Signing the best player in the NBA during free agency certainly has an impact on a team's season outlook and betting odds. With LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason, the Lakers have gone from a team sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference to one with legitimate promise of making a deep postseason run.
Los Angeles is going off at +1000 on the odds to win the NBA championship this season at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Only the Golden State Warriors (-195 to win the championship), Boston Celtics (+500) and Houston Rockets (+850) are going off at shorter odds than the Lakers. The Lakers are also paying +650 on the odds to win the Western Conference behind Golden State at -245 and Houston at +550.
With LeBron James in town, the Lakers are a -350 favorite on the odds to make the playoffs, with the betting line on the team not making the postseason going off at +275. The season win total is set at 48.5, with the UNDER 48.5 as a slight favorite at -125 to the OVER 48.5 at -105. In 14 82-game seasons over the course of his career, James has led his team to 50 or more wins 11 times, doing so with a weaker supporting cast in some of his Cleveland years.
It should come as no surprise that James is going off as a favorite on the NBA MVP odds at +333. James is a four-time NBA MVP, but his last win of the award came back in 2012/13. Voter fatigue may have played some role in James' recent MVP drought, but a new team and the chance to take Los Angeles back to the playoffs for the first time since 2013 could thrust LeBron back into the MVP spotlight and make this a solid wager for the season.
James also isn't far down the board to finish as the league's top scorer. Anthony Davis and James Harden are the co-favorites in this category each going off at +300, but James sits right behind them at +650 to win the scoring title. Despite his many career accolades, James has only won the NBA scoring title once, doing so back in 2007/08 with Cleveland.