LeBron James is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. And if all you saw was the line movement at various sports books on his new team to win the 2018-’19 NBA title, you’d think that time-traveling prime Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were going with him.
This isn’t your father’s “Showtime” Lakers, at least not yet. But don’t tell that to the bettors who have forced some books to assign this team the second shortest odds to win next year’s championship.
Coming off a 35-47 season, the young Lakers team, with a promising core of Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball, opened at 20/1 at Westgate Las Vegas, 12/1 at Wynn Las Vegas, and 10/1 at MGM. Other teams that finished near L.A. in the standings were 100/1 or more. But on the strength of James possibly saying goodbye to Cleveland and hello to Hollywood, sports books significantly shortened the odds. They thought they were playing it safe.