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NBA set to return July 31; Nets see huge title odds movement with possible Durant return

June 5, 2020 12:54 AM

It took nearly three months, but NBA bettors finally got the news they were hoping to hear: The league is coming back July 31.

On Thursday, the NBA Board of Governors voted 29-1 in favor of restarting the season, with the lone dissenting team the Portland Trail Blazers. The NBA will finish the remainder of the season in Orlando, at the Walt Disney World Resort. There will be 22 teams invited to Orlando. This includes the top 8 teams from both conferences plus a handful of teams within striking distance of a playoff berth: the Pelicans, Blazers, Spurs, Kings, Suns and Wizards. The 22 teams will play eight regular-season games to determine seeding, then the playoffs will begin. 

Here are the eight teams that will not be traveling to Orlando: the Timberwolves, Warriors, Cavaliers, Hawks, Pistons, Knicks, Bulls and Hornets. Their seasons are over. 

The eight regular-season games will be played in a 16-day stretch on three different courts, which will host five or six games per day. Teams will begin training in Orlando on July 9. The season will begin on July 31 and stretch to Oct. 12, which would technically be Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Free agency would begin Oct. 18. 

It will be a short offseason for players. Training camp for the 2020-21 season begins Nov. 10 and Opening Night is set for Dec. 1. 

The NBA season returns eight weeks from today, which means bettors have plenty of time to dust off their handicapping tools and get back in the swing of NBA wagering. 

Here are the updated odds to win the championship at FanDuel. 

Bucks + 240

Lakers + 270

Clippers + 340

Rockets + 1200

Celtics + 2000

Raptors + 2400

Nuggets + 2500

Heat, 76ers + 2700

Jazz + 2900

Mavericks + 3600

Nets + 6000

Pacers, Thunder + 10000

Pelicans + 12000

Grizzlies, Blazers, Spurs + 21000

Magic, Suns, Kings, Wizards + 25000

While the Bucks, Lakers and Clippers are getting all the attention as the odds-on favorites to hoist the title, one dark horse team saw massive movement in their favor over the past 24 hours: the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets have a record of 30-34 and are currently the 7th seed in the East. However, their title odds improved from 750-1 to 60-1 on Thursday. Why? Because two-time champion and 2014 MVP Kevin Durant may be making his return (and Nets' debut). Durant tore his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals and was expected to miss the entire season. However, the extra time off caused by the pandemic may give him a chance to get back on the court. Fellow Brooklyn star Kyrie Irving is also good to go after undergoing shoulder surgery in February. 

Caesars Director of Trading Jeff Davis told ESPN: "I would rather be cautious and deal 60-1 than get hurt when we hear news [of Durant and Irving returning]. I don't want to post 150-1 odds, and then the problem is you take a bet of a couple thousand and it pays $300,000 and you're stuck if [Durant is] good."

After the season ends, the next big NBA event to bet on will be the draft. The draft lottery will be held Aug. 25 and the draft will be held Oct. 15. The Warriors (15-50) have the worst record in the league and the best chance to win the top pick but we'll have to see where the ping pong balls fall. 

Here are the latest odds to be drafted first overall at DraftKings.

Anthony Edwards -110

James Wiseman + 175

LaMelo Ball + 250

Obi Toppin + 1000

Deni Avdija + 1500

Killian Hayes + 1500

RJ Hampton + 2000

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