Before Team USA stepped onto the basketball court at the Thomas & Mack Center on Friday night, Las Vegas sports books listed the Indiana Pacers anywhere from 10-1 to 18-1 to win the 2014-15 NBA championship.
Then their star player, Paul George, broke his right leg in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. And suddenly, Indiana was sent skyward.
The biggest adjustment was at the South Point sports book, where the Pacers went from 18-1 to 50-1.
At MGM Resorts, the Pacers went to 20-1 after opening at 10-1. And at Wynn Las Vegas, they went from 12-1 to 30-1.
It was a similar scene all over the valley.
“It was a major adjustment,” said John Avello, vice president of race and sports for Wynn. “Anytime you have your best player go down, it’s going to impact the odds.
“The only reason I didn’t make the Pacers 50-1 or 60-1 was I didn’t know the full extent of (George’s) injury. I wasn’t sure if he would be coming back this year or not.”
Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports at the MGM, also exercised caution.
“We were tempted to go higher, but we want to know what his prognosis is,” Rood said of George, who is recuperating at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center after undergoing surgery late Friday to repair a compound fracture in his right leg. “The good news is they have plenty of time to prepare without him. But it’s still a big blow.”
Avello said the injury had a ripple effect on other NBA Eastern Conference teams. He adjusted the Cleveland Cavaliers’ odds from 9-2 to 4-1. The Chicago Bulls, who were 7-1 Friday, went to 6-1 Saturday.
“It impacts everything, not just the Pacers,” Avello said.
Jimmy Vaccaro, the South Point’s oddsmaker and vice president for sports marketing, said because of George’s injury and Lance Stephenson’s departure in free agency, Indiana isn’t the threat it could have been, thus the major adjustment.
“We can afford to take a little more exposure on the Pacers, especially with LeBron (James) back in Cleveland,” Vaccaro said.
Rood said the MGM had a similar mindset in hiking up the price on Indiana.
“The Pacers aren’t really a public team, so we don’t have a lot of exposure on them,” he said.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.