The NBA is set to return after months of hibernation, and with that time off, you would be forgiven for losing track of who falls where in the league’s hierarchy. Frankly, given the unprecedented nature of finishing an entire season in a single location, all of the previous rules should be thrown out the window, creating very lucrative possibilities for the astute bettor. 

With the news that the season is returning in Orlando, William Hill Sportsbook has released new championship odds to reflect the 22-team format that will be used to finish the season. Unsurprisingly, the season-long trio of favorites in the Lakers, Bucks and Clippers remain atop the list. Afterward? Plenty of potential value plays exist. 

On first glance, here are a few notes on these odds: 

  • Dallas and Utah’s odds seem to be based more on their strong regular seasons than their current situations. The Mavericks will be without mainstays Jalen Brunson and Dwight Powell in Orlando. Utah won’t have star shooter Bojan Bogdanovic. Given those injuries, opportunities to short those two teams should be considered where possible. 
  • Give the 76ers a long look at +2000. They should finally be healthy after an injury-filled season, but more importantly, finishing the season at Disney removes their biggest weakness: playing on the road. The 76ers went 29-2 in Philadelphia this season and 10-24 everywhere else. Neutral site games could even them out, turning them into the championship contender they seemed primed to be before the season. 
  • Among the true longshots, consider the Pelicans. The version of their starting lineup that includes Zion Williamson has outscored opponents by a blistering 26.3 points per 100 possessions. While their depth leaves much to be desired, if the team with arguably the best statistical five-man lineup in basketball can make it into the tournament, they will be extremely dangerous. 

Without seeing games in Orlando, it is hard to know just how much the pandemic will impact the product on the floor for the NBA. Fortunately, these odds reflect that. If you feel strongly about a specific team heading into the Disney restart, don’t be afraid to put your money where your mouth is. The rewards this time around could be greater than ever.