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LeBron factor adds chaos to 2019 NBA title odds

Las Vegas oddsmakers have released their favorites for the 2019 NBA title, but the numbers come with a big disclaimer.

LeBron James changes everything.

How else to explain the Philadelphia 76ers at 7/2 or the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat at 20/1? The Houston Rockets are also at 7/2, despite the impending free agency of Chris Paul and Clint Capela.

Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker John Murray explained his sportsbook’s reasoning to ESPN.

“When you have LeBron in free agency, you have to be careful,” Murray said. “You’ve got Philadelphia, Miami, the Lakers and even Houston as potential destinations [outside of Cleveland]. We cut all of those teams’ odds down, and we’ll raise back up the teams he doesn’t sign with.”

Murray said there’s a good chance the Lakers will add Paul George to a young roster that went 35-47 this season, but that adding LeBron would make the Lakers true contenders in the West.

“They’d draw a lot of action and probably would have the third-best odds in the West behind Houston and Golden State if LeBron went there. Without him, they’d probably be in the 60-1 to 80-1 range.”

The Golden State Warriors, who lead the NBA Finals 1-0 against James’ Cavaliers, are installed as 5/4 favorites to win next year’s title. That’s unlikely to change, unless James were to join the Rockets and Paul and Capela stayed as well.

The Cavaliers were listed at 40-1 to win the title before he returned as a free agent in 2014. Those odds dropped to 3-1 after his decision became official.

–Field Level Media

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