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Bettors still bank on LeBron James, Lakers to win NBA title

Updated July 8, 2019 - 4:58 pm

The Los Angeles Clippers might be the favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship, but the Lakers continue to be the favorite team of bettors at Las Vegas sportsbooks.

The Westgate made the Clippers 3-1 favorites Saturday to win the title based on the news that they would acquire stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The book also moved the Lakers from 3-2 to 6-1 before their odds settled at 5-1.

“Since the Kawhi Leonard (news), all we’re doing is taking more Lakers money. It really hasn’t deterred anybody from betting on the Lakers,” Westgate sportsbook director John Murray said. “It seems like no matter what they do, everybody is betting on them.”

Station Casinos posted a few Clippers-Lakers props on Saturday and almost immediately took a sizable bet on the Lakers (+1½) to have more wins than the Clippers in the 2019-2020 regular season.

“We started to draw interest within five minutes of putting it up. We took a bet on the Lakers right away,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “The Lakers did improve as well. They didn’t just stand pat. From a depth perspective, they have helped themselves a little bit.”

The Lakers, led by LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, have rounded out their roster by signing DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Danny Green and Avery Bradley.

“It looks like they’re going to have a pretty good roster,” Murray said. “It’s all going to come down to whether (James and Davis) stay healthy. If those two can stay healthy, to me they’re as good as anybody in the league.”

Station Casinos also has posted a head-to-head prop on which L.A. team will advance further in the 2020 playoffs and whether Leonard or James will have a higher scoring average in the regular season.

The Clippers are a minus 130 favorite over the Lakers (+110) and James is a minus 1½-point favorite over Leonard.

U.S. win mixed bag for books

The Westgate took a five-figure loss on the Women’s World Cup when the U.S. repeated as champions with Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands.

“It was a decent-sized loss,” Murray said. “No matter what we made the price, everybody bet on Team USA.”

Station Casinos came out on top after first-half bettors lost on the U.S. in Sunday’s match, which was tied 0-0 at halftime.

“We did really well in the first half,” Esposito said. “The U.S. had scored a goal in the first 12 minutes in every game but it didn’t occur. We did well on the props and even on the futures book. When you have an overwhelming favorite like they were, you see a lot of action on other countries like France, Germany and England.”

AL and under

The American League is a minus 110 favorite over the National League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cleveland. The total is 8½.

The AL has won six consecutive All-Star Games, 18 of the last 22 (18-3-1) and 24 of the last 31 (24-6-1).

The over cashed in 2018 as the AL beat the NL 8-6 in 10 innings. But the under is on a 10-2-1 run in the midsummer classic as last year’s game was the first since 2005 to top nine runs.

SuperContest update

The Westgate SuperContest opened registration four months early this year, on March 1, and was up to 720 entries Monday.

The most notable change in the country’s most prestigious NFL handicapping contest is that entrants will be able to submit their weekly selections this season on a separate SuperContest mobile app. Contestants must be in the state of Nevada to submit their picks on the app. The entry fee for the SuperContest is $1,500 and contestants pick five weekly NFL sides against the spread.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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