Knicks have best preseason title odds this century

Everything that happens in sports has some additional context when viewed from a sports betting perspective. From season-changing injuries to record-setting moments and so much more, the sports news cycle will constantly and significantly affect the sports betting industry.

Our betting buzz file, with contributions from David Purdum, Doug Greenberg, Ian Parker and others, aims to provide fans with a look at the sports betting stories that are driving the conversation.

Key links: Sports betting home | NBA odds page | NHL odds page

June 28: Knicks have best preseason title odds this century

David Purdum: In the betting market’s eyes, the most impactful moment of the NBA draft occurred approximately 24 hours prior to Wednesday’s first round, when the New York Knicks traded for Mikal Bridges.

The Knicks’ odds to win the title at ESPN BET went from 16-1 to 10-1 after the trade. New York’s odds had shortened to 8-1 by Friday, the second-best odds in the Eastern Conference behind the champion Boston Celtics, and third best overall. The Denver Nuggets have the shortest odds to win the title in the Western Conference at 15-2.

Additionally, multiple sportsbooks reported an uptick in action on the Knicks to win the 2025 NBA title in the days after the Bridges trade, which was reported Tuesday around 10 p.m. ET. Betting interest on the NBA title 12 months in advance is typically minimal and driven by recreational bettors, but the Knicks attracted more action since the trade than all other teams combined at some sportsbooks.

On Thursday afternoon, DraftKings reported 76% of the money that had been bet on the NBA championship winner market since the Bridges trade was on the Knicks. Fanatics and BetMGM reported similar results.

The Knicks gave up Bojan Bogdanovic and four unprotected first-round picks to get Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets, but now have their best preseason title odds this century. According to betting odds archive, the last time the Knicks had preseason title odds shorter than 9-1 was in the fall of 2000.

June 27: Sarr opens as betting favorite for Rookie of the Year

Purdum: Zaccharie Risacher went No. 1 to the Atlanta Hawks in Wednesday’s NBA draft, but the French forward did not open as the betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year.

Sportsbooks have installed Alex Sarr as the Rookie of the Year favorite. Sarr, who was taken with the second pick by the Washington Wizards, opened at ESPN BET as the favorite at +350 on Wednesday. His odds had drifted to +400 as of Thursday morning. Risacher was next at +500, followed by Stephon Castle (+700) of the San Antonio Spurs and Matas Buzelis (+900) of the Chicago Bulls. Dalton Knecht of the Los Angeles Lakers was 10-1, as was Reed Sheppard of the Houston Rockets, followed by Zach Edey of the Memphis Grizzlies at 11-1.

Andre Snellings’ take on the odds: Sarr starts the season as the leader in the Rookie of the Year race. He is just ahead of top pick Risacher, though neither is anywhere near the odds-on favorite Victor Wembanyama was a year ago. Castle and Buzelis have the next two shortest odds as rookies with starting upside right away.

Edey and Donovan Clingan are both huge centers for teams that coveted that position, and if they get starter minutes and can adjust to the speed of the NBA, they have major defensive upside. Knecht is a gifted scorer that, if he earns starter minutes, could be relied upon heavily by the Lakers even as a rookie. Rob Dillingham was regarded as one of the best offensive players in the draft and could fill a major need for a contending Timberwolves squad.

Early pick: Stephon Castle to win Rookie of the year (+650)

At present, I see the most value in Castle for Rookie of the Year. He seems to be in the sweet spot of talent, skillset, opportunity and likelihood of notice. The Spurs will already be an exciting young team due to the excellence of Wembanyama, but they sorely missed having a lead guard last season. With his defensive excellence, Castle should be a great fit in Coach Gregg Popovich’s system. If Castle starts for the Spurs, he has the opportunity to put up strong all-around stats for an improving young team that will be televised and on “SportsCenter” often. That sounds like a recipe for a potential Rookie of the Year.

June 25: Odds have shifted in recent days on which team will draft Bronny

The odds for Bronny James to be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2024 NBA draft have moved at sportsbooks around the nation this week.

The Lakers went from even money to the odds-on favorites at -130 to take Bronny in recent days. His odds to go to the Lakers opened at +155, and they got as long as +165 before starting to shorten in the weeks leading up to the draft, which begins Wednesday.

James, son of L.A. superstar LeBron James, is expected to be a second-round pick; ESPN BET has his odds of going in the second round listed at -800. The Lakers have the No. 17 pick in the first round and the No. 55 pick in the second round.

At BetMGM, 52.2% of the money wagered on which team will take Bronny James is on the Lakers. James also has attracted the most bets to be the No. 1 pick. He is 250-1 to go No. 1 overall.

June 20: Alabama’s national championship odds longest since early Saban era

Doug Greenberg: Nick Saban’s retirement from coaching is sure to have profound effects on Alabama and the college football world at large. Sportsbooks are beginning to quantify just how large that effect is.

At ESPN BET, the Crimson Tide are 16-1 to win the 2025 national championship — their longest odds to win college football’s top prize since 2008, Saban’s second season, per ESPN Stats & Information. Alabama is tied with SEC rivals LSU and Ole Miss for the fifth-shortest odds, and trails Georgia (+325), Ohio State (+350), Texas (+750) and Oregon (+900).

Despite an expanded field for the College Football Playoff, the loss of Saban and increased competition in their conference could be to blame for the elevated odds: Alabama and LSU are the first two teams in the field with plus-odds to make the CFP at +115, and they trail eight other programs, including Michigan (-120), which notably lost coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL after its 2024 national championship.

Still, the public is backing the Tide to some extent, even if the action is somewhat top-heavy. Alabama has attracted 4% of the tickets and 3% of the handle to win the next national championship — fourth and tied for seventh, respectively, in the rankings. Georgia (30%/20%) and Ohio State (27%/33%) make up the overwhelming majority of national championship future action at the moment.

Alabama’s name recognition combined with plus-odds to make the playoff is also enticing bettors, as they’ve attracted 6% of the tickets at BetMGM, the fifth most, though that’s a far cry from Deion Sanders’ Colorado. The Buffs have garnered a leading 12.3% of the bets.

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