Saturday night, Anthony Davis was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only did it shake up Twitter, the NBA Championship odds have been completely rearranged. The Lakers are the betting favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA Finals. I am covering the new title odds for both teams involved in the deal.
Note: All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
ODDS FOR TOP 10 TEAMSLOS ANGELES LAKERS +350
MILWUAKEE BUCKS +500
TORONTO RAPTORS +750
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS +800
HOUSTON ROCKETS +800
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS +1000
DENVER NUGGETS +1200
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS +1600
BOSTON CELTICS +2500
BROOKLYN NETS +2500
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (+350)After missing the playoffs last season, the addition of Davis has propelled the Lakers to an implied 22.2% chance to win the NBA title. It’s a big leap and surely the assumption is the Lakers will add more players to the roster. They still have cap space, although the amount of available money is still up in the air. Whether enough space exists to bring on another max player depends on whether Davis will waive a $4 million trade bonus and the timing of when the trade is officially completed. Los Angeles creates extra cap space by waiting until the end of July for the trade to be completed, however it is in the best interest of the Pelicans to have the deal finished on July 6, which is when Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported the deal is expected to officially go down. New Orleans has the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and the selected player would not be eligible to play in Summer League if July 30 is the date of trade completion.
Taking Woj at his word, a player like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker or Jimmy Butler could have to take up to a $10M less to play for the Lakers as opposed to another team with more cap space. The team could be left to sign role players and veterans willing to play for a minimum salary to chase a ring. This has me concerned about how top heavy the Lakers’ roster could become. With the Warriors, we saw what can happen to a team built on stars with weak bench players. All it takes is an injury for a team to go from appearing invincible to coming unraveled. Every DFS player will question the durability of AD and LeBron James is coming off playing a career-low 55 games. James figures to play less minutes in the regular season to ensure his health, which could mean a lower seed in the playoffs. He turns 35 next season and while LeBron should still be great, his production might start to slip a little.
On paper, this is a very good team and I am willing to bet they will be fun to watch. However, I am not willing to bet on them to the win the championship at their current odds. The Lakers are a very public team with a massive fanbase, causing them to often go overvalued as the public runs to bet on them. Los Angeles was seen as a title contender last season and missed the playoffs by 11 games. So far, they have shipped off Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball to get Davis. I think the Lakers are improved, but I don’t think they have done enough for me to leap from the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference to most likely team to win the title.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (+15000)The Lakers’ rise coincides with the fall of the Pelicans. New Orleans almost certainly isn’t winning a championship this season, but the future is bright. Like most people, I am extremely high on Zion Williamson. One thing I think being overlooked by the public is his potential on defense. I see people comparing Zion to Julius Randle, who just opted out of his contract with the Pelicans, and I don’t think the comp is a good one. Randle is a negative on defense, while Williamson could make an All-Defense Team as soon as his first year in the league. Add him to an elite perimeter defender in Jrue Holiday and potential of Lonzo Ball (if healthy) and this New Orleans defense could cause some issues for opposing offenses.
While betting the Pelicans to win the title is silly, betting the over on their win total could make sense. The DK Sportsbook is yet to release a line for their expected wins, however the Pelicans are so far down in the title odds that I don’t expect their projected win total to be a big number. New Orleans has the fifth longest odds to win the championship and I expect this to be a team in the middle of the pack in terms of record. They figure to add an impact player with the fourth pick in the draft and there is cap flexibility to re-sign Randle or add another piece to one of the best young cores in the NBA.
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