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Betting bullets – Struggling Lakers still NBA title favorites at some sportsbooks

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Oddsmakers are barely budging with the unexpected variable that the Los Angeles Lakers are likely headed toward the play-in tournament. The defending champs will probably be forced to win one or two additional games, just to qualify for the Western Conference’s seventh or eighth playoff seed. However, the Lakers are still the championship betting favorite or second-favorite at most sportsbooks.

Past wagers, not recent performances or the standings, are the major reason for the lack of odds movement. The house has been inundated all season on the Lakers, who rank first or second at nearly all books in terms of money and ticket count for championship and Western Conference futures.

“It comes down to major liability and the fact that LeBron James and Anthony Davis will have fresh legs for a playoff push, if the stars align,” William Hill U.S. director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN. Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill currently lists the Lakers at +400, behind only the Brooklyn Nets (+200).

DraftKings has the exact same odds for those two teams. The Lakers account for 36% of the overall ticket count in the championship pool and 50% of the Western Conference ticket count, ranking tops in both.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has bumped the Lakers, who have lost eight of their last 10 games. The Lakers (+600) are the third favorite behind the Nets (+200) and LA Clippers (+500).

“The extra pricing is factored in, if they have to go through the play-in round. And I don’t think LeBron James is 100% until next season, so he would be playing restrictively,” SuperBook head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told ESPN.

Oddsmakers can protect themselves with reduced odds because of the one-way betting market. However, Circa Sportsbook offers a two-way proposition on all teams. The Lakers are +625 to win the title and the “no” is offered at -1,050.

The Lakers opened as -10,000 favorites to make the playoffs at the SuperBook, while “no” was a 20-1 long shot. No bets were placed on either side. The play-in is not considered part of the playoffs.


Derby drama

• Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failed a post-race drug test that has put the horse’s victory in jeopardy. If the positive test is confirmed, Medina Spirit will be disqualified and second-place finisher Mandaloun will be declared the winner.

However, even if Medina Spirit is disqualified, bettors who backed Mandaloun to win in the pari-mutuel pool will not be refunded or paid, despite potentially having the eventual winning horse.

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission regulations state that: “Payments of valid pari-mutuel tickets shall be made on the basis of the order of finish as declared ‘official’ by the stewards or judges. A subsequent change in the order of finish or award of purse money that may result from a subsequent ruling by the stewards, judgers, or commission shall not affect the pari-mutuel payout.”

Approximately $155.4 million was bet on the Kentucky Derby pari-mutuel pool. As estimated $11-12 million was bet on Medina Spirit, based on his odds to win (12-1). An estimated $3-4 million was staked on Mandaloun, who went off at 26-1.

Super Bowl wagering

• More bets — and more money — have been placed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl than any other team at William Hill sportsbooks.

Top five by bets:

1. Buccaneers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Cleveland Browns
4. Kansas City Chiefs
5. Green Bay Packers

Top five by money wagered:

1. Buccaneers
2. Chiefs
3. 49ers
4. Browns
5. Los Angeles Rams

NBA notes

Cash grab? Only some sportsbooks are still posting odds on NBA regular season awards. Denver’s Nikola Jokic is a -1,400 MVP favorite at BetMGM and William Hill U.S. That money line translates to 93.3% probability. The Nuggets center is widely expected to capture the award; he is averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists, while playing in every single game.

Joel Embiid (8-1), Stephen Curry (20-1), Giannis Antetokounmpo (20-1), Luka Doncic (50-1), Damian Lillard (50-1) and Chris Paul (60-1) are next in line at BetMGM. All voting closes at the end of the regular season and before the play-in games.

Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball (-550) is the Rookie of the Year betting favorite at BetMGM, with Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards (+260) behind him. Utah’s Rudy Gobert (-650) is a considerable favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. Ben Simmons (+350) is the only other player with less than 50-1 odds.

Utah’s Jordan Clarkson (-1,000) is the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year and ahead of teammate Joe Ingles (+600). New York’s Julius Randle (-2,000) is favored to win the Most Improved Player, with Detroit’s Jerami Grant (+600) and Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. (20-1) within striking distance.

Cause for alarm (clocks): The Boston Celtics cannot seem to figure out the early games, losing again Sunday to the Miami Heat after trailing by as many as 26 points and allowing a season-high 79 points in the first half.

“When we’re not completely engaged for whatever reason, we’re just not good,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

Boston has now played seven games this season that tip at 3:30 p.m. ET or earlier. The Celtics have won the first quarter in just one of them and trailed by at least eight points after the first frame in five of them, including Sunday to Miami.

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Top NBA draft prospect Jalen Suggs signs multiyear deal with Adidas

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Jalen Suggs has landed a multiyear footwear and apparel deal with Adidas ahead of his anticipated selection early in the 2021 NBA draft on Thursday.

“I’m so excited to be with the brand,” the former Gonzaga star said. “I grew up inspired by D-Rose and Dame [Lillard] and want to follow in the steps of the young Adidas family coming up now like Trae [Young] and Don [Mitchell].”

After a breakout freshman season leading the Nike-sponsored Bulldogs to the national championship game of the NCAA tournament, Suggs became one of the most sought-after players entering shoe deal talks this spring.

The deal was negotiated by Wasserman, with Suggs and the agency holding a series of seven presentations — most in person, some virtual — in Los Angeles to begin the process. Adidas ultimately emerged as Suggs’ choice.

Along with outlining product plans for Green in both basketball and lifestyle footwear categories, the brand committed to funding a court refurbishment in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and mapped out a pathway to a potential signature shoe down the road.

Adidas currently makes signature footwear for James Harden, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young, with each product being released during the player’s second or third season with the company.

In addition to Suggs, Adidas has finalized endorsement deals with three other players expected to be selected near the top of the draft, signing explosive wing Jalen Green, versatile big man Evan Mobley and scoring guard Sharife Cooper.

“Each individual brings something unique to our team,” Eric Wise, global GM of basketball at Adidas, said in a statement. “From their talent and work ethic on the court, to a community-first mindset, values and openness to collaboration, we cannot wait to see where this week takes them.”

Behind the scenes, the brand recently merged its Originals and Basketball departments to work more closely together, as the culture of the sport has continued to blur the lines between performance and lifestyle in recent years.

Another factor in swaying players to land with the brand has been the recent appointment of designer Jerry Lorenzo, founder of high-fashion brand Fear of God, to help lead the creative and business strategy of Adidas Basketball. Lorenzo has launched coveted crossover basketball sneakers with Nike in the past, while also carving out his own sought-after footwear category at Fear of God, before signing a long-term partnership with Adidas in late 2020.

With new designers at the helm and a new hybrid marketing approach, along with existing signature athletes he has long looked up to, Suggs is looking ahead to a future with Adidas as he begins his NBA career.

“We will create culture together,” Suggs said. “And if you give me some time, I will pursue greatness like them.”

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Nets announce Mike D’Antoni’s departure from coach Steve Nash’s staff

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NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni is leaving the Brooklyn Nets, forcing Steve Nash to make another change on his coaching staff.

Nash announced the 70-year-old D’Antoni’s decision in a statement Wednesday, saying having the two-time Coach of the Year was “invaluable” in his first season as a coach.

“I will be forever grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together,” Nash said in the statement. “Our players and staff all benefited from this time in Broolyn and we wish Mike, Laurel and their family the very best in what lies ahead.”

D’Antoni won the 2005 Coach of the Year award in Phoenix when Nash was his point guard, then another in Houston in 2017. He has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s best offensive coaches and helped the Nets reach the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Milwaukee in seven games.

The Nets already lost one assistant this offseason when Ime Udoka left to become Boston Celtics coach. David Vanterpool was hired to replace him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Mike D’Antoni announces departure from Nets coach Steve Nash’s staff

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NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni is leaving the Brooklyn Nets, forcing Steve Nash to make another change on his coaching staff.

Nash announced the 70-year-old D’Antoni’s decision in a statement Wednesday, saying having the two-time Coach of the Year was “invaluable” in his first season as a coach.

“I will be forever grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together,” Nash said in the statement. “Our players and staff all benefited from this time in Broolyn and we wish Mike, Laurel and their family the very best in what lies ahead.”

D’Antoni won the 2005 Coach of the Year award in Phoenix when Nash was his point guard, then another in Houston in 2017. He has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s best offensive coaches and helped the Nets reach the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Milwaukee in seven games.

The Nets already lost one assistant this offseason when Ime Udoka left to become Boston Celtics coach. David Vanterpool was hired to replace him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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