How Does Kevin Durant's Injury Impact The Odds?

Reporters used words like “somber” and “morose” to describe the Golden State Warriors’ locker room following their game against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. 

That’s because Kevin Durant, the team’s leading scorer and former league MVP, left the game in the first quarter with what was described as a hyperextended knee. Initial fears were that the injury was much worse as the team awaited MRI results. 

Turns out that it’s a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise. Durant is out four weeks and will be re-evaluated then but he could be back by the playoffs. 

So what does this mean from a betting standpoint? 

Not as much as you might think, according to early signs.  

On Wednesday morning, Sportsbook had the Warriors at -140 to win the NBA championship while Sportsbook had them at -150. Several books were around -180 before the injury but the Sportsbook Superbook in Las Vegas had Golden State at -200 and they have since moved to -160. 

That might seem surprising to some considering Durant leads Golden State with 25.3 points per game and 8.2 rebounds. But don’t forget the remaining star nucleus of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green won this team an NBA championship and was one game away from doing so last year. 

In fact, the Warriors already have more losses with Durant (10) than they did all of last season (nine). And when you take a closer look, Durant has only made an impact of +1.8 points per game:

Warriors Points plus/minus last 2 seasons
Season Points per game Points against per game Points plus/minus
2016-17 (with Durant) 118.1 105.5 +12.6
2015-16 (no Durant) 114.9 104.1 +10.8

If you throw in a point for public perception, we are only looking at an impact of 2 to 3 points to the spread without KD for Warriors games early on and I think it will be more like a point or two after a couple of games. I believe that means we’ll see some value in Golden State coming up. 

Last year I wrote about how Durant was worth 3.5 to 4.5 points to the spread when he was with OKC but the impact is less on a team oozing talent like Golden State.   

This year Warriors odds have been inflated much of the season on both sides and totals with a 28-30-2 record against the spread despite going 50-10. They also go UNDER the total at almost 57 percent with an OVER/UNDER record of 26-34. 

Golden State has now dropped four straight spreads after the loss to the Wizards last night as they continue to see lofty numbers. The Dubs have only seen one number lower than 12 points in their last six games so Durant’s injury may actually bring some more favorable numbers here. If Golden State is shaded a few points, we’re still looking at a pretty incredible team here. 

As pointed out by Fox Sports a lineup of Curry-Thompson-Iguodala-Draymond-Pachulia is still pretty damn good. That lineup is +41 in points and +.275 in efficiency field-goal percentage over opponents. That shooting mark is a higher number than any lineup with Durant.

Up next for Golden State is the Chicago Bulls on Thursday as the Warriors continue a five-game road trip. Golden State had to lay 18 points against the Bulls on Feb. 8, which turned out to be an easy cover in a 123-92 win. 

That was at home. It will be interesting to see what line oddsmakers put out this time around on the road. 

Follow me on Twitter @JonnyOddsShark

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