Potential Howard deal floods Vegas with Lakers money
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the hunt to acquire All-Star center Dwight Howard and the guys in Las Vegas think it’s a good bet Howard will be in a purple and gold uniform in the near future.
The Lakers opened as high as 12/1 to win the 2013 NBA championship but are now 2/1 at the MGM/Mirage. Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager for the Mirage, says that he has more tickets on the Lakers to win than the next two most-bet teams – the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets – combined.
“We opened the Lakers at 8/1 (to win the title), then moved down to 5/1 after they got (Steve) Nash,” Stoneback told Covers. “We wrote a lot of tickets on them at that price, so we moved down to 5/2 and then moved down again to 2/1.”
It was the same situation at Cantor Gaming, which runs the sportsbooks at multiple properties on and off the Las Vegas Strip.
“They’re the most bet on by far,” Cantor Gaming sportsbook director Mike Colbert told Covers. “Right now we’ve got 270 tickets on the Lakers to win and 77 on the second most-bet team.”
The Lakers are always a popular bet for Las Vegas locals because of the team’s proximity to Nevada. Still, Colbert says this much support unusually high.
Of course that has a lot to do with the Lakers' busy offseason. Los Angeles picked up two-time MVP Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade with Phoenix and it just brought in veteran forward Antawn Jamison, who averaged 17.2 points per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.
But the big elephant in the room is Dwight Howard. If the reports are accurate, the Lakers are the frontrunners to net the disgruntled Orlando Magic player.
“I’d say the Lakers chances of getting Howard are a little better than 50/50,” Colbert said. “Just doesn’t seem like there’s another team that makes sense for him to land with.”
Colbert also said that the Heat would still be the favorite to win the NBA championship even if the Lakers got Howard.