Victor Wembanyama blocked shot

Sportsbooks better hope that this year’s top draft pick Victor Wembanyama is not a transcendent, game-changing talent immediately. It seems like, barring injury, that he will be eventually, but if he comes in and transforms the San Antonio Spurs into a playoff team, the bookmakers could be in trouble.

The Spurs are one of the longest shots to win the NBA title, coming off their worst season in nearly 30 years, but because of “Wemby,” bettors are shooting their shot on the team to have a historic bounce-back season.

At Caesars, the Spurs are +20,000, or 200-to-1, to win the championship and that plus the Wemby excitement has the sportsbook on the hook for seven figures if the Spurs accomplish the unthinkable. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Spurs are the largest liability at Station Casinos, as well.

If there is similar excitement from bettors at other sportbooks, competitors’ liability could be even worse. San Antonio is +50,000 at both FanDuel and DraftKings and +25,000 at BetMGM.

“People are going to gravitate toward the long odds. But this year is different with the ‘Wembanyama effect’ and all the hype around him,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen told the Review-Journal. “Winning the title this year, that’s a stretch. But the future’s bright.”

“If the Spurs didn’t have Wembanyama, they would be 250- or 500-1 and there wouldn’t be any kind of money,” Westgate SuperBook NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said.

The Spurs are the third-largest liability at Westgate. First is actually the Atlanta Hawks – someone bet $1,000 on them at 100-1, which would win them $100,000. The Hawks have been a decent team the last three seasons with intriguing young talent led by Trae Young. They are a team that hasn’t quite been able to put it together, though they did make a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, losing to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. It’s not a huge surprise that bettors might put a decent chunk of change on them at those odds.

Victor Wembanyama is the odds-on favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award, sitting at anywhere from -130 to -160 at American sportsbooks. Scoot Henderson is a distant second at +240 to +450. Look at this a tell me Wemby isn’t going to win the trophy:

There are also odds on Wemby to win league MVP, but you would have to be VERY optimistic to think he will have such an amazing season that he would beat out guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, Anthony Edwards, and many more. Wembanyama is currently listed anywhere from +6,000 to +11,000 win the award.

Image credit: / Spurs

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