Some bettors in Las Vegas put big money on Golden State to win next year's NBA championship in the days leading up to Kevin Durant's July 4 announcement that he was leaving Oklahoma City to join the Warriors.
On July 3, the Westgate SuperBook took a $20,000 bet on the Warriors at 3-2 to win the 2017 title. Westgate bookmakers treated the bet as an educated-guess wager and adjusted Golden State's odds accordingly.
MGM's sportsbook also reported notable action on the Warriors in the days leading up to Durant's decision, including a "half-dozen" four-figure bets on Golden State at 3-1, MGM assistant manager Jeff Stoneback said. The flurry of action at the MGM subsided on the Fourth of July after Durant was officially a Warrior. But by the time it was over, three times more money had been bet on Golden State than any other team.
"We got popped on the Warriors right before he announced," Stoneback said. "Most of the bets came Saturday and Sunday, and then we got some more on the Fourth."
A week after Durant's decision, the odds to win the 2017 championship have stabilized, with the Warriors sitting as the odds-on favorite at around 2-3 at most shops. The defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers are next at 5-2, followed by the San Antonio Spurs at 8-1.
Without Durant, Oklahoma City is now 30-1 at the SuperBook and 20-1 at the MGM.
"We had quite a few tickets on the Thunder at 5-1," Stoneback said. "Those poor people now can be getting 20-1."
The SuperBook is offering the Warriors at -150 or the field at +130 and opened a season-win total on Golden State at 68.5. The bulk of the early action is on the field, according to SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman, and the win total has been bet down to 67.5.
The South Point sportsbook is offering a prop bet on the Warriors and Cavaliers versus the field. Golden State and Cleveland are -220 favorites over the field.
William Hill's Nevada sportsbook has a prop on who will have the higher regular-season scoring average: Durant or two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry. Durant opened as a -175 favorite.