There may be hope for the other contenders, though. The Warriors’ title odds entering last season were as high as -240 at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. This year, they are as low as -160 at FanDuel’s sportsbook in New Jersey, and their season-win total is sitting at 61.5, six games fewer than last year’s season-win total. Golden State won 58 games in the regular season last year. While the odds may indicate that the gap between the Warriors and the rest of the league has narrowed, Jeff Sherman, a sportsbook manager who oversees the NBA odds for the SuperBook, cautions that the league is far from being wide open. “If the NBA was more wide open, or at least perceived that way, [betting] handle would be greater than what we are seeing now,” Sherman told ESPN in an email. “So many teams have little to no chance of winning the title with the lack of parity. At this point, our handle on NHL outrights [odds to win the Stanley Cup] is greater than NBA outrights.”
MGM Resorts International executive Scott Butera envisions a day when teams put sports-betting parlors inside their stadiums to make it easier for fans to place wagers. “The conversion rate from sports fan to sports bettor is very high,” Butera said in an interview. “That’s your most robust customer.”
Butera, who joined Las Vegas-based MGM as president of interactive gaming in June, said he’s been talking to leagues and individual teams about deals, such as the three-year agreement MGM signed with the National Basketball Association in July to be the league’s official gambling partner. As part of that accord, the NBA shares game data with MGM and both the company and the league cross-promote each others’ brands online.
Even though Rich Paul is doing his part to slow the speculation that his new client Anthony Davis could join his biggest client LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, that’s not stopping people from putting money down on the possibility. According to the online sportsbook Bovada, the Lakers are the favorite to have Anthony Davis on their squad at the start of the 2019-20 season.
Behind the leadership of the NBA — first of the leagues to support legalization of sports betting — MLB and PGA Tour officials have joined in pushing a five-point plan to state regulators. At its core, the five-point plan calls for not only making the betting markets transparent but also requiring gambling regulators or bookmakers to notify leagues if they spot questionable activity and help identify league insiders — players, coaches and officials — who bet on their own sports at gambling sites. The leagues want regulators to share real-time, account-level betting data in hopes of identifying irregular patterns and be required to cooperate with any investigations.