Lakers poised to become NBA champions

Basketball

Lakers poised to become NBA champions

BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, October 09, 2020

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) and its respective bubble is nearing a very successful and entertaining end while the 'bubble-less' National Football League (NFL), just four weeks deep into the season, has already suffered a mild disruption due to the current pandemic.

The NBA is currently poised to crown the JustBet favourite Los Angeles Lakers champions over the Miami Heat. The Lakers took an early 2-0 lead in the series, but the Heat rebounded in Game 3 against a seemingly uninspired opponent to register a win in the finals.

The lacklustre performance of the Lakers seeped into the first half of Game 4 on Tuesday night but, despite making some of the same mistakes they made in Game 3 (especially turnovers), they managed to turn the screws in the fourth quarter and escaped with a narrow 102-96 victory.

LeBron James and the Lakers are now in control of the finals, one win away from the franchise's 17th championship. And the win could come as early as this evening. If the Lakers win Game 5, it will be the fourth series they've won in five games this postseason and 20 games would be the fewest number of wins it has taken a LeBron-led team to win a championship.

This is the 36th time that a team has held a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals. Of the previous 35, the team with the lead has gone on to win the title 34 times— LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 becoming the exception when they won three straight games to defeat the high-flying Golden State Warriors.

The teams had two days off to rest and adjust before Game 5 and this should most benefit the Lakers as they looked more gassed than their opponents on Tuesday. The finals have been competitive, especially with the return of Miami's Bam Adebayo for Game 4, but the possibility of the Lakers repeating the mistakes of the last two games is unimaginable — expect LeBron to add to his trophy case this evening and Lakers' Anthony Davis to be named finals MVP.

The COVID- 19 factor, the influx of social justice protests/politics and the weird place in the calendar (for the NBA) have been touted as reasons for the low television ratings for the NBA games since the restart and the NFL since the beginning of the new season. The NBA finals, in particular, has seen a disastrous 60-per cent drop in viewership over last year but the in-play action in both leagues have not disappointed.

The NFL has been having a stellar on-field year but suffered its first COVID-19 related setback last week. The Tennessee Titans had more than 20 players and officials who tested positive for the virus causing their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steeler to be postponed until later this year.

The New England Patriots' game versus the Kansas City Chiefs was pushed from Sunday to Monday due to the positive test (and eventual omission) of their quarterback (QB) Cam Newton.

The number of positive results in the Titans camp have increased during this week and now their scheduled Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills is in doubt. The NFL has already rescheduled the Titans' postponed Week 4 Steelers game into their pre-existing bye week and the Bills are slated to play the Chiefs next Thursday so there will have to be major changes including a possible cancellation of the game totally.

Meanwhile, the Houston Texans are off to a 0-4 start and decided this week to part ways with their head coach/general manager, Bill O'Brien. The Atlanta Falcons are also 0-4 after their 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night and coach Dan Quinn may be in the hot seat as well. The Falcons have already blown two double-digit fourth-quarter leads this season and their slew of injuries (including wide receiver Julio Jones on Monday) is shaping this season in misery.

There are four remaining undefeated teams in the NFL — The defending champion Chiefs (4-0), the overperforming Bills (4-0), the Steelers (3-0) and the COVID-19 troubled Titans (3-0).

While the Bills vs Titans matchup is in jeopardy for Sunday, the Chiefs will be visiting the Las Vegas Raiders (2-2) and the Steelers will travel to Heinz Field and tackle the Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1).

The Bills appear to be riding a lucky streak that should come to an end this weekend against the Jon Gruden coached Raiders while the Chiefs have been bailed out by their defense over the past two weeks and it is difficult to see the potent Kansas City offense slacking off for three-straight weeks — The Bills and Eagles should brace for their first loss.

JustBet continues to offer attractive betting options on all popular sports and events (including eSports and virtual games) as soon as they become available. Please visit one of the over 100 locations (or visit mobile.justbetja.com) for details and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings… Get in the GAME!

NBA Winner
Team Odds
Los Angeles Lakers TBA
Miami Heat 21.00
*Odds are subject to change
Super Bowl Winner
Team
Odds
Kansas City Chiefs 4.50
Baltimore Ravens 6.80
Seattle Seahawks 9.00
Green Bay Packers 11.00
New Orleans Saints 14.00
*Only Top 5 odds shown (see
website for full list)
*Odds are subject to change


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