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NBA 2019/20: Who are the favourites?

3/10/2019
The 2019 NBA finals saw the first winners from a team based outside the US, as the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in a historic showdown. As the beginning of the 2019/20 season draws ever closer, who is the best bet to lift the trophy?

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Toronto Raptors – 33/1
What better place to start than the current champions? At a tempting 33/1 with Bet365, it’s the Raptors. Kyle Lowry played some of the best basketball of his career last season despite breaking his thumb and the 33 year old will be back to lead the Raptors in the final season of his three-year contract. However, the team lost a vital part of its success after Raptors forward and reigning finals MVP Kawhi Leonard left to join the Los Angeles Clippers this summer. As a result, many have written off the Raptors’ chances; but it’s important to remember they were underdogs last year too.

Milwaukee Bucks – 5/1
The bookies’ favourites from the Eastern Conference are the Milwaukee Bucks at 5/1 with William Hill. Last season, the team boasted the best record in the NBA, topping the Eastern Conference by 25 points but ultimately losing out to the Raptors in the finals. Last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo earned MVP status at 24-years-old, and the star forward will lead the Bucks for another season. With arguably the best player in the league and Leonard out of the picture for the Raptors, it would be hard to look past the Bucks for the Conference title. Who knows where they can go from there?

Philadelphia 76ers – 11/2
Another strong offering are the 76ers at 11/2 with Sky Bet. The team will be looking to build on last year’s league success, which was cut short in the playoffs. The summer’s new signings could see the 76ers get even further this year, most notably in the form of AL Horford from the Boston Celtics and Josh Richardson from Miami Heat. In a press conference during the off-season, team owner Josh Harris said these signings had put his team “in position to do some serious winning next year” and it seems the bookies agree.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Golden State Warriors – 10/1
2018/19 finalists Golden State Warriors are at 10/1 with Bet365. The Warriors lost some vital man power in Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala over the summer, while Klay Thompson faces a long road to recovery after tearing his ACL. Despite this, as five-time defending Western Conference champions, they are expected to make it into the playoffs at the very least. The Warriors last won the NBA only two seasons ago, but Steph Curry and Draymond Green may have to do something exceptional to claim the trophy this season.

Los Angeles Clippers – 3/1
The Clippers are the bookies’ favourites to win the championship from either conference at 3/1 with William Hill. The signings of Leonard and Paul George mean they have possibly the strongest defensive line-up in the NBA, and if the team maintains the same tenacious style of play as last year, they could be unstoppable. However, George is coming off two shoulder surgeries in May and June, while Leonard played only 60 games out of the 82 last season with concerns over a previous injury. If both are fit to play this Clippers team will be a tough one to look past for the title.

Los Angeles Lakers – 7/2
The bookies firmly believe the NBA trophy will make its way to LA in 2020, with the Lakers just behind the Clippers to win the championship at 7/2 with Sky Bet. The team missed out on the playoffs last season but the signing of Anthony Davis may give the Lakers the edge they need. Davis has never ranked worse than the 83rd percentile in scoring efficiency since entering the league in 2012 and will be the perfect teammate for three-time NBA champion LeBron James. Together, the pair could guide the Lakers to winning form.

By Owain Flanders
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