If you came into this season excited to bet on the Los Angeles Lakers, with new star Russell Westbrook to go with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, you're in a big hole already.
The Lakers have been the worst team in the NBA this season — in terms of their record for bettors. The Lakers are 2-6. No other team has six ATS losses, according to the Action Network's standings. No team has fewer than two ATS wins. The Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons are tied with the second-worst ATS record at 2-5.
On Wednesday the Lakers were 10-point favorites over the Houston Rockets at BetMGM. The Rockets were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season and came into the game at the Lakers with a 1-5 straight-up record. The Lakers struggled most of the game and had to rally from a fourth-quarter deficit to pull out a 119-117 win. That lifted their straight-up record to 5-3.
In many ways, the Lakers' bad start for bettors wasn't unexpected. It's just a matter of when or if it'll turn around.
Lakers off to slow start
The Lakers built their roster like they were playing fantasy basketball. Westbrook and James are both amazing talents. They also are both much better with the ball in their hands. It was a weird fit from the beginning, and Westbrook has talked about the challenge in adjusting to it.
But because the Lakers had all those big names, and they're almost always overvalued in the betting market, there were opportunities to bet against them to start the season. They were 3-point favorites opening night against the Golden State Warriors and lost straight up. They were 1-point underdogs without James at the Phoenix Suns and lost by 10. They lost straight up as 6-point favorites at the Oklahoma City Thunder. They played back-to-back games against the Rockets, were double-digit favorites in both, and failed to cover either time.
And despite the struggles against the spread, the Lakers are still going to be overvalued. They're +550 to win the NBA championship, the second-best odds on the board. Nothing they've done on the court justifies that. But the Lakers have star power, they're a public team and expectations will follow them.
Bettors just need to figure out if the market is right and the Lakers will get it together, or if it's wise to keep betting against the NBA's worst team against the spread.
Lakers still adjusting
The Lakers are an old team. Maybe that's good, maybe it's not.
The Lakers understand that nobody is going to remember what they do in the regular season. It's a team that can take its time figuring out its new pieces and peak when the postseason starts. That's a good reason why there's a big discrepancy between what we've seen from them on the court and their championship odds.
But maybe it won't be that easy. There were a lot of questions over whether these pieces would all fit, and so far it doesn't look like they do. The fact that it's an old team also means there's more concern about injury or nights off.
At very least, it seems like betting against the Lakers during the regular season will be profitable. Through the first part of the season, it's the most profitable bet in the league.