The sports world came to a screeching halt three months ago. As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly spread, a prominent player in the NBA tested positive for COVID-19.

After that player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive on March 11, the game between his Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed. Before the day ended, the NBA scrapped the remainder of the scheduled season with hopes of resuming it at a later date.

For weeks, uncertainty abounded as to whether the 2019-20 season would ever conclude — if the season would have a champion at all.

Now it appears we will, as the NBA will pick up play starting July 31 with an NBA Finals champion decided by October 12. As such, NBA betting will certainly become more active at legal sportsbooks across the country.

NBA plan to monitor, prevent coronavirus

The NBA’s board of governors approved the league’s proposal — by a whopping 29-1 margin — June 4 to resume the season in Orlando, Florida, with 22 of 30 teams expected to take part.

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, and the league’s advisory/finance committee pitched the idea to teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, a plan that would include 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference franchises.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski, Senior NBA Insider for ESPN, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association remain in negotiations regarding safety protocols and competition.

That said, players and coaches will need to maintain proper social distancing when out golfing or eating at restaurants. Beyond that, the NBA intends to conduct uniform, daily testing on campus at Disney. Any positive tests would result in those individuals to be quarantined and treated while the league continues to test other members of that team as play continues.

Disney employees must maintain similar protocols and will not be allowed in players’ rooms while hallways will be monitored to avoid crowding.

How the NBA will look in Orlando

Invited teams will start training at team sites in July before moving on to full training camps in Orlando. As noted, the format includes 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference.

The list includes the top eight teams in each conference as well as any team that was within six games of eighth place when the season paused:

Western ConferenceEastern Conference
Los Angeles LakersMilwaukee Bucks
Los Angeles ClippersToronto Raptors
Denver NuggetsBoston Celtics
Utah JazzMiami Heat
Oklahoma City ThunderIndiana Pacers
Houston RocketsPhiladelphia 76ers
Dallas MavericksBrooklyn Nets
Memphis GrizzliesOrlando Magic
Portland Trail BlazersWashington Wizards
New Orleans Pelicans
Sacramento Kings
San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns

As Wojnarowski reported ahead of the NBA announcement, teams will compete in eight regular-season games that will lead up to a play-in tournament featuring the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams in each conference. Such a scenario would only occur if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth seed.

Should this situation arise, the No. 8 team would only need to win once to advance, while the No. 9 would need back-to-back victories.

NBA betting odds

As players get ready to report to training camps in anticipation of the resumed season, legal sportsbooks across the country have reposted futures odds for this year’s champ.

Certainly, not all lines will be the same, but the trend at the top will all look similar in terms of favorites:

  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Los Angeles Clippers

As for the full field of 22 teams, here are the odds as of June 5 courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook.

FanDuel SportsbookDraftKings Sportsbook
Milwaukee Bucks +240Los Angeles Lakers +250
Los Angeles Lakers +270Milwaukee Bucks +250
Los Angeles Clippers +340Los Angeles Clippers +333
Houston Rockets +1200Houston Rockets +1300
Boston Celtics +2000Boston Celtics +2200
Toronto Raptors +2400Toronto Raptors +2200
Denver Nuggets +2500Denver Nuggets +3000
Miami Heat +2700Miami Heat +3000
Philadelphia 76ers +2700Philadelphia 76ers +3000
Utah Jazz +2900Utah Jazz +3300
Dallas Mavericks +3600Dallas Mavericks +4000
Brooklyn Nets +6000Brooklyn Nets +8000
Indiana Pacers +10000Indiana Pacers +10000
Oklahoma City Thunder +10000Oklahoma City Thunder +10000
New Orleans Pelicans +12000New Orleans Pelicans +12500
Memphis Grizzlies +21000Portland Trail Blazers +17000
Portland Trail Blazers +21000Memphis Grizzlies +25000
San Antonio Spurs +21000San Antonio Spurs +25000
Orlando Magic +25000Orlando Magic +30000
Phoenix Suns +25000Phoenix Suns +30000
Sacramento Kings +25000Sacramento Kings +30000
Washington Wizards +25000Washington Wizards +30000

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