Lakers, Suns co-faves for Summer hoops

Lakers, Suns co-faves for Summer hoops

July 04, 2017 3:12 AM


We’re all going to be seeing a lot of really tall guys up and down the Strip for the next two weeks as 24 NBA teams evaluate their stacked rosters for the annual NBA Summer League.

Most of them can’t drink or gamble because they’re under 21 but, for those of us that can, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has posted odds to win the July 17 Championship Game with the Lakers and Suns as 6-to-1 co-favorites.

The Westgate was the first book in Las Vegas to offer spreads on the NBA Summer League a decade or so ago and this is the first time they’ve posted futures to win it all. So just how did they come up with the odds?

“We basically all looked at the roster and evaluated the talent,” said SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman. “Some teams like the Lakers, Suns and Kings are using regular rotation players from the regular season while also featuring their prized rookies like Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson.”

Ball, the second overall pick in the June 22 NBA draft figures to have the most eyes on him, one of which will be Lakers team president Magic Johnson. Every team will have their executives, coaches and scouts on hand.

Ball’s eccentric father, LaVar, also figures to insert himself into the equation somehow. The big question everyone will have with Ball is whether or not his game will flourish in the NBA after one season at UCLA. Can he be the next Magic, making everyone on the court with him better?

“I look at the Lakers with a couple guys in their regular rotation from last season like Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac and then mix in quality rookies like Thomas Bryant, Josh Hart and Ball, we all (bookmaking staff) agreed they should be considered one of the favorites to win it,” Sherman said.

The Kings at 7-1 odds have a similar situation where they bring back half their regular season roster, and eight of the Summer League players are expected to be on the opening day roster. In addition to fifth overall draft pick Fox, Sacramento is also showcasing familiar college basketball stars like Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson and Frank Mason III. I’m still miffed how no one took a winner like Mason in the first round.

Those type of college stars are what always make these summer leagues so fun to attend. And each roster – most teams bring around 17 players – is loaded with them. In addition to the futures prices that are set at a very bettor-friendly theoretic hold of 28 percent, the Westgate will again be offering daily odds.

“We’ll be offering spreads on all the Summer League games,” said Sherman. “The one in Orlando started today (Saturday) and there will be four teams playing in a four-day tournament in Utah this week before the 24 teams start in Las Vegas on Friday. The thing I really like about the Summer League besides the great talent is that all the games will be televised.”

Being televised is great for business. People will bet the games just because they are on TV whether they know who is on the rosters or not.

“The Celtics and Lakers play Saturday on ESPN? I’m betting that game for sure,” is what an average hoops fan/bettor might say. And those two teams actually are playing Saturday, giving us a chance to see Ball against third overall pick Jayson Tatum, who some experts have been saying the Celtics lucked out with the Lakers taking Ball second. We’ll see, but that’s what is fun about these games.

There will be six games tipping off the Summer League on Friday: three at the Thomas & Mack and three at the adjacent Cox Pavilion. So get out and see some games and go bet them as well. To be sure you don’t miss any wagering opportunity while walking the air conditioned halls of each arena, get yourself a phone account.

Also, in this small and quaint environment, it’s a good place for the kids to grab some autographs and mingle among NBA heavyweights, past and present. You never know who might be sitting next to you watching the game. “Hey, is that Byron Scott? Look over there, that’s Jerry West!”

Yes, it’s a great place to see some legends and say thank you for the moments they gave us, and at the same time also maybe make some money by picking the right sides. Have fun and best of luck.

SuperContest liftoff

“You are looking live at the world’s most prestigious sports contest ever offered,” is something legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger may have said if he were describing the SuperBook SuperContest that began taking entries July 1.

There’s never been a sports betting contest quite like this one, which costs $1,500 to enter and requires contestants to pick five NFL games a week against-the-spread through all 17 weeks. The first contestant to sign up on Saturday was actually Musburger himself who does a daily radio show for VSiN at the South Point sportsbook.

The Westgate also started a new high-end pro football contest. “It’s called the SuperContest Gold and costs $5,000 an entry,” said Sherman. “It’s a winner-take-all tournament using the same SuperContest rules with 100 percent of the entry fees returned as the prize.”