NBA Betting News

New NBA Playoff Format Not Impacting Lakers Title Hopes

Peter Dewey
May 3, 2021, 11:58 AM EDT
LeBron James shot.
LeBron James shot. | Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is not a fan of the NBA’s Play-In Tournament, but the Lakers still appear to be well-positioned to defend their title this postseason.

Lakers NBA Title Odds

WynnBET has the Lakers at +275 (bet $100 to win $275) to win the NBA title this season. Only the Brooklyn Nets (+175) have better odds than the Lakers to win the championship this season. 

Los Angeles fell to the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference following a 121-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night. 

Sitting at just 36-28 with eight games to play, the Lakers are currently in the field of the final four teams that would participate in the play-in tournament for the final two seeds in the Western Conference. Despite all of that, they still are the favorite in the Western Conference.

James suffered a sprained ankle on March 20 against the Atlanta Hawks and missed 20 games. Los Angeles struggled mightily, as James and Anthony Davis were both out of the lineup for a significant amount of time. 

Davis returned from his calf injury on April 22, but the Lakers still went 8-12 without James in the lineup. Davis has also struggled mightly since returning from his Ahillies injury.

The Lakers’ fall in the standings is certainly concerning, but is it enough to bet against James and Davis come playoff time? LeBron has led his team to the NBA Finals in nine of the past 10 seasons. 

The Lakers fall in the standings occurred when he was out of the lineup, so even if they have to play an extra game in the tournament, they still should be a part of the final eight seeds when the playoffs begin. 

Los Angeles also has eight more games to make up some ground, but it is going to have to play the West’s top teams at some point to make the Finals. With the current playoff standings, those matchups just may come sooner rather than later for the Lakers.