One game into this year's NBA playoffs and the Miami Heat are the new Las Vegas favorites to win the championship. Going into this weekend, the two-time defending champion Lakers were still the odds-on favorite, generally going at about 5-to-2 odds in most books.
But after upset losses suffered by the Lakers, Spurs, and Magic and close calls for the Celtics and Bulls, the Heat, who handled the 76ers aptly despite a late Philadelphia run, now have the best odds to win the Larry O'Brien trophy, according to several online sports books.
On Linesmaker.com, which advertises that the site updates its lines every few minutes, the Heat are now 5-to-2 (meaning you can win five dollars for every two you wager, if you're right), while the Lakers and Bulls are both 7-to-2 and the Celtics are 6-to-1. On the same site, the Spurs are now 8-to-1, just behind the Oklahoma Thunder going off at 7-to-1.
The site SportsBook.com, which generally reflects the same odds as most brick-and-mortar sports books in Las Vegas, has nearly identical odds up. Though that site also lists the Bulls and Lakers as the most likely matchup in the NBA finals. (Heat-Lakers is a close second.) There are also exotic bets, like one allowing bettors to wager on who will win a championship first, LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Right now, LeBron is a heavy favorite. There are also individual game prop bets, including whether LeBron's points plus rebounds will total more than 42.5 or whether Dwyane Wade will score more than 25 points.
Follow The Juice on Facebook and on Twitter: @TheJuiceBPB.