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Vegas oddmakers keep Miami Heat as 2012 NBA title favorite

November 28, 2011 |  1:00 pm

Las Vegas

That sudden wave of relief Laker fans feel over a salvaged NBA season will quickly evaporate over a sobering reality.

The Purple and Gold has issues, and Las Vegas oddmakers have noticed, which is why they have given the Miami Heat better odds at winning the 2012 NBA championship. MGM Mirage's race and sports director Jay Rood considers Miami a 2-to-1 favorite to win the title, followed by the Lakers (9-to-2) and the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder (5-to-1). Meanwhile, Jay Kornegay, director of the Las Vegas Hilton Race and Sports Book, has tabbed the Heat as 2-to-1 favorites, unless the Chicago Bulls (6-to-1) get past them. That puts the Lakers (7-to-1) in a third-place tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The reasons appear fairly simple.

"They're aging and have miles on them," Kornegay said. "They don't have a true point guard. And the coaching is a question mark."

"The Lakers have potential to be this year's Philadelphia Eagles more than anybody right now," Rood said. "Two of their guys (Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher) are getting long in the tooth. Kobe has been injured more often than not. With a shorter season, you don't know if it will help or hurt them. If a significant player gets injured, it'll be more difficult to overcome in a shorter season. They also don't have the luxury of taking six weeks off and get back in the thick of things."

Keep in mind that the bookmaker's role entails predicting how the public will bet their money, rather than actually assessing whether that prediction will pan out. Kornegay and Rood both anticipate more betting activity in the upcoming month. And even though both tabbed the Heat for boasting the most talent in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Lakers at this point aren't far behind.

"We're not saying the Lakers have no shot or have a big hill to climb," Kornegay said. "That's not true at all. They're in the first tier of teams that can win it all. But they're probably at the tail-end of that tier because of the talent the other teams possess."


Las Vegas oddsmakers tab Miami Heat as favorites to win 2012 NBA title

Las Vegas oddsmaker disagrees with public sentiment that Miami Heat will beat the Lakers in the 2011 NBA Finals

— Mark Medina

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Photo: The Las Vegas skyline. Credit: Brian Jones / Associated Press