We weigh in the betting landscape heading towards the business end of the season. Specifically, we look at the Cavaliers, who are the Top Faves on NBA odds board and are generating plenty of buzz.
Cavaliers Top Betting Faves
The Cleveland Cavaliers are amongst the Top Faves in NBA futures betting, a market outlook that is shared across sports betting platforms. Naturally, they aren't alone on that score. They share the recognition with Golden State Warriors, joint top faves at +425 or 17/4. The pair has stiff opposition coming from San Antonio Spurs (+550 or 11/2) and the tandem of Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls (both at +700 or 7/1).
LeBron James & The Homecoming That Changed Everything
The market outlook that emerged ahead of the start of the season when word got out LeBron James was returning home was inevitable. Such is the impact of the multiple MVP player according to odds makers, who promptly shortened the Cavaliers to 4-to-1 odds (all while increasing the Heat's NBA odds from 3-to-1 (their early NBA betting market value) up to a high of 100-to-1 or thereabouts depending on your choice sports betting shop).
LeBron James didn't indulge in such barefaced confidence however. Opting to take a prudent outlook instead, he stated it would take time to develop the Cavaliers into a Championship team.
“I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver,” James said in the piece. “We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010.” [Source: CBS].
And he wasn't wrong entirely either. The transition process becoming quickly evident on the heels of Cleveland's rather rocky start to the season, which began on a 95-90 loss to the New York Knicks (currently propping up the Eastern Conference) and then bobbed along like a cork in the ocean, experiencing many waves of ups and downs. By the time the Cavs were 12 games into the season, they were 5-7 SU, looking more like also rans rather than title faves.
Form steadied briefly in the lead up to Christmas, reaching a high when the Cavaliers improved to 18-11 behind a 98-89 win over Orlando on December 26. Immediately afterwards though they took a nosedive. Their longest losing streak of the season (six straight losses) ensued and they slipped to a 19-20 record on January 13. In all fairness, their dramatic dip in form coincided with LeBron James' injury (out with back and knee issues for two weeks). Immediately upon his return, the opposite happened: the Cavs surged to a 12-game winning streak, one of their best runs of form this season.
Since his return in mid-January, the Cavs went 14-2 in their last 16 games in the lead up to the All Star Break. Overall, the Cavs are 31-13 with LeBron and just 2-8 without him, an imbalance that in no uncertain terms underscores his weight (impact) on Cleveland's stock value in NBA betting markets. Additional trade moves (additions of Smith, Shumpert and Mozgov) have also strengthened the makeup of this team, but it's obvious LeBron is THE MAN, the emotional leader in the locker room and on the court, the game-changing player that brings that X-FACTOR into the equation. He can lead this team to the championship, especially now that the Cavaliers et al seem to have finally found their rhythm and are playing with the kind of confidence they didn't have early in the season.
So to summarise: based on the form the Cavaliers are enjoying at the moment you can bet the Cavaliers are on track to take the NBA title home this season, an NBA pick that is trading at +425 at Bet365. Of course, there could be more ups and downs down the stretch – no team is immune to the ebb and flow of form – and the playoffs are an entirely different ball game. Still, you have to like the way things are going for the Cavaliers right now.