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March 22, 2023
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Lakers heavy Finals faves, but Heat popular bet

Sportsbooks have installed the Los Angeles Lakers as considerable favorites to beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The early betting action, though, has been on the underdogs, and the odds are on the move.

The Lakers are -400 favorites at William Hill U.S. sportsbooks, with the Heat listed as +320 underdogs. Early support for Miami has caused the odds to move at some sportsbooks.

As of Monday morning, 17 of the first 18 bets on the NBA Finals were on the Heat at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas. The Lakers’ odds have gone from -450 to -360 at the SuperBook since the price was posted late Monday night after the matchup was set.

“It looks like there’s going to be a lot of Miami love,” Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk for the SuperBook, told ESPN.

Despite the early interest in the Heat, Sherman said the SuperBook is facing a low six-figure liability on the Lakers winning the title, a figure that began mounting in June 2019, when Anthony Davis was acquired and speculation of also adding Kawhi Leonard was circulating. The SuperBook took several bets on the Lakers in the $10,000-$20,000 range last summer, and the support never stopped.

“It’s been pretty persistent,” Sherman said of the support for the Lakers. “We took $20,000 [on the Lakers] at +140 in mid-September.”

While there has been plenty of interest in the Lakers throughout the season, the Heat were not a popular pick. Ten teams attracted more bets to win the title than Miami at the SuperBook, including the Golden State Warriors, who ended up among the teams that did not participate in the NBA’s restart in Orlando.

The Lakers are consensus 5-point favorites over the Heat in Game 1 of the Finals on Wednesday.

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