Steve Nash gives the Lakers a better chance to win an NBA title next season,… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)
The Lakers just got more popular in Southern California — and Las Vegas.
Getting Steve Nash can do that for a team.
The odds of the Lakers winning the 2012-13 NBA title improved in several sports books in the wake of their acquiring the two-time most valuable player from the Phoenix Suns.
RJ Bell of Pregame.com changed the Lakers’ championship odds from 12-1 pre-Nash to 8-1 with Nash agreeing to a three-year, $27-million deal. The only teams with better odds, according to Bell, are the defending champion Miami Heat (2-1), Oklahoma City Thunder (3-1) and Chicago Bulls (3-1).
The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino has also made the Lakers a better bet to win the title. The Lakers are now getting 8-1 odds as opposed to 12-1 before the Nash trade. Their odds to win the Western Conference title have improved from 11-2 to 7-2.
The Lakers have generated an uptick in betting since getting Nash.
“There’s a little bit more activity on the Lakers than we would normally see in July, but small [bets],” said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports for the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.
Not all of the oddsmakers are enamored with the Lakers’ makeover. Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports at MGM Resorts, said he did not adjust his Lakers’ title odds; they have remained fixed at 5-1.
“It’s impactful for their team,” Rood said, “but I don’t think it jumps them in front of the Heat or Oklahoma City at this point.”
Rood has the Heat as the 2-1 favorites and lists the Thunder at 7-2.
What if the Lakers are able to land disgruntled Orlando center Dwight Howard.
“If they got Howard,” Rood said, “then I would probably put it Heat, Lakers, then Thunder.”
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