There’s still no clear date on when we should expect to see the NBA return but with plans afoot, it’s worth looking at the implications for punters.
The change is huge. There will be crowd noise but it will be generic. The pressure of going to a hostile arena is gone. So too however is that of playing with the expectations of thousands around you speaking for the millions more rooting for you at home.
That makes the NBA odds worth a look. The Bucks haven’t got over the line in the Giannis Antetokounmpo era yet but they might well benefit. More than the championship, it’s the individual player odds that will be shaken up. The NBA MVP odds can be tracked here and the Greek Freak might find himself in an odd spot.
While the chances of the Bucks winning the championship should improve without having thousands of Milwaukeans around them in the playoffs, that energy is something Giannis feeds off. He’s having a phenomenal season but closed doors play could hamper him during the wrap up of the regular campaign, whatever it involves, and it will take him a few games to adjust before entering playoff mode.
The man most suited to the switch isn’t in the MVP race, Chris Paul. You could put him in any environment and he’s the ultimate competitor. The man second most suited to the switch very much is in the hunt.
LeBron James has been in the rare role of being the man chasing the lead in the most valuable player stakes this season. Chris Paul aside, there’s no-one alive that could turn their game on more in a strange environment. Coupled with the weird narratives of the return and his, eh, starring role in the Game of Zones finale season, and he’s got a story that’s somewhat refreshed.
The player I fear for most in the MVP race is Luka Doncic. While I don’t expect his play to dip, the eyeball test has been huge for his dark horse candidacy. Doncic’s ability to wow crowds and get a reaction, at home or on the road, puts him in a unique spot as a dip in performance isn’t necessary for his MVP chances to drop. That said, if he can raise his game in the final run-in then he might well be able to make more noise than anybody in the chasing pack.