The late Lakers owner Jerry Buss prided himself on both taking risks and knowing when to pour his chips in on the poker table.
But it’s very clear that very few gamblers in Las Vegas these days are willing to show the same faith in the Lakers.
Bovada, an online betting site, pins the Lakers at 40/1 odds to win the 2015 NBA championship, ranking far below heavy favorites in the Miami Heat (3/1), Oklahoma City Thunder (6/1), San Antonio Spurs (6/1) and Clippers (9/1). Incidentally, Bovada tabbed the Lakers with 40/1 odds to win the 2014 NBA title entering the 2013-14 season.
The reasons for such pessimism varied.
With the Lakers holding 22/1 odds to win the 2014 title immediately following the 2013 NBA Finals, pessimism dropped after Dwight Howard left for the Houston Rockets and uncertainty increased surrounding Bryant’s recovery from a torn left Achilles tendon. This year? No concerns, other than the health to Bryant and Steve Nash, who the Lakers hire as their next coach, who the Lakers draft with the seventh pick and how they fill a roster that currently only has four players under contract.
Bovada plans to change its odds should anything significant happen during the draft and/or free agency. But as their odds suggest, they are not betting on it.