By Matt Youmans
VSiN senior editor
In the long run, Kevin Durant’s leg injury might not slow the Golden State Warriors’ roll toward the NBA Finals much at all.
But as of today, no one knows for sure. So, after Durant went down Tuesday night, bettors reacted and oddsmakers adjusted accordingly.
“This morning, it was boom, they were betting against the Warriors,” South Point sports book director Chris Andrews said.
At the Westgate, oddsmakers shifted Golden State from minus-220 to win the championship to minus-160. San Antonio’s title odds improved from 8-1 to 7-1, and Cleveland moved from 5-2 to 9-4.
The scenario at the South Point was unique because Tuesday, a short time before Durant’s injury, a bettor put $45,000 on the Warriors at minus-210 to win it all. Andrews pushed the line as high as minus-300 before eventually dropping it to minus-170. He has a Yes/No price posted on Golden State to win the title, and “No” action was showing on the field.
The NBA playoffs begin April 15. Durant is expected to miss at least four weeks with a sprained left knee ligament and bone bruise. The Warriors probably don’t need Durant back for the first round, but they will need him deeper into the postseason. The Finals begin June 1.
“You can’t rush him back,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “It sounds like it’s going to be sometime in the playoffs, not the regular season. Even when he does come back, he’s probably not going to be 100 percent healthy and ready to go.”
Durant averages 25.3 points to lead Golden State and rank 10th in the NBA.
The Warriors (50-10) are 7-point favorites at Chicago on Thursday. Sherman said Durant’s absence might mean as much as a 3-point line adjustment in some games.
“It depends on the opponent,” Andrews said. “If the Warriors play Cleveland or San Antonio or a team like that, it might be like two points. If it’s some of the big point spreads, it will hardly matter at all.”