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Lakers stronger favorites to repeat after early moves

The Los Angeles Lakers are favored to repeat as NBA champions, and their position only has gotten stronger after the draft and the start of free agency.

The Lakers are now the 3-1 favorites to win the title at the Westgate, down from +350.

“They have an improved team from what they had last year,” Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said.

The Lakers signed reigning sixth man of the year Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Wesley Matthews, and they traded for guard Dennis Schroder.

The Brooklyn Nets are the surprising second choice at 5-1. Sherman said the Nets are the Westgate’s largest liability in futures after taking sizable wagers on them at 14-1, 12-1 and 10-1.

A lot of the action on the Nets has come in anticipation that they will acquire another top player — possibly superstar James Harden — to play alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

“And if it’s not Harden, they could turn somewhere else,” Sherman said.

The 5-1 line reflects anticipation of another move, Sherman said. If the Nets stand pat, their odds will go back up.

The Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks are at 6-1, and the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are at 14-1.

The Golden State Warriors went from 8-1 to 100-1 after the recent season-ending injury to Klay Thompson, but the Westgate moved those odds back to 60-1 after taking some bets at 100-1, Sherman said.

The Westgate has also posted adjusted season win totals. The biggest upward move came from the Atlanta Hawks (31½ to 36½) after several veteran signings. Downward moves include the Oklahoma City Thunder (32½ to 23½) after a flurry of moves that showed they are bottoming out; the Warriors (43½ to 36½) after the Thompson injury; and the Houston Rockets (41½ to 35½) in anticipation that Harden or Russell Westbrook or both could be dealt.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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