Cavaliers are now leading NBA Eastern Conf. so far but the public are all over Hornets even forcing books to shorten their odds. The big question is who’s going to win the Championship?
It was a sunshine day last Sunday but more than a million Cavaliers' fans missed the NBA rendezvous in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. In any case, the Cavs did manage to run over Charlotte Hornets at Quicken Loans Arena as expected. They ended the game with a good 7-point space. The score was officially declared a home-win with 100-93 showing on the board at zero time - which made LeBron very happy although he missed 10 out of his 13 shots in that game. Hornets lost their second opportunity in a row to challenge the NBA basketball odds. Today, they show weaker on the standings with 7-3 in the statistics.
But, seriously, are Cavaliers satisfied by that game? Are they doing all right and can they feel confident leading the competition with their 9-1 performance? One simple explanation is that Sunday's game was tough because Cavaliers played without J.R.Smith. He had suffered an ankle injury during Friday's game in Washington. The Hornets had Kidd-Gilchrist back on the floor after the player missed the previous game against Toronto Raptors due to a back strain. But if Cavs cannot rely on their star-players they may very well lose their pace sooner than later.
For the time being, Cleveland comes up as second favorites in the race for the Championship on some of the best sportsbooks online, with odds trading around +300. Since the start of the regular season, their odds didn't move that much, thus it's a bit early to make any meaningful prediction.
The Cavs seemed to have taken the message and stood Tuesday as a rock against Toronto Raptors, who were depleted after their previous three-game serial winning. LeBron James had one of those days scoring 28 points, passing 14 assists and taken out 9 opponents in rebounds. The Raptors saw their rise fall after they eventually suffered a 121-117 loss. Their coach, Dwane Casey, blamed a number of bad judgments for the outcome. Clanning Frye quickly took advantage of the mistakes and scored easy points. Raptors were holding a lead with 114-113 just 1:39 before the end of the game but they messed up when they should have taken their time securing a positive outcome for Atlanta. Cavaliers would have not won the game if Raptors (third place on the standings) showed a little bit of strategic skills. The Cavs are not in their best shape regardless of how that game finally ended.
That defeat didn't seem to affect Toronto's backers. Their odds to win the NBA championship didn't move an inch, having dropped about 25% on Bet365, while William Hill did shorten their odds too, although not as much, given they didn't trade that high.
On the second place, Atlanta Hawks appeared struggling as well. Tuesday got dramatic as the Hawks had to work hard at American Airlines Arena in order to prevail against the Heat, in the last quarter. The team lost Dwight Howard after an injury. In the end, the game finished with a 93-90 victory in favor of the Hawks but only thanks to a couple of three-throws Dennis Schroder succeeded in the last 6 secs of the game. Hawks feature now an 8-2 performance ratio in the competition but they have to deal with their bad luck - same as Cavaliers - if they wish to keep dreaming about the title. Howard came into the spotlight in the third quarter when he was penalized with a technical foul for complaining about a non-call. He suddenly disappeared towards the locker rooms accompanied by his trainers never to come back. Moments later, Hawks announced he had sustained a quad contusion. The Heat was retaliating during the third quarter. At a time, they took the lead on the scoreboard with 61-60 but Muscala ended their short-lived rally with a three-pointer.
Atlanta's odds have been dropping since summer across popular bookmakers and have now hit new lows, most notably on William Hill.
Sportsbooks now offer odds lower than even their opening values, and perhaps Atlanta can challenge other favorite title contenders, like Boston Celtics, that is currently sitting on sportsbooks' fifth spot. However, there are some very worrying signs in regards to their odds action, since they have never traded below their opening price and have recently skyrocketed in both Bet365 and William Hill sportsbooks! Will these lucrative odds lure gamblers to back Boston? I highly doubt it, considering the trend and momentum building up.