The NBA season ended just a few weeks ago, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen the Los Angeles Lakers on the field. Last season, the Lakers failed to make the playoffs despite going into the season as the favorites to win the Western Conference. Disappointment is an understatement when it comes to describing the 2021-22 Lakers.
But now that the off-season is here, there is a lot of hope for many NBA fans. Despite last year’s disappointment, it seems people are back to believing in the Lakers. They’ve seen their odds change dramatically in just a few weeks and they’re one of the more popular early bets to win the 2023 NBA title.
Lakers are a popular bet
When BetMGM Released Bets For 2023 NBA Championship, the Lakers opened 22-for-1 to win it all. Those odds were outside the top-10 and behind teams like the Denver Nuggets. It seems that gamblers definitely liked the Lakers.
Currently at BetMGM, the Lakers have received more than 11% of the bets and more than 13% of the bet to win the title in 2023. Both numbers are the second highest of any team. Only the Golden State Warriors get more betting action in the beginning.
Due to the heavy action of the Lakers, their chances have changed. After opening at 22-to-1, the Lakers are now just 14-to-1 to win the NBA title. Those odds place them on a par with the Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers. All those teams made it to the playoffs and won at least one round last season.
Lakers need to figure it out
Last season, the Lakers went just 33-49. They were a bottom five team in the league when it came to capping the spread, who cover in less than 43% of their games† Not only did the Lakers fail to make the playoffs, they didn’t even qualify for the extended play-in tournament because they finished 11th in the Western Conference.
It was clear from the start of last season that there were problems with the Lakers. The team acquired Russell Westbrook offseason last season and the results were not there. Westbrook was never known for his efficiency, and playing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis certainly didn’t go the way the Lakers had hoped.
LeBron James had the second best season of his storied career from a points-per-game perspective, but it wasn’t enough to conquer everything around him. James also missed several games with injuries, having played well in just 56 games last season. Speaking of injuries, those were also a concern for Anthony Davis, who was held to just 40 games in 2021-22.
There was hope that the Lakers would take a huge step, and that might have inspired it some of the betting deals we’ve seen on them. However, Russell Westbrook exercised his player option to remain with the Lakers and Kyrie Irving exercised his option to remain in Brooklyn. While those rumors haven’t been completely eliminated, those moves certainly throw some cold water on the flames.
Whether it’s a healthier season for their stars, improved chemistry, or a franchise change, the Lakers need to figure out how to improve on last season. While excluding LeBron is a silly proposition, he is only getting older and last season we saw that this team has major flaws. It’s hard to waste a year of LeBron’s career, but the Lakers did that last season.
Lakers were also a popular bet last season
Being a popular bet is not new when it comes to the Lakers. Not only are they one of the most popular and legendary franchises in the sport, but they also have the best player of the current generation on their team. It’s no surprise that gamblers like to put their money on the Lakers and LeBron.
Coming into the start of the last regular season, Lakers were +450 to win the NBA title. Those were the second best odds in the league behind the Brooklyn Nets. The Lakers were favorites to come out of the West.
Not only were the Lakers one of the favorites, they were a popular bet. In last year’s preseason, Los Angeles received over 25% of bets. No other team received more than 9% of the bets. While the 14-to-1 odds this year are definitely more attractive, this team has failed gamblers in the past. Will this year be different?