Sports analysts and hoops fans often profess that the NBA is better when teams like the Los Angeles Lakers are winning. Unfortunately, the Purple & Gold have found themselves more on the losing side of things so far this season.
However, when we look at it from a betting perspective, has L.A.’s downward spiral actually impacted the team’s title odds? Let’s dive in and see if wagering on La La Land’s glitziest squad can still offer bettors glamorous returns.
A shining city like Los Angeles is lifeless without its king. And His Majesty LeBron James has, to the best of his abilities, carried out his royal duties this season. His 28.8 points per game are second-best in the NBA, and his player efficiency rating of 27.36 ranks fourth.
But despite these efforts, LeBron’s MVP futures have plummeted since the beginning of the season.
At the start of the year, LBJ’s odds to win league MVP were 18-to-1. While he was nursing various injuries, those odds got as long as +6600! Since he has returned to more consistent play, King James’ MVP odds have shortened to +3300 at FOX Bet.
According to FOX Bet sports trader Dylan Brossman, there’s still hope for the 37-year-old, four-time champion to keep his name in the MVP race.
“If LeBron can somehow rally the struggling Lakers to a top three or four seed in the West, he will definitely get some MVP votes.”
And struggling accurately describes the current state of Lakers Nation. At 22-23 and eighth in the Western Conference, should buyers beware when it comes to throwing some cash at the Lakers to win it all this summer? Especially considering they started the year off with the second-best championship odds at +400 and now have the sixth-best at +1300?
Per Brossman, there is good reason to tread lightly when betting the Lakers. And when it comes to adjusting L.A.’s futures, bookmakers are considering more than just this current basketball season.
“We were expecting LeBron to turn the team around like he has done with rosters in the past,” he noted. “In his first year in Miami in 2010, the Heat started the season 9-8. In his first year back in Cleveland in 2014, the Cavs started 9-7. By January, however, those teams figured it out.
“Through 45 games, the 2010 Heat had a 31-14 record. The 2014 Cavs were 25-20 and in the midst of a 12-game winning streak. Halfway through the season at 22-23, doubt is beginning to creep in.”
In addition to having a straight up (SU) losing record, the Lakers have been dismal against the spread (ATS) this season. At 18-27 ATS, coach Frank Vogel’s squad ranks 29th in that category.
And while many disparaging fingers have been pointed at everyone from Vogel to Russell Westbrook when it comes to the Lakers’ current demise, history, surprisingly, looks favorably upon teams in their position.
Per FOX Sports Research, there’s no correlation between franchises having losing records ATS in the regular season and making a run for the championship in the postseason. As a matter of fact, since the 2015-16 season, at least one of the teams playing in the Finals had a losing record ATS in the regular season.
LeBron-led Cleveland teams made that list twice.
So maybe the embattled Lakers are not such a bad bet after all? Or maybe they are, according to FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless.
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Even if the Lakers claw their way back up the standings, they’re competing against a stacked field of fortuitous contenders. Most notable of those squads standing between L.A. and a Larry O’Brien trophy are the Golden State Warriors, a team with the Association’s second-best championship futures at +500.
While all that glitters is not Purple & Gold, history does teach us that a renaissance often follows a nation’s fall.
So are you locking in on the Lakers to add an 18th trophy to the case, or are you throwing down a few bucks on another contender? Head over to FOX Bet and get in on the action now!
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