The Los Angeles Laker’s 2-10 start to the season matches the worst-ever start in franchise history, matching the first 12-games of the 1957/58 and 2015/16 seasons. And the fall to this level has been dramatic. Since winning the NBA Championship in 2020, the team is 77-89 (.463); worse, they’re a collective 35-59 (.372) since their last playoff season.
However, for all the doom and gloom in the sports press, the season has only just begun. Kneejerk reactions are inevitable, but when they come from some of the top basketball bookies, there may be wagering opportunities to be had.
Lakers Playoff Odds
The NBA conference standings show that the Lakers are well out of playoff contention, tied with the Houston Rockets for the worst record in the league. Bookmakers have Los Angeles +195 to make the playoffs; however, despite the poor start, the team is just 4-games out of the play-in position. Two or three wins this week could have them a game or two out of contention with 75% of the season left to play.
NBA Championship Odds
The idea of the Lakers repeating the heroics of 2019/20 seems remote. But history has shown time and again that if a team makes the postseason, anything is possible (see the longshot 1999 NFL St. Louis Rams). Yet incredibly, some sportsbooks have the Lakers as long as +10,000 to win the NBA final in 2023. That’s a $1,000 payout on a $10 bet.
Improbable? Absolutely. Impossible? By no means. The Lakers are currently at the same odds to win the NBA Final as the Cleveland Browns are to win the Super Bowl. Which team would you bet on if you had $10 to wager?
Darvin Ham Still Finding His Feet
Before the season got underway, Darvin Ham was one of the top three or four names being mentioned for Coach of the Year. A dozen games in, and only four NBA coaches, Mike Brown (Kings), Dwane Casey (Pistons), Jamahl Mosley (Magic), and Stephen Silas (Rockets), are at longer odds to win it all.
Ham has been on the job for less than six months, inheriting a team with few holdovers and a core of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook that lacked any type of chemistry last season. He’s also had to deal with injuries to veterans Dennis Schroeder and Thomas Bryant who are both set to return this weekend.
Ham himself is +8000 to win coach of the year, and will probably be in the running if he can turn the Lakers into a playoff team before the end of the season. Like the Lakers, he might be worth a small wager as well.