It was an inauspicious season opener for the Lakers, a 119-107 loss to the defending champion Nuggets that Denver controlled from the jump.
Yet, despite it being only game 1 of 82, one person out there was certainly excited. I’m talking about the bettor who wagered $50K on the Lakers to miss the playoffs, a person so crazy you wonder if they were just trying to throw money away, or if they know something the rest of us don’t.
While the payout would be great, the risk seems wild. The Lakers’ current win total OVER/UNDER is set between 47.5 and 46.5, depending on what sportsbook you look at. If they reach 47 wins, they’ll likely be a top 4 seed in the West, costing this bettor $50,000. Even if finish with 43 wins like last year, they’d still make the play-in tournament, and we all know how they played last year when they were in that situation.
The Lakers certainly have question marks on their squad, starting with can LeBron James and Anthony Davis stay healthy for an entire year. They looked disjointed early against the Nuggets, but made it a game in the fourth quarter, cutting a once-18-point deficit down to 3 in the final frame. But I still don’t see them on the outside looking in come spring.
The Grizzlies and Kings seem primed for some regression this year and the Timberwolves seem like a team that could be sellers at the deadline. While the Spurs, Mavericks, and Pelicans are likely on the upswing, and the Nuggets and Suns should remain among the class of the West, the Lakers have too much talent to miss the playoffs unless they suffer a series of catastrophic injuries.
The Lakers currently have the fifth-best odds overall (+1300) and third-best in the West to win the title ahead of teams like the Warriors, Clippers, and Mavs. Meanwhile, their odds of missing the playoffs are around +300. That means Vegas expects them to be there and expects this bettor to be out $50K when the season ends.
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Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.