NBA Restart Format, Odds, TV Schedule, Live Stream and Playoff Predictions

Garett Fisbeck/Associated PressThe NBA is set to resume the 2020 season with the league's top 22 teams on Thursday. Teams reported to Orlando, Florida earlier in July for preparation in what has commonly been referred to as "the bubble."Now, the efforts of those in the bubble are about to pay off, as real-game action resumes…

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Garett Fisbeck/Associated Press

The NBA is set to resume the 2020 season with the league’s top 22 teams on Thursday. Teams reported to Orlando, Florida earlier in July for preparation in what has commonly been referred to as “the bubble.”

Now, the efforts of those in the bubble are about to pay off, as real-game action resumes with the Utah Jazz versus the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Clippers versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

Here’s everything you need to know about the NBA’s impending restart.

How Does the Restart Work?

Let’s begin with the obvious questions: How will the 22-team restart work and why 22 teams?

The NBA decided to only include the top 22 of its 30 teams in order to limit the number of people involved in the restart while still allowing teams close to playoff contention a shot at making the field of 16. Those 22 teams will play an eight-game seeding schedule, which will be followed by a play-in system if necessary.

Full details can be found at, but essentially a potential play-in will work like this: The top eight teams in each conference will advance to the postseason. However, if the eighth seed in a conference is four games or fewer ahead of the ninth seed, the two will have a play-in series—in which the No. 8 seed will need to win one game and the ninth seed will need to win two to advance.

Once the top eight seeds in the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference have been decided, the 16-team playoffs will commence in a traditional conference format.

Play will take place at three separate venues at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

Opening Schedule, Viewing Info

Four teams will be on the court on Thursday, with another 12 in action on Friday. The opening two-day schedule for the 2020 restart is as follows:

Thursday, July 30

Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans

6:30 p.m. ET on TNT and

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

9 p.m. ET on TNT and

Friday, July 31

Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets

2:30 p.m. ET on YES Network

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers

4 p.m. ET on NBA TV and

Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards

4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington, Fox Sports Arizona

Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks

6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and WatchESPN

Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs

8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports Southwest, NBC Sports California

Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks

9 p.m. ET on ESPN and WatchESPN

Championship Odds, Playoff Predictions

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

While depth and team health are often deciding factors in the NBA playoffs, they could be even more important in this new bubble brand of competition. Several key players—such as Lakers guard Avery Bradley and Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza—have opted not to even join the restart.

This will further test the depth of teams with championship aspirations. For a team like the Brooklyn Nets, who have been decimated both injuries and opt-outs, it may require going deep into the roster just to make it through the seeding period.

For Brooklyn, though, the restart is less important than the 2021 season, which should see a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Nets uniforms.

“It’s a great way to evaluate players moving forward, maybe some new players coming in and what the roster may look like in three, four, six months from now sort of thing,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said of the restart, per The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer.

For teams like the Clippers, Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets, the restart and the ensuing playoffs will be very important—there is an NBA title on the line, after all.

Here’s a look at the current championship odds and some predictions for which teams will make the field of 16.

Odds to Win 2020 Championship (via Caesars Palace)

Los Angeles Lakers: +200

Milwaukee Bucks: +275

Los Angeles Clippers: +325

Houston Rockets: +1500

Boston Celtics: +1500

Toronto Raptors: +1700

Denver Nuggets: +2200

Philadelphia 76ers: +2500

Dallas Mavericks: +3500

Miami Heat: +4000

New Orleans Pelicans: +5000

Utah Jazz: +6000

Brooklyn Nets: +6000

Oklahoma City Thunder: +6000

Portland Trail Blazers: +7500

Indiana Pacers: +12500

Memphis Grizzlies: +50000

Phoenix Suns: +50000

Orlando Magic: +75000

San Antonio Spurs: +100000

Washington Wizards: +100000

Sacramento Kings: +200000

Playoff Seeding Predictions

Eastern Conference

1. Milwaukee Bucks

2. Toronto Raptors

3. Boston Celtics

4. Miami Heat

5. Indiana Pacers

6. Philadelphia 76ers

7. Orlando Magic

8. Brooklyn Nets   

Western Conference

1. Los Angeles Lakers

2. Denver Nuggets

3. Los Angeles Clippers

4. Oklahoma City Thunder

5. Utah Jazz

6. Houston Rockets

7. Dallas Mavericks

8. Memphis Grizzlies

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