Tue, Jul 5, 11:01am by Staff Writer
Kevin’s Durant’s decision to take his considerable skills to the Bay Area and join the Golden State Warriors has shaken up NBA betting markets, with the Warriors now odds-on to reclaim the title in 2016-17.
Led by two-time MVP Steph Curry, the Warriors broke every team record in the regular season this year, winning 73 games to eclipse the legendary Chicago Bulls team of the 1990s. But they came up short when it mattered, with LeBron James leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a fairytale success after the Cavs had trailed 3-1 in the championship series.
Stung by that failure, the Warriors have re-doubled their efforts and signed the biggest free agent on offer, 2013-14 MVP Durant, from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal worth AU$70 million over two years.
The Warriors already have 2016 All Stars Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and have now added further scoring power with a man who has earned All Star honours in seven straight seasons.
Durant averaged 28 point per match for the Thunder this season, as well as eight rebounds and five assists. He will add another dimension to a team which was already close to the best offensive outfit the NBA has ever seen.
Not surprisingly, the bookmakers have reacted by slashing the Warriors odds, with Sportsbet and William Hill both offering $1.80 about a Golden State success. They were $3 favourites before Durant announced he was heading to Oracle Arena.
With fellow superstar Russell Westbrook up for free agency next year, the Thunder’s window might now be closed. They were 3-1 up against the Warriors in the Western Conference finals and may come to see that as their missed opportunity to win a title.
With Durant now on board, there are a myriad of interesting markets with Sportsbet on what the Warriors will do in 2016-17.
The line bet for regular season games won sits at 70.5, with $1.87 on offer for them to win more and the same on offer to win fewer. They are $2.88 to break their own mark of most wins in a season and $151 is on offer for them to go through the season unbeaten.
Aussie NBA fans will be disappointed to learn that Durant’s arrival at Golden State will mean Andrew Bogut’s departure. The big Aussie centre is on his way to the Dallas Mavericks along with team-mate Harrison Barnes as the Warriors make room for Durant’s massive deal.
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