Apparently the NBA Finals and speculation about free agency, as well as a blockbuster trade, have thrown the 2020 NBA Championship odds into a frenzy. The favorite is now the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that didn’t even make the playoffs. They are listed by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook at 3/1.
The Toronto Raptors, winners of the NBA Title, are the fifth pick at 10/1. The team they defeated, the Golden State Warriors, are even lower at 12/1.
Teams in between the Lakers and Warriors are Milwaukee at 6/1, the Los Angeles Clippers at 7/1, and Houston at 8/1
From Speculation to Reality
Before New Orleans and the Lakers made the deal to get Anthony Davis to Tinseltown, the Lakers were the favorite, but the odds were based mostly on wishful thinking. Just after the Raptors won the NBA Championship, Los Angeles opened at 20/1, but as the talks about getting the Pelicans’ All-Star forward got louder, the line kept moving lower. On Friday the Lakers were at 9/2 at both Caesars and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, with the Bucks and Clippers close behind at 6/1. New Jersey sportsbooks DraftKings and FanDuel each had the Bucks listed as the favorites.
Caesars sportsbook senior oddsmaker Alan Berg told ESPN.com that he had already taking large wagers on the Lakers, but had also seen notable action on the Clippers.
“We are treating all these bets as sharp on the basis that it’s a very speculative market, with all the powerful free agents who can turn these teams into championship contenders,” Berg said.
Does Davis Make Lakers Contenders?
On Saturday evening the news leaked that Davis was becoming a Laker and all hell broke loose. The Westgate reported that one bettor had placed a $10,000 wager on LA to win the championship.
Some have questioned if getting Davis justifies the Lakers as the favorites. They certainly gave up quite a bit for him. The Pelicans received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three draft picks, including this year’s No. 4 selection.
The Pelicans already have the No. 1 pick and are expected to take Duke’s Zion Williamson.
Lakers star LeBron James didn’t seem to mind giving up those players for Davis. He posted a welcome message to his new teammate on Instagram after the deal was announced.
“AD on da way!! Let’s get it bro! Just the beginning,” James wrote.
James seemed to imply that the Lakers are not done in free agency. They have been rumored to be interested in Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, and Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler.
Golden State, New York Odds Plummet
Two teams that haven’t seen much love from sportsbooks are the New York Knicks or the Golden State Warriors. Both saw their odds nosedive.
The Warriors were 7/4 after losing to the Raptors, but are now at 12/1. With Kevin Durant suffering a torn Achilles, and Klay Thompson tearing an ACL, the team will be without two-fifths of its starting lineup. Both players were free agents, and it wasn’t even certain they were going to stay with the team.
A month ago the Knicks looked like its grip on mediocrity was finally going to be broken. Fans of the team has assumed they would be getting the No. 1 pick because their odds were so good because of their league-worse record. Then Durant and Kyrie Irving were going to sign with the team in the offseason, and they would be title contenders.
But they got the third pick, not the first, and lost out on Williamson, the expected No. 1 selection. Then Durant suffered the injury that should keep him out all of next season. The capper was Irving was said to be interested in the Nets, not the Knicks.
That trifecta of bad news made New York irrelevant once again. Their odds went from 16/1 to 50/1.