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2019-20 NBA Restart Schedule, Betting Odds and Picks

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LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers backs in on Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

At last, it’s official! The NBA will return to a Disney World bubble in Orlando on July 30th for eight final regular season games. The playoffs will start on August 17th.

The Jazz and Pelicans will play the first game in Orlando on July 30th at 6:30 PM ET. They will be followed by the Clippers and Lakers in the Battle of Los Angeles at 9:00 PM ET. BetOnline favors the Jazz by two points (-110) against the Pelicans while the Clippers and Lakers are at a PK (-110).

Important Notes

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium tweeted the following information:

“NBA restart schedule notes:- Maximum seven games per day, tip-offs between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. – Three total courts, two for national TV.”

If there are play-in games for the last playoff spots in each conference, they will take place on August 15-16. The league released the full schedule for the 22 teams heading to Walt Disney World but everything can change based on how COVID-19 impacts the country.

Is it Safe?

There’s some concern about the viability of having the NBA resume play at Walt Disney World given the rising cases in Florida.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained that the league is “still very comfortable being in Orlando” because of the guidelines put in place for the Disney bubble.

“My ultimate conclusion is that we can’t outrun the virus, and that this is what we’re gonna be living with for the foreseeable future — which is why we designed the campus the way we did,” Silver told ESPN. “And so it’s a closed network; and while it’s not impermeable, we are in essence protected from cases around us. At least, that’s the model. So for those reasons, we’re still very comfortable being in Orlando.”

Is the NBA Prepared?

The NBA season will resume as planned but Silver knows that “the level of concern has increased.” He noted that the NBA is ready to continue playing even if there are positive COVID-19 tests, though he clarified that “significant spread of coronavirus through our community might lead to us stopping.”

“We’re working closely with the players’ association, with Disney, and with public health officials in Florida as to what that line should be. And it hasn’t been precisely designed. I think we want to get down on the ground and start to see how our testing is working and how the protocols are working and then we’ll make decisions as we go,” Silver concluded.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Zach Gibson/Getty Images/AFP

Which Teams Will Travel to Orlando?

There will be 22 NBA teams involved when the season resumes play in Orlando and all of them have a chance to make the playoffs. Only the Hornets, Bulls, Knicks, Pistons, Hawks, Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Warriors are already out of contention.

NBA players have the choice to decline playing at Walt Disney World. So far Trevor Ariza, Avery Bradley, Davis Bertans and Willie Cauley-Stein are some of the players who decided to opt out.

Predictions

Roland Lazenby, author of ‘Michael Jordan: The Life,’ told me that he sees the Bucks and Lakers as the teams to beat for the playoffs: “So much has happened since I last saw people play, it seems like a year ago. I’m going to say Milwaukee and the Lakers.”

The Pelicans are 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies for eighth place in the Western Conference. They made major leaps in Zion Williamson’s 19 starts before the season was suspended. New Orleans has an intriguing core featuring Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday.

This is clearly a different team when Williamson is on the court and they deserve consideration for our NBA picks. The Jazz will be without Bojan Bogdanovic (20.2 points per game), as he recently had wrist surgery and as of this writing, they haven’t made any moves to replace his production on offense.

Keep in mind that the relationship between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert is broken. Mitchell didn’t appreciate how Gobert’s careless attitude led to both contracting COVID-19. Their bad blood won’t help the Jazz and this game has a very high total with Bogdanovic out.

I like the Clippers in the second game. A neutral court will prevent the Clippers from feeling like a road team in their own arena. Also, the Lakers will be without Avery Bradley (plus-0.5 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) and possibly JaVale McGee (6.8 points and 5.8 rebounds) because of his past respiratory problems. The Clippers just signed Joakim Noah and they have a rested, healthy and loaded roster.

NBA Picks for July 30th:

  • Jazz-Pelicans Under 223 (-110) at BetOnline
  • Clippers PK (-110) at BetOnline