The NBA play-in tournament has become a real possibility for the Los Angeles Lakers, with oddsmakers taking notice as the team’s struggles continue even with the return of LeBron James.
For the first time this year, there’s relatively significant line movement on the Lakers’ title odds. FanDuel moved Los Angeles to +460 odds, a jump from the +350 number the rest of the market has posted.
At 36-28, the Lakers are tied with two other teams for the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, which puts them on the brink of the play-in tournament between the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds in the conference. Los Angeles, which is just 3-7 in its last 10 games, will now be without Dennis Schroeder for the next 10-14 days due to COVID-19 protocols.
James returned Friday, but it wasn’t enough in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers then lost to the tanking Toronto Raptors at home Sunday. They return to action Monday when they host the Denver Nuggets.
Los Angeles has eight games remaining on its schedule, including one against the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trailblazers, who are one of the teams tied with the Lakers in the standings.
The Lakers have been around +300 to win the title for most of the season, including a low around +260 in January. DraftKings, PointsBet and BetMGM each have Los Angeles at +350 to capture the championship.
Although the new number at FanDuel is the highest the Lakers have had all year, they’re still the second favorite across the board. The Brooklyn Nets are the consensus favorite, with odds ranging from +200 at PointsBet to +240 at DraftKings.