The Philadelphia 76ers may very well be on the road to winning an NBA Championship. Plus, by the time they get there, fans in the Keystone State could legally be able to bet on them doing it.
The team is led by a pair of young stars. Ben Simmons is a 6’10” Australian point guard who is a shoo-in for 2017-2018 NBA Rookie Of The Year honors. Joel Embiid is a boisterous 7’2″ second-year center from Cameroon with a personality as big as he is.
A host of veteran shooters also helped the 76ers close out the regular season as the hottest team in the NBA.
They won 16 straight to move up and grab the three seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Playoffs. In fact, a surprising 52-win season had online sportsbook Bovada giving them the fifth-best odds to win the NBA Finals to start the playoffs.
At 15:1, only the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Western Conference’s top-seeded Houston Rockets, Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Toronto Raptors had better odds than the 76ers to win it all.
Round 1 to the 76ers
Round 1 turned out to be a rather one-sided series for the 76ers. They blew through the Miami Heat in five games to push through to the NBA’s Eastern Conference Semifinals this week. Now, Bovada has them as an even bigger favorite to win the title.
In fact, the money line on the 76ers to win the NBA title has moved down to +850. Only the Golden State Warriors at +105 and the Houston Rockets at +160 are bigger favorites.
To put things in perspective, the 76ers were +15,000 to win the NBA championship at the start of the season. The 2016-17 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors were +100.
Moneylines and the changing odds of becoming NBA champions might not mean much to most Pennsylvanians today. However, things might change tomorrow, or at least by the time the 76ers reach their goal.
Legal sports betting in PA
A bill legalizing sports betting inside state lines passed as a part of the comprehensive gambling expansion package in October 2017. However, sports betting isn’t legal just yet. The new law requires some change take place at the federal level first.
The US Supreme Court could rule in favor of New Jersey in its case against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). That would force the change.
PASPA essentially bans single-game wagering everywhere outside of Nevada. However, should the US Supreme Court rules in New Jersey’s favor, the act would be deemed unconstitutional. Ultimately, that would pave the way for legal sports betting in states including PA.
That decision could come any day now.
It might take some time for regulators and operators to get legal sports betting up and running in PA. But not too long.
PA ready to roll on the sports betting front
In fact, back in November, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Deputy Director of Communications Richard McGarvey told Legal Sports Report it wasn’t the top priority. However, the state planned on being ready to go if and when federal law changes:
“It’s not something we can implement in Pennsylvania until something changes federally, but we can be ready to go when the law changes. We’ll make sure to get everything ready and understand the landscape. It’s certainly something on our plate. We know it’s something that can happen and any time that’s the case you make sure you’re ready for it.”
The state’s 12 Pennsylvania casinos will be the first invited to apply for sports betting licenses and open up sportsbooks. Philadelphia area casinos like SugarHouse, Harrah’s, and Parx will likely move fast to set things up and go after all the potential revenue legal sports betting promises.
The 2017-18 NBA Finals are scheduled to run Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 17. It’s a tight timeline. However, PASPA could fall within the next few days.
Pennsylvania regulators certainly want to get betting up and running as quickly as possible, but betting on this year’s NBA finals in Philadelphia may be a longshot. But, like the 76ers, the odds they will be in a similar boat in 2019 is a very safe bet.