Sports bettors better hope that this year’s top draft pick, Victor Wembanyama, isn’t immediately a transcendent, game-changing talent. It looks like he’ll get there eventually unless he gets injured, but if he turns the San Antonio Spurs into a playoff team, the bookies could be in trouble.
The Spurs have one of the longest odds of winning the NBA title after suffering their worst season in nearly 30 years, but thanks to “Wemby,” bettors are hoping the team has a historic comeback season.
At Caesars, the Spurs are +20,000 or 200 to 1 to win the championship, and that plus the upset at Wemby has the sportsbook betting on seven figures if the Spurs do the unthinkable. According to the Las Vegas Review Journalthe Spurs are also the biggest liability at Station Casinos.
If similar enthusiasm from bettors occurs at other sportsbooks, the liability for competitors could be even worse. San Antonio is +50,000 on FanDuel and DraftKings and +25,000 on BetMGM.
“People will be drawn to the high odds. But this year is different with the “Wembanyama effect” and all the hype surrounding it,” said Adam Pullen, assistant director of commerce at Caesars Review Journal. “Winning the title this year is a challenge. But the future is bright.”
“If the Spurs didn’t have Wembanyama, they would be at 250-500-1 and there would be no money at all,” said Westgate SuperBook NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman.
Spurs are the third biggest club at Westgate. The first is actually the Atlanta Hawks – someone bet $1,000 on them at 100:1, which would make them $100,000. The Hawks have been a decent team over the last three seasons with intriguing young talent led by Trae Young. They’re a team that hasn’t quite managed to get its act together yet, despite surprisingly making it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, losing to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. It’s no big surprise that bettors are betting a fair amount of change on them at these odds.
Victor Wembanyama is the favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award at odds of -130 to -160. Scoot Henderson is a distant second with +240 to +450. Look at this to tell me Wemby won’t win the trophy:
There are also chances that Wemby will be the league’s MVP, but you have to be VERY optimistic to believe that he will have such a fantastic season, beating the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, Anthony Edwards, and many more. Wembanyama is currently listed somewhere between +6,000 and +11,000 and wins the prize.
Photo credit: Facebook.com / Spurs