In the first quarter of Tuesday’s night’s 112-108 loss to the Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant was injured during a loose ball situation in which Wizards center Marcin Gortat fouled Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who then fell backward into Durant’s left leg. Durant limped away from the incident, and many fans immediately feared the worst.
On Wednesday, the Warriors announced that Durant will miss at least four weeks after suffering a sprained MCL and bone bruise on his left leg. Durant will be re-evaluated at that time, but it’s entirely possible that Durant will miss the remainder of the regular season. This isn’t great news for the Warriors, but it could have been a lot worse.
The Warriors (50-10 SU, 28-30 ATS) currently lead the San Antonio Spurs (45-13 SU, 33-24 ATS) by four games for the top spot in the Western Conference, but this injury obviously closes the gap between the two teams. Durant is averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists, and was listed with the fifth-best odds (+1400) of winning the NBA MVP Award. The Warriors front office has already reacted to the injury by signing free agent forward Matt Barnes, but that hardly alleviates their concerns.
Throughout the season, Bookmaker.eu has offered a Golden State versus the field prop bet. Earlier this week, the Warriors were -220 to win the championship, with the field listed at +185. Although Golden State remains the odds-on favorite, their odds to win have dropped from -220 to -175. At the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, their odds dipped from -220 to -200.
“They’re saying Durant could be back before the end of the regular season, but you can’t always believe information disseminated at the team level,” according to Scott Cooley, a spokesman from Bookmaker.eu. “We have no reason to believe that his injury is more serious that what we’ve heard, but we have to protect ourselves against that possibility. You also have to factor in the team cohesiveness when he returns. And of course, there is always the possibility of re-injuring the same knee during the playoffs.”
The table below displays how the NBA championship futures have moved at Bookmaker over the past week.
|Team||March 1||February 24|
|Golden State Warriors||-175||-220|
|San Antonio Spurs||800||1100|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2750||4000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||15000||20000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||15000||15000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||75000||75000|
|New York Knicks||100000||100000|
Perhaps the most obvious beneficiaries from Durant’s injury are the Cleveland Cavaliers, who saw their odds of winning the title improve from +360 to +250 at Bookmaker. That means their implied probability moved from 21.74% to 28.57%. Three rivals from the Western Conference also saw their odds of winning the title improve, including the Spurs (+1100 to +800), Clippers (+4000 to +2750) and Rockets (+4000 to +3000).
At the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, the Warriors odds of winning the Western Conference dropped from -500 to -400. The Rockets (+1200 to +1000), Clippers (+1500 to +1200) and Jazz (+4000 to +3000) all saw their odds improve, while the Spurs odds remain unchanged at +400.
It’s also worth noting that sportsbooks will likely benefit from this news, as bettors hammered the over on the Warriors win total (67.5) before the season. “Absolutely rooting for the under as most of the public pounded the over,” stated Cooley. “We did see some sharp money on the under, but it didn’t offset what we have on the over.” The Warriors would need to go 18-4 over their final 22 games in order for over bettors to cash, and that will be incredibly difficult given Durant’s status.
With Kevin Durant sidelined, Stephen Curry’s value to the spread also increases significantly. Last season Curry was worth roughly 3-4 points to the spread, but that valuation dropped to 2-3 points when the team acquired Durant. Curry has been logging fewer minutes this season, but that could change with Durant out. It’s safe to say that Curry is back to the 3-4 point range now.
Bettors can track the latest odds, public betting trends, injuries and even futures by visiting our free NBA odds page.
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