NBA Title Odds 2020: Clippers, Lakers, Bucks and 76ers Among Favorites

After a decade-long absence, the NBA title could return to Los Angeles this season.

The Staples Center last had an NBA Champions banner raised to the rafters in 2010, when the Los Angeles Lakers claimed the final title of the Phil Jackson era with a 4-3 win over the Boston Celtics.

Bookmakers, however, believe the Lakers can end a 10-year wait, while the Clippers have what it takes to secure a first-ever ring.

According to FanDuel and DraftKings the Clippers are 7/2 favorites, with the Lakers a close second at 22/5.

The gap is slightly narrower with FOX Bet, with the Clippers at 15/4 and the Lakers at 4/1, while BetOnline has both teams as 9/2 joint-favorites.

The optimism is justified as both teams arrive into the 2019-20 season on the back of a summer that has significantly reshaped their look and expectations.

The Lakers bear little resemblance to the team that missed the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season last year, when the feel-good factor generated by LeBron James' arrival evaporated like the fizz out of a bottle of soda left open too long.

Gone are basketball director of operations Magic Johnson and head coach Luke Walton, with the latter replaced by Frank Vogel.

The more significant changes, however, have come in playing personnel. The Lakers sacrificed most of their young core to land Anthony Davis and give LeBron an All-Star caliber partner to rely upon.

Davis' arrival will improve the Lakers, but there is a feeling the Lakers remain somewhat unbalanced—although they have added experienced role players in the shape of Dwight Howard, Danny Green and Avery Bradley.

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers smiles as he warms up before a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 10 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty

FiveThirtyEight expects the Lakers to go 47-35 this season, while it forecasts the Clippers to win 54 games.

The Clippers landed Kawhi Leonard just a few weeks after he guided the Toronto Raptors to their maiden NBA title, before sweetening an already mouthwatering deal with the signing of Paul George.

The latter will be out until next month as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery, but the prospect of Leonard and George playing alongside each other and potentially leading the Clippers to the NBA Finals is a fascinating one.

As the Lakers did to land Davis, the Clippers' blockbuster signings came at a cost, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round picks and the right to a further two first-round pick swaps going to Oklahoma as part of the package for George.

Behind the two Los Angeles teams, the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are next favorites at 6/1 and 15/2 with FanDuel and DraftKings.

The Bucks were the only team to win 60 regular-season games last year, but squandered a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Raptors to lose 4-2.

Milwaukee has lost Malcolm Brogdon in the offseason, but with the East weaker than a year ago, it is reasonable to expect the Bucks will finish as one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

Managing the workload of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will be crucial to their chances of success.

The Sixers should be the biggest challenge to the Bucks, despite the fact they lost Jimmy Butler in the summer.

FiveThirtyEight projects Philadelphia will go 53-29 this season, just behind Milwaukee's expected 54-28 record.

The Sixers had a busy offseason, landing Al Harford and acquiring Josh Richardson, while re-signing Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons.

If the latter can continue his progress and Joel Embiid stays fit, the Sixers will be a force to be reckoned with.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are an 8/1 outsider, followed by the Golden State Warriors at 12/1.

The Rockets sent Chris Paul and a few picks to Oklahoma in exchange for Russell Westbrook.

The combination of James Harden and Westbrook should at least take Houston to the Western Conference Finals, particularly now the Warriors are no longer the dominant force of recent years.

Golden State was dethroned in the NBA Finals last season and has lost Kevin Durant to Brooklyn, while Klay Thompson faces another few months out with a torn ACL.

The Warriors era may effectively be over—FiveThirtyEight expects them to go 48-34—but Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry will be desperate to prove otherwise.