Kobe Still Hurting
When the final buzzer went off on the 2009-2010 NBA regular season, the sports betting public immediately sharpened the pencils to focus on handicapping the opening round playoff matchups and take their shots at the sportsbooks.
The betting action hit as soon as the lines were posted.
The Los Angeles Lakers are defending champions but going into the postseason there could be problems as both star guard Kobe Bryant and center Andrew Bynum are banged up and might be less than 100 percent as the playoffs begin.
The Lakers are -180 to repeat as Western Conference champs and +175 to repeat as NBA champions. The betting action has been strong on them to win the West again, with 51% of all the betting volume on that prop tilted to Los Angeles.
Kobe has been suffering from a fractured right index finger since December, according to reports, and has played through the injury.
In a game against the Portland Trail Blazers last Sunday, Bryant went 8 for 23 from the field and finished the game with 20-points.
The Lakers lost 91-88 to the Trail Blazers and failed to cover as 3-point favorites.
After the game, according to the L.A. Times, Bryant texted head coach Phil Jackson telling him that he wanted to sit out the last two games of the regular season because of the injury.
Jackson accommodated his star guard and said he wasn’t worried.
“There should be two or three days between our end game and start of the playoffs,” the Zen Master told the Times.
“I think he'll find a rhythm. A lot of it is Kobe's choice of shots. He's taken some tougher-than-natural chances and I think that's contributing to his poor eyes.”
Bryant’s rest will allow him to be fresh for the start of the Lakers’ opening-round playoff series vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder and Bynum should be returning from an Achilles’ tendon injury around the same time.
Ever since defecting to Oklahoma from Seattle, the former SuperSonics have been fodder for the Lakers.
Dating back to Feb. of 2009, the Lakers are 6-1 straight up vs. the Thunder with 2 Overs and 5 Unders in that time as well.
The Thunder are +1500 to take the Western Conference and +4000 to take home the NBA title.
One of the reasons for the impressive turnaround in Oklahoma is the emergence of third-year small forward Kevin Durant.
Maybe hoping to sow the seeds of doubt in the Thunder’s young star, Phil Jackson hinted that Durant gets a lot of calls from the referees.
“Yeah, by the calls he gets, he really gets to the line a lot, I'll tell ya,” Jackson is quoted as saying in the L.A. Times.
“There's a couple plays in the last game where I was pretty curious how he got there.”
NBA Playoff Odds:
LA is -750 to win the series. The betting action on the series price hasn’t been that heavy, likely as a result of the steep juice on the favorite…but according to online sportsbook SPORTSBETTING.com, there has been almost no activity coming in on the underdog Thunder.
Brian Taylor, sportsbook manager at SPORTSBETTING.com said, “while we expect to see a lot of attention on this series for the individual games, we didn’t think we’d take much action on the overall series, as the Lakers are such big favorites. We have only had a handful of players take a shot at playing the underdog in this one.”
Good luck with your picks.
Posted: 4/16/10 10:15AM ET