NBA Odds: LeBron James, Lakers Made Underdogs for Opener vs. Blazers

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NBA Odds: LeBron James, Lakers Made Underdogs for Opener vs. Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James moves the ball up court during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Los Angeles, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

LeBron James will make his regular-season debut with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday against the Portland Trail Blazers, but oddsmakers don’t believe it will be a good night for the four-time MVP.

The Trail Blazers are playing at home and are favored against the Lakers, who finished 15-26 on the road last season. Of course, L.A. made several additions, including James, and expects to finish the year in contention in the Western Conference.

According to OddsShark, the Lakers have the fourth-best odds to win the NBA championship this year at 10-1, trailing only the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets.

With experienced veterans such as James, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee joining a team loaded with young players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this season.

Still, it sometimes takes time to jell as a team. That’s especially apparent if you compare L.A. to a Portland squad that’s already comfortable with one another.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum lead a group that earned the No. 3 seed in the West last season and has most of the same players back in 2018-19.

Bettors will have to decide whether continuity and home-court advantage will be more valuable than overall talent in the first game of the year.

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