When the NBA was paused on 12 March nobody knew when or if this season would be resumed. As the league worked on finding a way to return, bettors still looked for value. Now the restart is so close, we looked back at which team had been wagered on the most in the downtime and we were shocked by the results.
Most-backed team to win the league
Since the league was paused it's been fifth-favorites the Boston Celtics who have led the betting, taking 38.5% of all bets. Given the performances of Jayson Tatum, who looks like he's back on the route to superstardom, it's no surprise that bettors are taking the +2000 on offer. The team may be third in the East but there is optimism that they could click and take the Championship.
Sharp bettors have stayed away from the teams leading the betting, with none of the three favorites, the Lakers (+270), Bucks (+280) and Clippers (+340) even being in the top 5 of the most bet on teams. It appears bettors are wary of such short prices when there is so much uncertainty about the bubble and possible repercussions of an extended mid-season break.
Chris Paul's Oklahoma City Thunder are the second most backed team, taking in 30.83% of bets since the restart, and could offer some real value at a huge +11000.
Next up are the Brooklyn Nets who have taken 19% of bets in that time, with bettors likely hoping that the break may have given Kevin Durant the chance to return. Sadly that isn't happening and it's split sportsbooks who have some varying odds on offer, with the Nets available at a best price of +20000 and a shortest price of +6000. Which just shows the importance of using odds comparison.
The Memphis Grizzlies have taken 7.7% of bets, with hopes resting on Rookie Of The Year favorite Ja Morant. They're very much an outsider but at +50000 with one book, there could be value there, especially when their shortest price with another book is +12500. Showcasing another example of the importance of comparing odds.
The fifth most-backed team, taking 3.8% of bets is the Houston Rockets. Houston has been an interesting experiment this season, and they're available at a best price of +1600 to win the Championship with their unique brand of 'small ball'.
NBA Championship Odds