NBA: Lakers, LeBron favored to dispatch of Heat quickly

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Sep 29 2020 08:43 AM

Los Angeles Lakers players celebrate on the court after defeating the Denver Nuggets game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Miami Heat overcame long odds to reach the 2020 NBA Finals, and they'll have to do so again to win their first title in seven years.

The Los Angeles Lakers are heavy favorites across sportsbooks, with SportsBetting.com installing them at -400 and the Heat at +320 to win the series.

The Lakers entered the playoffs expected to compete with their Los Angeles rival, the Clippers, to represent the Western Conference against the Milwaukee Bucks in the finals. However, the field thinned significantly when the Clippers and Bucks bowed out in the semifinals in their respective divisions.

The Heat were in the middle of the Eastern conference pack as the No. 5 seed and not expected to be much of a threat behind the Bucks, reigning champion Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics. After sweeping the Indiana Pacers to open the postseason, the Heat lost only three combined games in taking out the Bucks (4-1) and Celtics (4-2).

Miami is the third-lowest seed to reach the NBA Finals since 1984 and this is the first ever finals matchup between teams that missed the postseason the previous year.

The lowest series odds at SportsBook.com is for the Lakers to win in five games. Series score odds:

Lakers 4-1: +275

Lakers 4-2: +333

Lakers 4-0: +350

Lakers 4-3: +500

Heat 4-3: +750

Heat 4-2: +1100

Heat 4-1: +2000

Heat 4-0: +6600

The series ending in five games either way is being offered at +225 by the book, followed by six games (+225), seven games +300 and four games (+325).

The NBA Finals begin on Wednesday, with the Lakers the "home" team in the bubble near Orlando. Los Angeles was installed as a five-point favorite by SportsBook.com and DraftKings, with the over-under for Game 1 set at 217.5 points by both books.

The over at DraftKings was receiving 80 percent of the total bets, while 64 percent of the Game 1 bets were on the Lakers winning by more than five points.

Lakers star LeBron James admitted he was "pissed" about finishing second to Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo in the regular-season MVP race, but he's favored to take home the Finals award.

Already a three-time NBA Finals MVP winner, James is being offered at -106 by DraftKings to take home the award this year, followed by teammate Anthony Davis (+200). Heat star Jimmy Butler is third at +800, followed by teammates Bam Adebayo (+1100) and Goran Dragic (+2000).