It was early on the Fourth of July — some of us were sleeping on the West Coast — when Kevin Durant sent a wake-up call to the rest of the NBA.
Durant came up short against Golden State in the Western Conference finals, and the Warriors came up short in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, but Durant and the Warriors plan to change things next year.
“Durant wants to go where he has the best chance of winning a title,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “Obviously, he has put himself in a better position.”
By announcing his plans to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State via free agency, Durant shook up the odds board. The Westgate posted the Warriors as 2-3 favorites (minus-150) to win the 2017 championship.
Sherman said it’s the first time since the late 1990s, when Michael Jordan led the six-time champion Chicago Bulls, that there is an odds-on favorite in the NBA at this stage of the summer.
LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers are the second choice at 5-2 odds, followed by San Antonio at 7-1. The Thunder dropped from 8-1 to 30-1.
“I was hearing Sunday night it was like 50-50 between Oklahoma City and Golden State,” Sherman said. “Remember what happened with LeBron when he left Cleveland for Miami. I’m not surprised by anything these guys do anymore.
“Realistically, if the key players are healthy, you’re going to get a champion out of three teams — the Warriors, Spurs or Cavaliers.”
Prior to Durant’s announcement, at least one better had a clue. Sherman said the Westgate took a $20,000 wager Sunday on Golden State at plus-150.
The Westgate posted the Warriors’ win total for the 2016-17 season at 68½. A proposition on Golden State winning 74 or more regular-season games is priced at “No” minus-450.
Contact sports betting reporter Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. Follow on Twitter: @mattyoumans247