If you want to put down $21 on LeBron James claiming his second NBA title this year, you can win $5 back for your risk. The 5-to-21 published odds would indicate that the Heat has an 80.8 percent chance of the title, but that really means they give him less than a 70 percent chance. For a player who has been ridiculed for predicting so many titles when signing with the Heat, the pressure is still on despite clearly being the best player on the best team.
The odds Vegas is giving the Final Four teams of taking the title add up to an 115.7 percent chance of one of them winning, not as much of a commission as the 164 percent cumulative chance that one team wins a Super Bowl:
|Team||Vegas Says||Vegas%||Real Odds|
|Miami Heat||5 to 21||80.8%||69.8%|
|San Antonio Spurs||9 to 2||18.2%||15.7%|
|Memphis Grizzlies||10 to 1||9.1%||7.9%|
|Indiana Pacers||12 to 1||7.7%||6.6%|
Once we back out the 15.7 percent profit built in for the gambling establishments, we see that LeBron and company have a 69.8 percent chance of taking a second title to cap a dominant season. The Spurs are a distant second with a 15.7 percent chance of taking the title – only coincidentally the same figure as the gamblers have built into the equation.
In short, you have much better odds of coming out ahead betting on the NBA champion than the Super Bowl champion. Such a large percentage of Americans have a favorite football team, that it is easy to entice them into betting on them by believing they have a greater chance than they do. Much better odds are offered to encourage people to lay a wager on a basketball game they might not otherwise watch.