens, why can’t he win the MVP award? LeBron will probably get it because he’s LeBron, but if you don’t want to lay (-400) on the Lakers to win, taking AD at (+250) to win the MVP is a fun way to get some action on that side while still be able to make a nice little profit.
2020 NBA Finals: Series Odds
- Los Angeles Lakers -400
- Miami Heat +300
2020 NBA Finals MVP Odds
- LeBron James -125
- Anthony Davis +250
- Bam Adebayo/Jimmy Butler +900
- Goran Dragic +3000
- Tyler Herro +3500
- Kyle Kuzma/Rajon Rondo +15000