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Lakers remain favorite bet among public to win Western Conference

The Lakers are still seeing over 50 percent of the bets on DraftKings Sportsbook. We break down some splits.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers in action during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on February 24, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Many of us entered the 2020-21 NBA season thinking that it would be the Los Angeles Lakers steamrolling their way to another championship. While the repeat is very much in play, the steamrolling doesn’t seem to be happening. The Lakers are on a four-game skid, their longest losing streak since December 17-25 in 2019. The streak has the Lakers 4.5 games out of first place in the Western Conference. Despite all of this and the injury to Anthony Davis, the public is still banking on AD returning and leading the Lakers to the West crown and the NBA Finals. DraftKings Sportsbook provided some betting splits for the West winner odds. Let’s take a look.

Chances are the Lakers will get AD and Dennis Schroder back and make a run to at least the Western Conference Finals. The issue with their path is they’d likely need to go through the Los Angeles Clippers or even Utah Jazz in the second round. The Lakers will always have the upper-hand with LeBron James, but this isn’t like last season in the Orlando bubble. Travel will be involved and there may even be some fans by the time we reach the end of May. The Jazz and Clippers are also stronger teams and the Lakers seem to have lost some depth, particularly on defense.

The real question you have to ask yourself is: Can anyone beat the Lakers? I think the answer is yes. Will is happen? That’s a little tricky. Davis being 100 percent healthy will go a long way. If you think AD won’t get back to his normal All-Star self then banking on the Lakers bowing out early is the way to go. The Clippers and Jazz are both capable of winning a seven-game series. Both can play defense and have elite scorers who can step up in the postseason. If I were LeBron, I’d be trying to avoid playing the Clippers in the second round at all costs.

If we’re looking at long shots to come out of the West, there aren’t many that are appealing. The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns are behind the three teams at top. The Nuggets will get a decent amount of hype after last season’s playoff run. Unfortunately this team is missing Jerami Grant and can’t seem to stay healthy. The Suns are an interesting bet. They’re built to win in the playoffs with Chris Paul at the helm and Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Phoenix has wings to defend LeBron, Kawhi Leonard and Donovan Mitchell in the form of Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. Phoenix would be my darkhorse pick.

NBA Western Conference betting splits

Handle Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
Handle Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
1 LA Lakers +120 36% 60%
2 POR Trail Blazers +3300 6% 4%
3 GS Warriors +5000 25% 4%
4 UTA Jazz +500 10% 9%
5 DEN Nuggets +1200 5% 6%
6 LA Clippers +250 10% 9%
7 DAL Mavericks +2500 4% 3%
8 PHO Suns +1800 3% 2%
9 HOU Rockets +25000 1% 1%
10 NO Pelicans +10000 <1% 1%

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