LeBron James is making his long-awaited return for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Chicago Bulls, and that has caused a significant shift in the betting odds in the Western Conference, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
With LeBron James returning, the odds at FanDuel Sportsbook for the Lakers winning the NBA Finals moved from +4200 to +3500, which is sixth-best odds in the Western Conference, according to Charania.
The Lakers currently sit at 37-37, good for eighth in the Western Conference standings. They are currently tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the seventh spot, and 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors for fifth and sixth in the conference.
With eight games remaining on the schedule including today's game against the Bulls. If the Lakers play well down the stretch, they could finish in the top six in the Western Conference, but the most likely outcome is the play-in tournament.
The Western Conference teams that have better odds than the Lakers to win the NBA Finals are the Phoenix Suns at +700, Denver Nuggets ad +800, Golden State Warriors at +1200, Memphis Grizzlies at +1300 and Los Angeles Clippers at +2700, according to FanDuel.
The Lakers are just ahead of the Dallas Mavericks at +4200, and the Sacramento Kings at +6500, according to FanDuel. The Kings odds are especially interesting. They are in third-place in the Western Conference, but have the eighth-best odds to win the NBA Finals out of any Western Conference teams.
The Milwaukee Bucks have the best odds to win it all at +260, with the Boston Celtics not far behind at +330, according to FanDuel. The Philadelphia 76ers at +950, and Cleveland Cavaliers at +3300 are also ahead of the Lakers.
Judging by the betting odds, some believe the Lakers can make a bit of a run in the NBA Playoffs, even if they do not go all the way.