Lakers vs. Grizzlies Betting: History of LeBron James as Underdog

Lakers vs. Grizzlies Betting: History of LeBron James as Underdog article feature image
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Ronald Cortes/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James (Lakers)

The Lakers somehow, some way found themselves back in the playoffs after a rollercoaster of a season where they actually entered the year with -250 odds to make the playoffs and +195 odds to miss it in the preseason.

After taking out the Timberwolves at home on Tuesday night, L.A. was guaranteed the 7 seed and a series against the 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies.

Early in the week, oddsmakers have the Grizzlies as a short series favorite around -130, while the Lakers sit around a +110 underdog.

In LeBron James' 20th season in the NBA, this is the first time he's been a series underdog in the first round of the playoffs.

In LeBron's 15 total first round series in his career, he is 14-1, with his only loss coming to the Phoenix Suns in 2021, when his Lakers were actually the favorites as the 7 seed at a -175 price.

Going back through LeBron's career, the question many would have is how many times has James' team been listed as an underdog in a series and how did that turn out for his squad?

Let's take a look.

If the Lakers close as series underdogs against the Grizzlies, this will be the 11th series James will be listed as an underdog since his first playoff appearance dating back to 2006.

In those previous 10 series, LeBron's teams are 4-6 straight up, including 2-4 in the NBA Finals and 2-2 straight up prior to that round.

It is also pretty relevant to note, LeBron is currently 1-3 as a series dog vs. the Warriors and 3-3 against all other opponents.

Here is the definitive list:

LeBron James' Team as Playoff Series Underdogs

2018 (2) Warriors vs. (4) Cavaliers (+688) — GSW won, 4-0

2018 (1) Raptors vs. (4) Cavaliers (+165) — CLE won, 4-0

2017 (1) Warriors vs. (2) Cavaliers (+250) — GSW won, 4-1

2016 (1) Warriors vs. (1) Cavaliers (+180) — CLE won, 4-3

2015 (1) Warriors vs. (2) Cavaliers (+190) — GSW won, 4-2

2014 (1) Spurs vs. (2) Heat (+135) — SAS won, 4-1

2012 (2) Thunder vs. (2) Heat (+155) — MIA won, 4-1

2008 (1) Celtics vs. (4) Cavaliers (+600) — BOS won, 4-3

2007 (1) Pistons vs. (2) Cavaliers (+270) — CLE won, 4-2

2006 (1) Pistons vs. (4) Cavaliers (+1200) — DET won, 4-2


Historical odds history via Sports Odds History

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