The Los Angeles Lakers have become one of the favorites to win the NBA Finals next season, according to online sportsbooks.
After the news broke on Sunday evening that James had agreed to a deal with the Lakers, top sportsbooks made the Lakers 9 to 2 to win the title in 2019, but those odds quickly were bet down to 7 to 2 after wagers quickly came in on Los Angeles.
Just the Golden State Warriors, the NBA’s two-time defending champions have better odds to win the title than do the Lakers on most sportsbooks. The Warriors are currently -110 to win the title for the third straight season.
The Boston Celtics are currently sitting at the same 7 to 2 as the Lakers, while the Houston Rockets odds are just slightly higher at 7 to 1. Those are the only teams that have odds in the single-digits to win the title.
Los Angeles won 35 games last season, ending the season missing the playoffs by 12 games, yet when opening odds were posted following the NBA Finals for next season, Los Angeles opened at 20 to 1, better than the 30 to 1 odds given the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played in the NBA Finals for a fourth straight season.
On Sunday, most sportsbooks adjusted the odds for the Cavaliers to 500 to 1, which are the same as both the Sacramento Kings and Brooklyn Nets.
As it speculation grew that James had decided to leave Cleveland for Los Angeles, bets began pouring in the last month on the Lakers. Managers of several sportsbooks have said that more bets have been made on the Lakers to win the NBA title next year than any other team.
One well known sports betting house online said that twice as much has been wagered on the Lakers than on any other NBA team.
Several sportsbooks stopped NBA betting during the weekend due to the kick off of free agency. Others kept the betting open, but shortened the Lakers odds to the win the title in advance.
Not only has the acquisition of James lowered the odds for the Lakers, but most sportsbooks have adjusted their odds with the idea the Lakers will be adding even more talent to their roster as Kawhi Leonard could end up being traded to the team by the San Antonio Spurs.