Tuesday’s marquee matchup between the NBA’s two Los Angeles franchises – the Lakers and the Clippers – is being postponed following the death of the legendary Kobe Bryant on Sunday.
Bryant, 41, and eight other passengers, including his daughter, Gianna, 13; perished after his Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif. yesterday.
In consultation with the NBA League office, the game scheduled between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers for Tuesday, January 28 will be postponed and scheduled for a future date,” according to a tweet posted by the Lakers earlier today.
For sportsbooks, there may be a near-term pinch because the betting public, or non-sharp money, has a way of gravitating toward games of this stature. For bettors, it’s one less game to consider on the NBA’s Tuesday schedule.
As Casino.org reported Sunday, at least two sportsbooks – Circa Sports in Las Vegas and Resorts Casino of Atlantic City, N.J. – closed their NBA markets in honor of the fallen NBA legend.
Something to Ponder
With tomorrow’s battle of the City Angels being rescheduled, the Lakers’ next game is slated for Friday at home against the Portland Trailblazers. That means the Lakers will have gone six days in between games, an uncommon amount of rest in the NBA. That prompted one sports betting industry insider to speculate the line for the Friday affair will be artificially higher in favor of the home team.
“Bettors could be looking to juice the Lakers Friday,” said Rex Beyers, senior sports trader at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, in an interview with Casino.org.
As Beyers noted, at least two Blazers – Trevor Ariza and Carmelo Anthony – have deep ties to Bryant. Ariza was Bryant’s teammate in Los Angeles for three years, reaching two consecutive NBA Finals, winning one in 2009. Anthony and the Lakers legend teamed up on the 2008 US Olympic gold medal squad, dubbed the “Redeem Team.”
How The Line Will Look
Under normal circumstances, the Lakers would be a decent-sized favorite against Portland in the Jan. 31 clash because the former is the home team and has beaten the Trailblazers twice already this season by an average of 15.5 points.
Beyers said sportsbooks typically don’t post NBA lines until 24 to 28 hours before the contests at the earliest, with many Las Vegas books posting those odds in the afternoon on game day. The NBA is the second-most wagered on professional sport in the US after the NFL.
With emotions likely to be running high at Staples Center this Friday and with plenty of bettors willing to invest in the Lakers potentially having a “win one for Kobe” mentality, Beyers sees a potentially large spread in the works for this game.
“The Portland spread will be artificially inflated,” the Caesars trader said. “The Lakers will be favored by more than they should be.”