2020 NBA Finals: Latest Betting Lines, Predictions for Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat

The Los Angeles Lakers arrive into the NBA Finals as the second-biggest favorite in almost two decades.

The Purple and Gold are 1/4 favorites (-360 in moneyline terms) to win a first NBA title in a decade, while FanDuel and BetMGM both have them at 7/25. The Miami Heat are 3/1 outsiders with both DraftKings and BetMGM, while FanDuel and William Hill have Miami at 29/10 and 16/5 outsiders respectively.

The odds on the Lakers are the shortest of any team going into a NBA Finals since the Golden State Warriors were 1/10 favorite to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018. Aside from the Warriors, to find a team arriving into the Finals as a bigger favorite than the Lakers one has to go back all the way to 2002, when the Lakers of Phil Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant were 3/25 favorites against the New Jersey Nets.

Until this season, the 2002 Nets held the accolade of being the biggest outsider to reach the NBA Finals over the last 30 years until this season. According to ESPN' Stats & Information, the Nets began the 2002 season as 60/1 long shots to win the title, while the Heat were 75/1 outsiders in the summer.

Over the last three decades, the 2015 Golden State Warriors have been the unlikeliest NBA title winners as they began the season as 28/1 outsiders to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Over the same period, no team beginning the season with odds of 30/1 or longer to reach the NBA Finals has made it that far.

FiveThirtyEight's statistical projections give the Heat a 45 percent chance of winning the Finals to the Lakers' 55 percent, while The Ringer's statistical model gives the Lakers a 61 percent chance to win the title to the Heat's 39.

After missing the playoffs for six consecutive years, the Purple and Gold began the season among the bookmakers' favorites to win a first title since 2010.

FanDuel and DraftKings had the Lakers as second-favorite at 22/5 just behind the Los Angeles Clippers, while FOX Bet had the latter at 15/4 and the Lakers at 4/1 and BetOnline had both L.A. franchises as 9/2 joint-favorites.

The Lakers have lived up to expectations, finishing LeBron James' second season in the City of Angels with the best record in the Western Conference and dropping just three games in the playoffs as they returned to the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade.

The Heat, meanwhile, finished fifth in the Eastern Conference before embarking on a remarkable postseason run. Miami swept the No.4-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round, before dispatching the No.1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the Conference Semifinals and then defeating the third-seeded Boston Celtics 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Since the Lakers swept the Nets in 2002, the NBA Finals have ended in four games on just two occasions, with the San Antonio Spurs and the Warriors both sweeping the Cavaliers in 2007 and 2018—James, incidentally, was on the receiving end on both occasions—and bookmakers don't expect the trend to change this year.

The Lakers are 11/4 with both DraftKings and BetMGM to win the series in five games, while the two sportsbooks offer odds of 13/4 and 3/1 respectively on the Lakers winning the series 4-2. Odds on the Purple and Gold sweeping the series stand at 17/4 and 9/2 with DraftKings and BetMGM and both bookmakers, along with FOX Bet and Points Bet have the Lakers to win in seven games at 5/1, while odds on the series to go the distance and Miami to win stand between 8/1 and 27/4.

DraftKings has the Heat winning in five or six games at 17/1 and 9/1 respectively, while BetMGM has odds of 20/1 and 12/1 on the same outcomes. Odds on Miami sweep, meanwhile, are as long as 50/1 with several bookmakers.

LeBron James, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against Derrick Jones Jr. #5 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at American Airlines Arena on December 13, 2019 in Miami, Florida. The Lakers and the Heat face off in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night. Michael Reaves/Getty