Monday, April 15, 2024
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Here’s how LeBron James is going to score his 40,000th career point, according to the betting market

LeBron James is going to score his 40,000th NBA point. That much is a formality. Once you reach 39,960 as James has, those last 40 look downright easy. As amazing as it is to say, the first player in NBA history to score his 40,000th point will do so with an air inevitability. We all knew this was coming. It was just a matter of when.

Technically, the “when” is still up in the air. Sports books are starting to offer odds on what game will feature point No. 40,000 for James. Here are the odds DraftKings has posted as of this writing:

Opponent

Date

Odds

Nuggets

3/2

-105

Thunder

3/4

+235

Wizards

2/29

+330

Kings

3/6

+1200

Kings (or later)

3/13 (or later)

+1600

Bucks

3/8

+4000

Timberwolves

3/10

+10000

Why are the Nuggets favored? Well, the Wizards, who the Lakers play on Thursday, are his next opponent, but James would need to score 40 points to get to 40,000 in that game. James has reached the 40-point line only once this season, on Dec. 23 against the Thunder. Obviously, the books consider that unlikely, which is why the Wizards are down at +330. The likeliest outcome would be that James does some of his damage on Thursday and the rest on Saturday when the Lakers face the Nuggets.

Of course, there’s a caveat here. James just played 37 minutes on the front end of a back-to-back. James has skipped half of the last two Laker back-to-backs, and James was listed as questionable for Wednesday’s Clipper game with left ankle tendinopathy. If he misses Thursday’s game, Monday’s bout with the Thunder becomes the prohibitive favorite.

Of course, if you’re a higher-risk bettor, the upside play is for the big moment to come on March 13 or later. While that is incredibly unlikely if James is healthy, you are essentially betting on a meaningful injury at some point in his next two games. Is that likely? No, but that’s why you’re getting 16-to-1 odds.

Those aren’t the only odds on the board relating to James right now, though. You can also bet on what kind of shot gets James to 40,000 points. Some books will offer more specific odds than this, but here’s what DraftKings has up as of this writing:

Type of shot

Odds

2-Pointer

-160

3-Pointer

+260

Free throw

+390

How accurate are these odds? Well, a line of -160 implies odds of 61.54%. A line of +260 implies odds of 27.78%, and a line of +390 implies odds of 20.41%. James has scored 1,308 points this season. He has scored 756 of those on 2-pointers, or around 57.8%. His 3-pointers account for 348 total points or 26.6%, and his free throws make up the remaining 204 points or 15.6%. The free-throw number is slightly out of whack, but generally speaking, the line here is more or less aligned with the way James typically plays. Without knowing who the opponent will be, it would be hard to predict game-plan-specific shot choices.

When James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record last season, he went for it aggressively. He entered that game against the Oklahoma City Thunder needing 36 points, and he got there in less than three quarters. If James senses blood in the water, he’ll try to get to this latest milestone quickly. If you’re confident that he can do so, profit opportunities exist.

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