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Last year’s NBA free-agency period changed the entire complexion of the league when LeBron James decided to go back home to Cleveland, which radically altered championship odds at every Las Vegas sportsbook.

On Saturday, there was a similar occurrence when LaMarcus Aldridge announced on Twitter he would be going home to Texas to play with the Spurs.

James is worth twice as many points to the daily pointspread as Aldridge, but the big difference is Aldridge went to a team that is already stacked and was considered one of the top-five teams to win the title.

The Spurs odds to win next season’s NBA Championship dropped from 10-to-1 on Monday down to 4-1 on the news alone at the Westgate SuperBook. Only the Cavaliers have lower odds on the board at 9-4. And that’s only because Cleveland’s chances of making the Finals again are much more probable than the Spurs just because the Cavs don’t have to run the gauntlet in the Eastern Conference like West teams do.

Cleveland has an easy path to the Finals just like they did last season when they went 12-2 through the East playoffs with limited play from Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving getting lots of rest.

The Spurs odds also went from the third choice to win the Western Conference at 5-1 down to 2-1 and are now considered the favorites to survive that tough task of winning three straight series in the West. The defending NBA Champion Warriors are set as co-second choices at 5-2 along with Oklahoma City.

Aldridge was considered the No. 1 free-agent available and his inside/outside game would have been a good fit for up to seven teams that were said to be in the running for his services. So the books in Las Vegas had to be careful with future odds on several teams because Aldridge is the type of player that will have a huge impact and is worth about 3.5-points to the spread.

Aldridge could have made several teams a contender. Now he goes to a team with a purpose of trying to win another championship for Tim Duncan in what is likely his last season. Because of Duncan’s departure on the horizon, the move to get Aldridge in place and set for the future was brilliant.

The Lakers didn’t make a good impression on Aldridge and its NBA title odds soared last week from 80-1 to 200-1. The Knicks also went from 80-1 up to 200-1. The Blazers went from 50-1 (knowing he wasn’t likely to stay in Portland) and were raised to 100-1.

Aldridge definitely made the biggest splash of what has kind of been a ho-hum signing period with not much major movement as the No. 2 top free-agent Marc Gasol resigned with the Grizzlies Monday.

The biggest blow to a contending team came when the Clippers lost DeAndre Jordan to the Mavericks. The Clippers were considered as an elite team in the West, but their odds to win the NBA title doubled from 10-1 up to 20-1.

Rory McIlroy Injured

Rory McIlroy ruptured a ligament in his left ankle while playing soccer with his friends, which puts a big question mark on his chances to win the British Open that tees off July 16 at St. Andrews.

The Westgate immediately adjusted his odds from a 5-1 co-favorite with Jordan Spieth up to 8-1, just so they could drop several other golfers who now have their chances of winning enhanced. Spieth was dropped down to 9-2, Dustin Johnson from 15-1 down to 12-1 and Justin Rose from 20-1 down to 15-1.

Tiger Woods’ odds dropped from 30-1 down to 25-1, but the big drop in his odds, besides bettors jumping all over him, was because of playing well over the weekend in the Greenbrier Classic where he shot three under-par totals in a tournament for the first time this season.

Woods still finished tied for 32nd, but just might be feeling a little more comfortable heading into the Open Championship. Woods had opened 60-1 at the Westgate.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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