As details about the return of the NBA season continue to slowly trickle out into the world, it is becoming more and more clear that basketball will soon be back with us again. Left in an abrupt halt in the middle of March, many stories were left untold, and the crowning of a new NBA champion following the departure of Kevin Durant from the previous behemoth Golden State Warriors was also put on hold. With the shifting of many stars to large markets and the title race more open than ever at the beginning of the year, many teams entered the NBA season with at least a shot at glory.

There are three prohibitive favorites in the 2020 NBA Championship race at this intermittent stage of the season: the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers. Right now, NBA futures reflect the gap between those three teams and everyone else. According to SportsLine as of Monday, the Lakers (+240) hold the best odds in the entire NBA. Here’s how the odds rank from best to worst for teams with better than 50-to-1 odds:

2020 NBA Title odds:

  1. Los Angeles Lakers (+240)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks (+260)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (+320)
  4. Boston Celtics (+1600)
  5. Houston Rockets (+1800)
  6. Philadelphia 76er’s (+2000)
  7. Toronto Raptors (+2000)
  8. Denver Nuggets (+2500)
  9. Dallas Mavericks (+3500)
  10. Miami Heat (+4000)
  11. Utah Jazz (+4000)

The Boston Celtics have the fourth best odds in the NBA to win a title, but the drop-off from the Clippers at third to the Celtics at fourth is steep. Oddsmakers have grouped the five teams from fourth to eighth in a section that I would label “it’s possible they could surprise people” contenders. Anybody that bets their life savings on that group is likely to be disappointed, but they could get lucky given some unique circumstances.

The Nuggets have the eighth best odds in the NBA to win a championship. That places them fourth in the Western Conference behind LeBron James’ Lakers, Kawhi Leonard’s and Clippers, and James Harden’s Rockets. With Nikola Jokic at the helm, the Nuggets have shown they can be trusted more than the other West contenders thus far, but not to the point that they crack the top tier.

Denver’s title odds would certainly improve if a number of scenarios were to occur: if Jamal Murray hits a new gear and plays like the All-Star he’s capable of being, Denver’s odds could hit. If Michael Porter Jr. suddenly looks less like a flashy rookie and more like a foundational piece, the Nuggets could look pretty good. If Gary Harris has a resurgence shooting, Paul Millsap turns back the clock a bit, or Will Barton starts looking like prime Jerry Stackhouse, things are looking great.

So, did the oddsmakers in Las Vegas get it right?