The Lake Show has been playing nonstop at U.S. sportsbooks, leaving bookmakers staring at sizable liabilities on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship.
As the season tips off, more money has been bet on the Lakers to win the title than on any other team at sportsbooks around the nation. It's not even close.
Nearly 30% of the money that has been wagered on bookmaker William Hill's odds to win the title is on the Lakers -- almost three times as much as the team with the second-highest total.
At Caesars Sportsbook, the Lakers have attracted nearly 2.5 times as much money as has been wagered on the second-highest team, the LA Clippers.
Nearly one in every five NBA titles bets at MGM sportsbooks is on the Lakers.
"We've taken a lot of large wagers on the Lakers, just continuous support on them," Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk and head NBA oddsmaker for the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, told ESPN.
Five-figure bets on the Lakers have been showing up since the summer. Sherman said he took a $10,000 bet on the Lakers on June 15, shortly before news broke that superstar Anthony Davis was headed to Los Angeles to join LeBron James. William Hill also reported taking big bets ($10,000 and $9,500) on the Lakers in mid-June.
The Lakers have not made the playoffs since 2013 and finished with a losing record in each of the past six seasons.
The Clippers, with the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, are the consensus favorites, with odds around 3-1. The Lakers, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers make up the second tier of contenders with single-digit odds.
"Except for the Lakers, we're in a pretty good spot on every other team in the West," Dave Sharapan, oddsmaker for Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology, said.
The 76ers have been a popular bet at sportsbooks on the East Coast. At DraftKings, more title bets have been placed on Philadelphia than on any other team. The 76ers and Lakers account for nearly 50% of the money that has been bet on DraftKings' title odds.
There has also been support for the New York Knicks in the East. At FanDuel, the Knicks, at 250-1 odds, have attracted more bets to win the title than 16 other teams, including the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat.