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Las Vegas oddsmakers like defending-champ Lakers' chances

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Forget the prognosticators, including myself. If there's anyone to listen to regarding the Lakers' chances of successfully defending their NBA championship, Las Vegas has the answers. After all, that's where the money talks. Fortunately, the "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" mantra didn't apply to my interview with two bookies, who were willing to share their insights.

On the Lakers' chances:

John Murray, Racing Sportsbook supervisor at Las Vegas Hilton: Ideally for us it would be Cleveland-Los Angeles. Our odds certainly indicate that we expect that to be the Finals. Of course, we expected that last year [and] it didn't come true. The betting would be pretty big with Kobe and LeBron. That would be our best-case scenario. There's going to be a lot of support for those two teams if they get there. I would imagine that given our proximity to Los Angeles that we would have more action on the Lakers, but we'd certainly get a lot of people betting on Cleveland and supporting LeBron James as well. I'd be very surprised personally if the Lakers didn't win the West. I think they've been laying low and waiting for the playoffs. This is their time of year. But, of course, I was expecting the Cavs to win the East last year.

Jay Rood, Race and Sports Book director at MGM Mirage: The Lakers stand at 3 to 2 to win the title. The favorite right now is the Cavaliers. We have them at 5 to 7. The roles are almost exactly reversed as it was last year. Last year, the Lakers were pretty strongly favored to win at this point. The Cavs were a smaller favorite. There's some injury concerns and for some reason the way the Lakers finished off the season. It's not Laker-esque. I think it gave some pause to some gamblers on that. Just in the last few weeks, some of the wagering had backed off regarding the Lakers. Prior to the season, they got strong action.

On fan sentiment toward the Lakers last season compared to this season.

Murray: I think it's pretty much the same, really. We have the same amount of Laker action. I know there's people saying they won it all last year so they're not as hungry this year. But it's pretty much the same every year. We always have a lot of people supporting the Lakers and people coming in from L.A. to watch the games and bet on the games. I don't really see a big difference from last year.

Rood: The general sense both times has been they're going to get to the Finals. Against who at this point is tough to say. But I think they'll definitely end up there. Everybody wants to see the Kobe-LeBron matchup. I think that's more than likely. If things fall the way they're supposed to fall and play out the way they're supposed to play out, that's how things will probably shape up. That would be fantastic from my standpoint. That would be very glamorous and fun series to book. You can put a lot of props. You can put a lot of Kobe-vs.-LeBron props and the whole Shaq thing coming into play.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Vegas oddsmakers think it'll come down to the Lakers and the Cavaliers in the 2010 NBA Finals: Credit: Brian Jones / Associated Press.

 
Comments () | Archives (7)

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Hmm, I wonder who Tim Donaghy is picking? I'll pick the other team, thanks.

Oh fine, FCM, you just go ahead and start another thread. I will assume that is directed at me personally. {sarcasm font}

repost, then. And no, i can't be expect to proofread on this one, i have to be somewhere. Thanks for the patience anyway, love etc.

sorry and there is no disrespect intended, but i couldn't keep up with every comment since sunday's game. I did notice that the ration of intelligence and good writing as opposed to trolling went way up, but y'all probably knew that already.

RE westbrook and our defense on him- Fisher looked a bit slow on Sunday, but at least he knows his limitations. He was usually in the right place even if he couldn't stay in front of Westbrook. I say it like a broken record, but there isn't a pg in the league good enough to guard the fastest pgs one on one. Aaron Brooks can't guard aaron brooks, westbrook can't guard westbrook. The best strategy is to funnel them the direction you want them to go and have your post players rotate.

But here's my point- it's not that we played bad defense and got lucky that durant had an off night and the OKC front court (whoever they are) didn't show up. WE TOOK AWAY DURANT. WE SHUT HIM DOWN. The NBA's leading scorer was reduced to trying to draw fouls (which the officiating was happy to give him, but that's the way it goes). We didn't guard durant cause it was easy and fail to guard westbrook cause he was that good, we wanted westbrook to be the offense.

We know we can't shut everybody down, so what did we do? Like a good martial artest sorry, artist, we used their momentum against them. If they want to run westbrook around Fish's off side and into the paint for a lay up attempt on every single possession, more power to them.

Sure Kobe and Fish looked a bit out of it on defense, and we committed too many silly fouls, but when we ran a set defense, it worked. Gasol and Bynum won the inside, they didn't have foul trouble, and they dominated the boards.

Except, of course, on the fast break. OKC scored too many easy points on the fastbreak. But with apologies to Faith, fast teams don't get fastbreak points because you play bad defense, fast teams get fastbreak points when you play bad offense. A lot of OKC points came when on what i like to call our stealth turnovers, taking low percentage outside shots.

And yeah, some of that was justified. They crammed everybody into the paint and gave us the three, and we obligingly returned the favor by missing it, some of the time. But here's the clincher- We won the game.

So, re iterate, when we take away Durant, let the point guard drive on set defense, play inside out basketball and then pass out to the open shooter if they don't make a coverage mistake on our bigs, and take the highest percentage shot IN THAT PARTICULAR COVERAGE. It goes our way more often than not, and we will win.

So, that takes care of OKC. No biggie. Of course, that will work as long as we don't play a team that has more than one guard who can either drive or shoot, has a SF that can pass, and has enough post size to get more rebounds or put our bigs in foul trouble.

Well, dang.

Oh well, we still have all the stuff that Kobe and Lamar can do that they haven't showed us yet. Sefoloofa is probably the best defender Kobe will face in the west, and Odom didn't really have to work very hard for most of Sunday's game, so he should be well rested for the next series.

At least that's my take. I expect there will be some adjustments tonight, but i'm cool with that, because veteran teams with good coaching and playoff experience usually adjust better than really really young teams with no experience to speak off.

I hope.


phred - what's your odds on donaghy?

phred- Why would you do that? Didn't Donaghy win an unusual amount of his bets?

Lebron (high school champion) James and rent-a-Shaq must not win the Championship.
Kobe might have made a mistake this year by not letting his finger completely heal, I touched on this subject earlier this year when he was out for those 5 games and I thought it would be best for the Laker team as a whole to completely heal before coming back. It would have given the reserves more time to develop their skills and probably would have instilled confidence, something lacking this year for some reason.
Shaq took the time off for his thumb injury but of course Shaq always takes time off. He looks well rested and sharp.
In these playoffs, Kobe has to really trust his teammates, and that is not lip-service, he really really needs to trust his teammates, his injuries limit his effectiveness.
Last night Lebron (high school champion) James scored 40 points, it will be interesting what Kobe does tonight. The old Kobe would probably try to outdo Mr. HSC, a more mature Kobe will rely on his healthy teammates.

Kobe does not need to dominate in this series, and his injuries suggests he probably can't anyway. So here's hoping Kobe is smart enough to let Bynum and Gasol dominate in this series.

FCM- now that is a good question.

Mark G- oddly, no, that's why he was in hock to the mob in the first place.

at least, here is the article i had in mind on that;

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/11340/tim-donaghys-claims-on-trial

MM - I'm surprised you didn't nmormalize this with the inclusion of the Vegas line.

Right now the Cavs are a +140. which means bet $100 to win $140

The Lakers are a +225. This is significant because it was +170 prior to Sundays game. It appears based on the results of that game, the Lakers chances were reduced in the eyes of the Book.

Other notable is Dallas is +800. La - Cavs finals appears to be baked in.

kensey

PHRED, I Think you should bet with Donaghy, i would.


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