The last few weeks have been full of dark days for sports fans and bettors alike.  Luckily, this weekend brings an event to our televisions that might just ease the pain a bit as NBA is back! Kind of….

After weeks of betting on the weather, Russian basketball, and marble racing, we actually have real NBA athletes getting back to competition.  While these guys won’t exactly be lacing up their Nikes and hitting the hardwood, it’s the best we are going to get for now if you want to bet online.

NBA Is Back? Intrigued?

Friday night tips-off ESPN’s broadcast of an NBA 2K20 tournament featuring real league players going head to head.  Headlined by Kevin Durant, the tournament features 16 NBA players of varying gaming skills playing eight single-elimination matchups.  Players will not be locked into playing as themselves or even as their own team.  Tourney rules state that each will pick eight teams which can be used only once during the tournament.

Here is the broadcast schedule for those who want to watch live on ESPN:

Friday, April 3rd, 7:00-8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Friday, April 3rd, 8:30-11:30 PM ET on ESPN2

Sunday, April 5th, 12:00-4:00 PM ET on ESPN2

Tuesday, April 7th, 7:00-11:00 PM ET on ESPN2

Saturday, April 11th, Time TBD on ESPN

Best of all is that NBA odds for these games are available and seeing quite a lot of action so far.  The odds to win the NBA 2K20 Player Tournament are:

Devin Booker +350

DeAndre Ayton +500

Kevin Durant +700

Derrick Jones Jr. +800

Patrick Beverly +800

Donovan Mitchell +1000

Trae Young +1200

Rui Hachimura +1400

DeMarcus Cousins +1600

Hassan Whiteside +1600

Montrezl Harrell +1600

Andre Drummond +1800

Harrison Barnes +2000

Michael Porter Jr. +2000

Zach LaVine +2000

Now if this were a straight 1v1 tournament taking place on the court, a healthy Durant would be a near-lock.  But, this being an eSports tournament, button skills are at a premium and not so much on-court prowess.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our competitors and try to handicap what we know of their 2K20 skills.

Devin Booker +350

Booker is the favorite here due in large part to the frequency in which he live streams NBA 2K games.  He was even caught on live stream when the NBA season suspension was announced.  Booker is a rare type of guy who toes the line between jock and tech geek.  He is a professional athlete who also has a rundown of all the specs of his PC in his Twitch page. While he is more of an FPS player, his time spent with a controller in his hand will go a long way in this tournament.

DeAndre Ayton +500

Ayton is another NBA player who somehow had time to become really good at a game simulating what his real-life actually is. He is another prolific streamer as a quick google search will tell you.  In fact, at one point in time, Ayton had a 1,093-166 record in online play.  You best believe he was practicing during that PED suspension and will be ready to hit the ground running.

Kevin Durant +700

Durant, like Ayton, had ample time this season to sit his ass at home and recover.  After suffering a myriad of injuries in 2019, he has been off the court all year and has surely spent a fair amount of that time gaming. Unlike the previous two guys, Durant is not one to post about his online play or records.  For al I know he doesn’t play online at all.  But it’s more likely he just uses an alias account and plays anonymously.

Andre Drummond +900

Drummond might be the best actual player on this list as far as 2019 stats go.  But can he hang with the big boys when it comes to 2K hoops? Considering he was interviewed once for an article about NBA players who play too many video games.  I say it’s a good chance he can handle himself on a digital court.