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Warriors, not Raptors, open as 2019-20 favorites

Golden State came up short in the NBA Finals and saw superstar Kevin Durant suffer a serious injury, leaving a question mark on what’s next for the Warriors’ dynasty.

Yet, for now, the Warriors — not the champion Toronto Raptors — are the favorites to win next year’s title.

Golden State, at +280, sits atop the odds to win the 2019-2020 NBA title at Caesars Sportsbook. The Los Angeles Lakers are next at +500, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks (+600) and Los Angeles Clippers (+600).

The Raptors, who topped the Warriors on Thursday in Game 6 to win the championship, are +1,000 to win next year’s title.

A lot is expected to change this summer, though, with a handful of marquee stars, in addition to Durant, potentially on the move, including Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis.

Durant suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the Finals. He underwent surgery Wednesday in New York City and is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season. Durant holds a player option for next season.

After Durant’s injury, Caesars Sportsbook moved Golden State’s odds for next year’s title from +220 to +280.

“That price is them keeping Klay [Thompson] with KD possibly coming back for a postseason run,” Caesars senior oddsmaker Alan Berg told ESPN.

The Raptors head into the offseason hoping the franchise’s first championship will be enough to convince Leonard, a free agent, to stay in Toronto. Four teams, however, have better odds to win next year’s title at Caesars Sportsbook.

Berg said he had already received bets “big enough to make me respect them” on the Clippers and Lakers.

“We are treating all these bets as sharp on the basis that it’s a very speculative market, with all the powerful free agents, who can turn these teams into championship contenders,” Berg added.

The Lakers, entering LeBron James‘ second season in L.A., are reportedly in the mix for Davis, the Pelicans’ superstar who has requested a trade out of New Orleans.

The Lakers already have attracted significant betting interest at multiple sportsbooks. At the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, more money has been bet on the Lakers to win next year’s title than any other team. Three of the four largest bets the SuperBook had taken on next year’s championship were on the Lakers, including a $4,000 bet placed in early June at 18-1.

Caesars Sportsbook also took a “big bet” on the Lakers for next year, according to Berg, who says the real challenge for bookmakers begins now.

“We’re playing this game where hopefully we’re on top of the information before everyone else is,” Berg said. “But that’s usually not the case.”

The Houston Rockets are +1,000, followed by the Boston Celtics, another team reportedly interested in Davis, and New York Knicks, who are each +1,200.

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