One thing that we have consistently seen in the NBA playoffs over the years is that the top one or two seeds in each conference tend to be the ones that make deep runs and go to the Finals. It is still altogether too early to say for sure, but it certainly feels as though a dark hose might be able to make a case for a long run in the postseason in 2020. After all, we did see the #1 seeds in each conference lose their respective opening games in the playoffs. Over the course of a 7-game series, those losses may not prove to be important in the grand scheme of things, but perhaps they are a sign of what is to come. With that in mind, we have picked out a pair of underdogs in each conference that might be worth a wager against their NBA odds.
Underdogs You Should Bet On – 2020 NBA Finals
Naming the Boston Celtics (+450) as an underdog after they ended the season as the #3 seed, but they are now in a situation where that might end up meaning nothing. They came away with a big win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their series, but they have now also lost the services of Gordon Hayward for about a month. That loss immediately has NBA fans saying that the Celtics chances of winning it all were done, but we very often see players rise up when they lose their best player. Could that happen with the Celtics?
The Miami Heat (+750) are in that awkward #4 seed spot that means having a tough road ahead in the postseason. They looked good in their opening game against the Indiana Pacers, but you get the sense that they might be in for a long series there. The Heat lost 4 of 5 to close out the regular season, but a win in the playoffs can very quickly right all that seemed wrong. If they can get through the Pacers series, they might just begin to build some momentum.
You could certainly argue that the Western Conference is a little more wide open than the East, and the way things have gone since the NBA returned, it may be a conference ready to deliver some surprises. I think we need to start this piece out by talking about the Houston Rockets (+500). In Harden and Westbrook, they have a stellar one-two punch, and while Westbrook is out with a minor injury, the Rockets still found a way to win Game 1 against the OKC Thunder. Westbrook will be back sooner rather than later, which is a nice ace to have up your sleeve as the playoffs progress.
You would need to be a little crazy to take the #8 seed to represent their conference in the NBA Finals, but let’s have a little bit of fun with this. When you look at the restart, you see that the Portland Trail Blazers (+1200) have basically been playing playoff basketball from the start. They went 6-2 in their final 8 games to make it into the play-in game, where they took out the Memphis grizzlies. They then opened up their postseason proper with a Game 1 win over the Lakers. This is a team getting hot at exactly the right time.