Phoenix went from a 60-1 long shot to an 8-1 contender to win the NBA title in just a week, a meteoric shift that has some sportsbooks wary of the rising Suns.
Phoenix finished off the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, rallying from a 2-1 deficit to win the series and advance to take on the Denver Nuggets in a Western Conference semifinal. The Suns have been installed as around -200 favorites over the Nuggets in their best-of-seven series, which tips off Monday in Phoenix.
"The Suns are our top liability out west and are now the second-biggest liability for us in the NBA championship outright market," Kevin Hennessy, communications director for FanDuel, told ESPN on Friday.
The Philadelphia 76ers are FanDuel's largest liability, Hennessy added.
The Suns, after losing back-to-back games to the Lakers last week, were around 5-1 underdogs to come back and win their first-round series, and their championship odds lengthened to 60-1 at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. Only a handful of NBA title bets on the Suns came in at that point, the largest being $50, a William Hill spokesman said. There were some much larger bets on the Lakers.
Ahead of Game 3, a bettor at the sportsbook at The Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, placed a $335,000 bet on the Lakers to win the series at -335 odds. The bet would've paid a net $100,000, but Phoenix ran off three straight wins over the Lakers, capitalizing on an injury to Anthony Davis and using a 47-point performance from Devin Booker in Thursday's series clincher.
"The Lakers-Suns series ended up as a pretty good result for us. With being on the East Coast, we don't necessarily take the same type of Laker money that Vegas does, but they are still a pretty heavily bet team," said Tom Gable, sportsbook director at The Borgata. "They have fans across the country. I believe there was only one game in the series that we ended up needing the Lakers to cover.
"As for the Suns, they are our biggest liability remaining to win the Western Conference," Gable added. "We have a small amount of liability on them to win the NBA championship at the moment. The Jazz and the Hawks are our two biggest liabilities to win the title."