Sportsbook Sportsbook betting area at Santan Mountain Casino, photographed on June 26, 2023, on the Gila River Reservation south of Chandler.

The Houston Rockets seemed to improve their roster in the first 24 hours of free agency. The oddsmakers aren’t so sure.

Houston reached a deal with shooting guard Fred VanVleet Friday, reportedly for three years and $130 million. Swingman Dillon Brooks, best known as a great defender before he became better known in the 2023 NBA Playoffs for taunting LeBron James and then hitting him in the groin, reportedly came to terms on a new deal Saturday (four years, $80 million).

So after those two big moves, the Rockets surely improved their NBA Championship odds for next season, right?

Not exactly., which monitors various sportsbooks, found exactly the opposite.

The site tweeted Saturday, “The Rockets’ Championship odds BEFORE signing VanVleet and Brooks: +15000.”

“The Rockets’ Championship odds AFTER signing VanVleet and Brooks: +20000.”

“What a free-agency masterclass by the Rockets!” Bookmakers Review concluded.

There were some other Rockets odds floated on Twitter, but they were no more favorable.

Rockets GM Rafael Stone certainly didn’t expect that kind of response from the so-called experts. It’s obviously worth pointing out the oddsmakers can sometimes look foolish. For example, no one saw the Miami Heat advancing to the NBA Finals this year.

How is it possible that many people believe the Rockets actually regressed with their moves? Analysts and fans floated a few theories on Twitter, but generally just took the opportunity to poke fun at the Rockets.

[John Frascella]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.