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Vegas shifts odds in Clippers’ favor to win title

The LA Clippers, potentially for the first time in franchise history, are the favorites to win the NBA title.

With the acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Caesars Sportsbook on Saturday morning moved the Clippers from 10-1 to 11-4 to win the 2019-20 NBA title, just ahead of the rival Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers, who were in the running to sign Leonard, had been the consensus 2020 title favorites since acquiring Anthony Davis to play alongside LeBron James. With Leonard off the table, the Lakers dropped from 7-5 to 4-1 at the Caesars Sportsbook on Saturday morning.

The Milwaukee Bucks, at 4-1, have the best odds in the Eastern Conference, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers at 7-1.

The Golden State Warriors are 10-1, followed by the Utah Jazz at 14-1. The Houston Rockets are 15-1, and the Brooklyn Nets are 20-1.

The defending-champion Toronto Raptors, with the loss of Leonard, dropped from 10-1 to 50-1. After losing George, the Oklahoma City Thunder saw their odds drop to 100-1.

Odds varied book to book. Bookmaker William Hill U.S. kept the Lakers as the favorites at 3-1, with the Clippers at 7-2. The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas had the Clippers as 3-1 favorites and lengthened the Lakers’ odds to 6-1, behind the Bucks at 4-1.

Over the last several weeks, big bets came in on the Lakers at sportsbooks around Las Vegas. The SuperBook reported taking a $10,000 wager on the Lakers to win the title at 5-1 on June 15 and another $10,000 bet at 7-4 on July 1. William Hill U.S. reported taking a $9,500 wager on the Lakers at 5-1 on June 17 and a $10,000 bet on the Lakers on June 28.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 47 percent of the money that had been wagered on William Hill’s odds to win the 2020 NBA championship was on the Lakers. At Caesars, nearly five times as much money had been bet on the Lakers than had been wagered on any other team.

For now, though, the Clippers are the favorites at majority of sportsbooks. According to sports betting archive Sportsoddshistory.com, it’s the first time they have been title favorites since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1984.

As news of the Clippers’ moves happened, sportsbooks around Las Vegas took 2020 title odds off the board and reposted them later Saturday morning. New Jersey sportsbooks DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet each had the Clippers as the favorites after the deal.

No notable title bets on the Clippers were placed Friday at either Caesars or Westgate, sportsbook representatives told ESPN.

“Since I went to 16-1 [on the Clippers] a few days ago, we wrote four tickets, $5, $10, $20, $30,” Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk for the Westgate, said in text message Saturday morning.

Seven teams had attracted more bets than the Clippers prior to the news at William Hill U.S., including the New Orleans Pelicans.

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