News broke over the weekend by ESPN reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski that Pelicans’ forward, Anthony Davis would be heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. The deal is easily the biggest trade of the offseason, as Los Angeles sent Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, and Josh Hart to New Orleans in exchange for Anthony Davis. The Pelicans will also receive four first-round picks, including this year’s No. 4 overall pick from L.A.
Are The Lakers Now The Favorite To Win The Title?
According to the oddsmakers at most sites, yes they are a favorite to win the NBA title. After it was announced that Davis would move to L.A., a team that already has LeBron, the Lakers went from around +500 odds to win the NBA title at most sites, up to +270 as the favorite.
Currently at MyBookie.ag they’re +270 to win the NBA Title for the upcoming 2019 season. The rest of the field shapes up like this:
Top Teams and Odds to Win the NBA 2019 Championship
|Los Angeles Lakers
|Golden State Warriors
As you can see, we have a lot of the usual suspects in the top-five teams favored to win the 2019 NBA Championship Title. The most notable team are the Warriors, a franchise that has been the heavy favorite to win the championship for the past few years can be had at +850.
Their loss in the NBA Finals this year did hurt their chances, but it’s more due to the news that both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant have suffered torn Achilles tendons. Not only will their rehab take them out of action well into next season, but they are both free agents and may not resign with Golden State.
A Bettor Wagers Big Before the Odds Changed
There is a good chance that a few people outside of the Lakers and Pelicans front offices knew about this trade before it happened. The move occurred on Saturday evening, but a few hours before the trade was announced to the world, an unknown bettor walked into the Las Vegas SuperBook and placed a $10,000 bet on the Lakers to win the title at +500.
The odds were adjusted to +270 or so after the news came out, but one must wonder if this bettor had inside knowledge or it was merely a coincidence? To me, it certainly seems like he knew the right people and got himself to Vegas to place a bet with his inside knowledge. If only all of us could be so lucky.
Are the Lakers Justified As Championship Favorites?
I don’t think they are. One of the things bettors need to keep in mind when it comes to futures betting markets is that they far less accurate or efficient compared to betting odds on a single game. They’re tough to balance for the sportsbooks, and when it comes to the Lakers, specifically, they’re a very public team with a more substantial following. They have taken a lot of money on Lakers’ futures in the past few days.
The Lakers got to keep Kuzma but gave up some excellent young talent in Ball and Ingram, and to a lesser extent, Hart. Right now, the starting line will likely look like this:
- PG: Alex Caruso
- SG: Isaac Bonga
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Kyle Kuzma
- C: Anthony Davis
The guard spots will change before the season starts, but the Lakers must still like what they have seen out of Issac Bonga. They will have $27.8 million in cap space or $32.5 million in room after the deal is finalized. It will depend on if Davis waives his $4 million trade bonus.
Possibly Target Other Positions
They could target another superstar with this extra room or go after some perimeter shooters and defenders, such as Danny Green or Patrick Beverley. Jimmy Butler comes to mind, as he has opted out of his deal with the Philadelphia 76ers and is now a free agent.
However, I don’t think there is a lot of value with the Lakers in the current NBA futures betting market. The Eastern Conference is much stronger and has many teams that can challenge L.A. Also, I think it is unfair to rule out the Rockets and Warriors in the conference. Either way, this coming season should be one of the more wide-open ones when it comes to title contenders.
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