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Ahead of the 2019-20 season restart, the Bucks and Lakers were tied for the best odds to win the championship inside the NBA’s “bubble.” Fast forward two months later, and Los Angeles has lived up to lofty expectations by coming out of the Western Conference side of the playoff bracket, but it will be facing one of the most unexpected contenders in recent memory.

Despite entering the postseason as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Heat reached the 2020 NBA Finals in the exact same amount of games as the Lakers (15). Miami may be considered the underdog once again as it faces a dominant LA squad led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but All-Star forward Jimmy Butler isn’t buying that narrative.

MORE: Predictions, picks, schedule for 2020 NBA Finals

“I just don’t think that we’re underdogs. I don’t,” Butler said at Finals media day. “So what that nobody picked us to be here? That’s OK. Pretty sure nobody’s picking us to win [the NBA Finals] either. That’s OK. But we understand that. We embrace that because, at the end of the day, we truly don’t care.”

Perhaps the public is starting to believe in the power of “Heat Culture.” Early bets on Miami have caused the odds to shift at a few sportsbooks.

As ESPN’s David Purdum noted, the Lakers started as a -425 favorite in several cases, and that number dropped multiple times before Wednesday night’s Game 1 (9 p.m. ET, ABC). The Heat have been beating the odds all season long, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see bettors taking a chance on an impressive Miami squad.

NBA championship odds 2020

Courtesy of Sports Insider, below are the odds for the Lakers and Heat ahead of the 2020 NBA Finals.

Series odds

Team Odds
Los Angeles Lakers -307
Miami Heat +257

NBA Finals MVP odds

Player Odds
LeBron James -165
Anthony Davis +275
Bam Adebayo +800
Jimmy Butler +900
Goran Dragic +2,500
Tyler Herro +2,500
Rajon Rondo +10,000
Duncan Robinson +12,500
Kyle Kuzma +15,000

Game 1 spread

Team Spread
Los Angeles Lakers -4 1/2
Miami Heat +4 1/2

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September 30, 2020
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