It’s been a good week for the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only have they now won 11 of their last 12 games, their last two wins have come against the two teams that are viewed as their top competition for the NBA Championship. The Lakers topped the Milwaukee Bucks 113-103 on Friday and then edged the Los Angeles Clippers 112-103 on Sunday.
Now they’ve moved ahead of the Clippers and have tied the Bucks as the favorite to win the championship. Let’s take a look at the updated odds.
Los Angeles Lakers
NBA Championship Odds: +250
The Lakers just defeated the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, getting their first win of the season in the head-to-head series between the teams. The Clippers had won the previous time the two Los Angeles clubs met head-to-head inside Staples Center.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis naturally led the charge for the Lakers, who solidified their hold on the top seed in the Western Conference, upping their lead to 6.5 games.
Many people have pointed out that LeBron James should be the 2019-20 MVP – even though Giannis Antetokounmpo has long been viewed as the favorite. However, the Bucks have lost two in a row and only have a four-game lead on the Lakers for the best overall record. If the Lakers catch up, James will win the MVP award.
NBA Championship Odds: +250
The Bucks know that their two foremost pursuers, the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics, will probably have to play each other in the second round of the playoffs, which means they should avoid both until the Eastern Conference Finals. This gives Milwaukee an added advantage as it tries to win the Eastern Conference championship for the very first time in the franchise’s existence.
The last time Milwaukee made the NBA Finals was in 1974, when Kareem Abdul-Jabar was the star and the Bucks were part of the Western Conference, not the East. Milwaukee, which won the title with Abdul-Jabar and Oscar Robertsen in 1971, eventually lost in 1974 to the East champion Boston Celtics in seven games.
The challenge is that the Miami Heat have been pretty good this season and have even beaten the Bucks twice now – the only team in the NBA to do so. They shoot the three very well and could be a thorn in Milwaukee’s side.
Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Championship Odds: +350
The Clippers lost to the Lakers on Sunday, but they are okay as long as they maintain the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the West. That way, they avoid the Lakers until the West Finals. The Clippers would be happy with a second-round playoff matchup against the Denver Nuggets, who are a team on the rise but aren’t quite on the Clippers level. Los Angeles has been inconsistent for much of the season, but they know that the playoffs is when their reputation and legacy will be measured. There is hardly time to panic for the Clips.
NBA Championship Odds: +1000
The Celtics have fallen on hard times as they’ve now dropped four of their last five games overall. They could give the Toronto Raptors a run in the battle to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals but that’s assuming they get back to playing like a contender.
Jayson Tatum has played like a superstar, averaging 30.9 points per game along with 8.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks in his last 10 games. If this is the version of Tatum which shows up in the playoffs, the Celtics have a great chance to compete for the East title.