The Los Angeles Lakers Are Now the NBA Title Favorites

A lot has happened in the past week! But does Vegas know something?

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When the futures odds for next year's NBA Finals were posted on May 4, the Warriors stood out as the prohibitive favorites. A lot has changed since then!

As you well know by now, the Toronto Raptors are the sitting NBA Champions. Kevin Durant. the jewel of the NBA's free agency period, ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 and will be out for over a year, dashing his many suitors' immediate plans. Klay Thompson tore his ACL and probably won't be back on the court until next March, which also casts his free agency into immediate doubt. No one knows what Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP, wants. The Warriors are no longer heavy favorites; that would be the Los Angeles Lakers, who traded for Anthony Davis over the weekend. 

From a parity perspective, the Lakers' ascendance in the eyes of Vegas makes sense. The Western Conference's dynasty, the Warriors, just got dealt a number of huge setbacks, just as crucial financial decision deadlines loom. As rumors swirled that a trade for AD was nearing completion late last week, the Lakers slid down to 5-1 from 20-1. Now, with AD in the mix, Vegas is even more bullish on the Lakers, seemingly anticipating another superstar (Kemba Walker, maybe?) joining the fold in L.A.

However, the Lakers' sudden rise to title favorite is a head-snapping plot twist. Even with LeBron having a very good season, it wasn't enough to drag the Lakers into the Western Conference playoffs. Is Anthony Davis that much of a game-changer, or is the Western Conference diluted now that the Warriors won't have two of their four-star contributors? How will the Lakers' filling out of their gutted roster affect those odds?

These odds will fluctuate in the coming weeks, especially as Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving decide on their futures. If Kawhi comes back, the Raptors are sure to be favored—the fact that they're 10/1 reflects the fact that oddsmakers don't think he's staying. (For a hint on where the smart money thinks he's headed, take a gander at that L.A. Clippers futures bet—7/1). 

So much is yet to shake out. 12/1 on Philly looks worth a spin, given that they only lost to the Raptors by one shot. This offseason just got way more interesting, but not for the reasons we thought.

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