|Knicks guard Jeremy Lin is killing on the court and in Las Vegas. (Getty Images)|
"Linsanity" has officially reached Las Vegas.
Sportsbook Bovada.LV reports that gamblers simply cannot get enough of Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, who has led New York to six consecutive victories and delivered the game-winning points against both the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday and the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.
Lin, a Taiwanese-American who went undrafted out of Harvard, has emerged as the NBA's feel-good surprise story of the year, driving insane amounts of global interest. The gambling numbers make it clear that Las Vegas is fully caught up in the narrative. (All figures discussed below are strictly for entertainment purposes only.)
"The action has really picked up on NBA futures with Jeremy Lin making the Knicks the hottest team on the NBA," Bovada manager Kevin Bradley said. "Right now the Knicks are by far the biggest loser for the book."
According to Bovada, the pre-Lin Knicks were 40-1 odds to win the NBA title. Now, the Knicks are 18-1 odds.
Similarly, the pre-Lin Knicks, with a record of 8-15, were 22-1 odds to win the Eastern Conference. Now, with a record of 14-15, good for the No. 8 seed, the Knicks are 10-1 odds to win the East.
As recently as last week, New York did not look like a lock to make the playoffs, at all. Injuries to All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, inconsistent play from All-Star forward Amar'e Stoudemire and major struggles in the backcourt left New York as arguably the NBA's biggest underachievers.
Now? Vegas says the odds that New York will make the playoffs are 1/5. The odds that they will wind up in the lottery are 3/1.
If that's not enough, the Knicks' over/under for season wins is now 36.5. To reach 37 wins, New York (currently with a winning percentage of .483) will need to finish 23-14 (a winning percentage of .622). Prior to Lin's explosion, the Knicks were winning at just a .348 clip.
The action is just as heavy on individual Lin bets as it is on the Knicks as a team.
Bovada has actually set Lin at 40/1 odds to win the NBA's MVP award, even though he has only started five games and appeared in 15 games total. The odds that Lin hits a game-winning buzzer-beater before the end of the regular season: 3/1.
What Lin has already done is undeniably incredible but some of these odds reflect superhuman expectations. Not to be the stereotypical skeptic/doubter/hater/contrarian but this sure feels like a bubble.