LeBron James' Lakers, Kyrie Irving's Celtics Draw Most Bets to Win NBA Title

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, left, and LeBron James talk during NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. The Golden State Warriors host the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers have received the most futures bets in Las Vegas to win the 2019 NBA championship after signing superstar forward LeBron James in free agency.

According to David Purdum of ESPN.com, Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics are right behind the Lakers in terms of the most wagers placed, while reigning MVP James Harden and the Houston Rockets are far back in third with the 2018-19 regular season set to kick off next week.

"It's all Lakers and Celtics," MGM sportsbook director Jeff Stoneback told Purdum.

Meanwhile, the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors aren't attracting a ton of bets, mostly because of their status as the overwhelming favorite (-195, per OddsShark—bet $195 to win $100), but those wagering on the Dubs are putting down significant money.

Purdum noted the Westgate SuperBook accepted two $10,000 bets on the Warriors in June, while MGM took a six-figure wager during the offseason, giving Golden State the highest amount of total action.

Even LeBron isn't sure his Lakers are prepared to compete with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Co. atop the loaded Western Conference.

"We're picking up from scratch. So, we have a long way to go," James told reporters last month. "… Hopefully, someday, we can put ourselves in a position where we can compete for a championship, as Golden State has done for the last few years."

The Celtics should face less resistance on their potential journey to the NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference, giving them legitimate appeal in the futures market. Irving is a potential free agent at season's end but has explained his sole focus for now is chasing a title, not his contract.

"I think you guys can feel my attitude is really just redemption next year," he said in June after missing the end of the season because of knee surgery. "Really integrating myself with our team again and really focus on winning a championship. That's the only thing I'm really worried about. Until I get to that point, then I can't really answer any questions."

Ultimately, it would qualify as a surprise if the Lakers, Celtics, Rockets or any other team is able to halt the star-studded Warriors dynasty this season.

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