Sportsbooks have significantly reduced the odds on the Brooklyn Nets winning the championship after acquiring James Harden, and gamblers around the nation have responded by opening their wallets – taking their chances on Sean Marks’ vision.
Brooklyn is now the consensus No. 2 favorite to win the NBA championship despite the flawed roster that Marks is handing over to Steve Nash. To use DraftKings Sportsbook as an example, the Nets are +300, behind only the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers at +250. The Boston Celtics, despite their East-leading record of 7-3, are +1800.
“Over the last 24 hours, 70% of bets in the NBA Championship market have come in on the Nets and the other team garnering interest was the 76ers,” said John Sheeran, Director of Risk and Trading at FanDuel Group. “We have moved the odds from +270 to +300 to better accommodate customers looking to be a part of the Nets championship run in Brooklyn.”
PointsBet lowered the Nets’ odds from +600 to +300 but offered customers a chance to maintain the +600 odds for a limited time of wagers of no more than $50. Spokesman Patrick Eichner said the Nets were attracting 23% of the bet count and 34% of the handle for outright winner, and the largest wager was $2,500 at +600 odds.
The Colorado book SportsBetting.com dropped the Nets from +700 to +300.
“We’ve seen a good amount of public money come in on the Nets to win the East. The pros are grabbing more value with the Celtics and Heat as those odds were bumped after the trade,” said SportsBetting.com’s head trader, Lenny Estrin.
Because of the non-retreat of the coronavirus and the complications it is causing for the NBA, several books said they were seeing less action in the futures market because of the uncertainty of whether a season will even be completed. Saturday’s Indiana vs. Phoenix game has been postponed, bringing the total of postponed NBA games due to coronavirus to 10.
“No notable bets have been placed on any team to win the championship at this time,” said John Ewing of BetMGM – noting that 21% of tickets in that market have been placed on the Lakers, followed by the Nets (12%), the Nuggets (11%) and 76ers (10%).
Pacers a sneaky winner in the trade?
The other big odds shift following the monstrous four-team trade has been on the Indiana Pacers, who got rid of Victor Oladipo and brought in Caris LeVert.
Look at what BetMGM has done with them:
- Preseason: +10000
- Beginning of this week: +8000
- After trade: +5000
DraftKings chief oddsmaker Johnny Avello said the Nets at +300 had dried up interest after it was heavy for a couple of days while the deal was going down.
“We took quite a bit of money on both the Sixers and the Nets when there was talk that a trade was about to go down, “Avello said. “But we now have the Nets at +300, and that pretty much halts action, so we’re going to have to move them back up.”
The Pacers are sitting at +4000 to win the title, drawing flies.
“The Pacers are one of those teams that a sharp bettor would take a look at,” Avello said. “The general public does not bet the Pacers. They do not move the needle.”
FanDuel Sportsbook has kept the Pacers, who were +10000 in the preseason, at +4900 since the trade, and “there has been nothing really of note on them,” FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessy said.
Indiana won 111-87 last night at Portland in what may have been the Pacers’ best game of the season, and they have the third-best road record in the NBA at 4-1, behind only the Lakers (7-0) and the Thunder (5-1). They currently are tied with Milwaukee at 8-4 for third place in the East. They will not play again until Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Since the 2020-21 NBA season started, the Nets have drawn 14% of the total number of tickets and 7% of the total dollars wagered among all NBA championship futures placed at William Hill. That ranks second in both categories behind the Lakers, who have seized 21% of the total number of tickets and 74% of the total dollars wagered.
A Nevada bettor placed $10,000 on the Nets at +350 to win the Eastern Conference back in mid-November for a total potential payout of $45,000, which is the largest bet William Hill has taken in that market. The Nets are tops in total number of tickets for all Eastern Conference futures wagers since the opening tip-off with 29%, followed by the Hawks (50/1). For total dollars wagered over that same span, the Nets are also first in the East at 34% with the Pacers (35/1) behind them at 20%, spokesman Kyle Whatnall said.