The NBA season ended just a few weeks ago, but it’s been a long time since we saw the Los Angeles Lakers on the floor. Last season, the Lakers did not make it to the playoffs despite entering the season as the favorites to win the Western Conference. Disappointment is an understatement when it comes to describing the Lakers 2021-22.
However, with the offseason now here, hope is plentiful for many NBA fans. Despite last year’s disappointment, it seems that people still believe in the Lakers. They have seen their odds change dramatically in just a few weeks and is one of the most popular early bets on winning the 2023 NBA title.
The Lakers are a popular bet
When BetMGM released the betting odds for the NBA 2023, the Lakers opened 22-to-1 to win it all. These chances were outside the top-10 and behind teams like the Denver Nuggets. It seems that the gamblers definitely liked the Lakers in these odds.
At BetMGM right now, the Lakers have taken over 11% of their bets and over 13% of their bets to win the title in 2023. Both of these numbers are the second highest of any team. Only the Golden State Warriors take more bets in the beginning.
As a result of the heavy action of the Lakers, their returns have increased. Having opened with a 22-to-1, the Lakers are now just 14-to-1 to win the NBA title. These odds put them on par with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Dallas Mavericks, the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers. All of these teams made it to the playoffs and won at least one round last season.
The Lakers need to understand that
Last season, the Lakers scored just 33-49. They were in the top five of the league in terms of closing the gap, covering less than 43% of their games. Not only did the Lakers not make it to the playoffs, but they did not even qualify for the extended play-in tournament as they finished 11th in the Western Conference.
From the beginning of last season, it was obvious that there were problems with the Lakers. The team acquired Russell Westbrook last off-season and the results were not there. Westbrook was never known for his effectiveness, and playing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis certainly did not work out as the Lakers had hoped.
LeBron James had the second best season of his career in terms of points per game, but it was not enough to surpass everything around him. James also missed a lot of injury games, matching just 56 games last season. Speaking of injuries, they were also worrying for Anthony Davis, who was held in just 40 games in 2021-22.
There was hope that the Lakers were going to make a huge move and that could inspire some of the betting we’ve seen in them. However, Russell Westbrook exercised the player’s choice to stay with the Lakers and Kyrie Irving exercised his choice to remain in Brooklyn. Although these rumors have not been completely eradicated, these moves definitely throw some cold water into the flames.
Whether it’s a healthier season for their stars, improved chemistry or a franchise-changing move, the Lakers need to figure out how to improve on last season. Although the exclusion of LeBron is a silly proposition, it is just getting older and we saw last season that this team has major flaws. It’s hard to lose a year of LeBron’s career, but the Lakers did just that last season.
The Lakers were a popular bet last season as well
Being a popular bet is not new when it comes to the Lakers. Not only is it one of the most popular and renowned franchises in the sport, but they have the best player of the current generation on their team. Unsurprisingly, gamblers like to spend their money with the Lakers and LeBron.
Entering the beginning of last regular season, the Lakers were +450 to win the NBA title. These were the second best odds in the league behind the Brooklyn Nets. The Lakers were favorites to get out of the West.
The Lakers were not only one of the favorites, but also a popular bet. In last year’s preseason, Los Angeles received over 25% of the betting action. 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 disappointed players in the past. Will it be different this year?