Team LeBron might’ve won the NBA All-Star game, but LeBron James’ real team, the Los Angeles Lakers, are in real danger of missing the playoffs. And, in the wake of the Lakers not landing Anthony Davis at the trade deadline, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook reopened a proposition bet over the All-Star break on whether the Lakers will make the playoffs.
By Saturday evening, the Lakers were favored to miss the playoffs at -125 odds. To put that into perspective, the SuperBook opened LAL’s odds to make the playoffs at -450 before the season began. Once the public was overwhelmingly on the over, those odds shifted, and ended up closing with Los Angeles at a whopping -600 to make the postseason.
“With the trade deadline having passed and the length of the break over the next week due to the All-Star Game, this prop is polarizing,” Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk at The SuperBook told ESPN’s Ben Fawkes. “It’s at the forefront of interest considering the Lakers’ record at this point of the season.”
Could it be possible that LeBron’s health is what caused the move? Per the Athletic’s Joe Vardon:
The Lakers are privately a little concerned about LeBron. Is he fully healed from the groin strain that cost him a career-worst 18 games? Is he going to pick up his intensity and propel this team back into the playoffs, as he did last year in Cleveland? James, 34, is actually averaging a triple double for the Lakers since his return from injury (23.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 11.0 assists), but he’s just not moving at the same speed nor is he engaging at the point of attack. That fourth-quarter moment in a loss to the Hawks on Wednesday in which Trae Young switched onto LeBron, and instead of taking the much smaller Young off the dribble LeBron casually threw the ball to Brandon Ingram in the corner? There are several examples like this.
The Lakers currently reside in the 10th spot with a 28-29 record, and only have 25 games left to make a move. When it comes to their playoff outlook, LA is three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers (32-27), who are sitting in eighth.
Their upcoming schedule won’t do them any favors either. 24% of LA’s remaining games are against teams ranked in the top three of either conference, while 60% of their remaining games are against teams in the playoff race. Not to mention, a good number of these games are in prime time television spots complete with the pressure that comes along with it. LA’s playoff hopes might just come down to the final game of the season, against the Portland Trail Blazers. How’s that for must-see tv?
Whether it is James’ health, their upcoming schedule, or the Lakers young core collective damaged psyche, LeBron is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons. So, of course, Vegas is ready for it…