NBA Odds Update: Cavaliers Favored To Win Eastern Conference Title

Jason Lake

Friday, April 15, 2016 6:04 PM GMT

Someone from the West will probably win the NBA title this year. But which team will represent the East in the Finals? The NBA odds say it's the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of April 14: 33-36-1 ATS, 6-3-1 Total

Something miraculous has happened in the world of basketball: All eight playoff teams from the Eastern Conference have winning records. Except for the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season, it's the first time this has happened in over a decade. All those years of tanking and accumulating high draft picks have finally borne fruit.

Too bad it's all for naught. Or maybe it just seems that way, given how the Golden State Warriors won 73 games, and how the San Antonio Spurs are neck-and-neck with Golden State when it comes to quality. But someone has to represent the East in the Finals, and according to the NBA odds, the Cleveland Cavaliers are favored as high as –300 to defend their Eastern crown. Our message from the home office to you: Don't buy it.

 

Price Check on Bron-Bron
Betting on the favorites is almost always the wrong thing to do when you're making your NBA picks on the futures market. Recreational bettors love to load up on teams like the Cavs, especially when they have a transcendent superstar like LeBron James (27.5 PER, +9.1 BPM). That inflates the price you have to pay to bet on these teams, or to be more precise, it dramatically lowers the potential payout, making it not worth your while – if you're trying to make money, that is. If you're a Cavs fan making a bet for entertainment purposes, the world is your oyster.

Here's a quick look at the Eastern Conference championship odds at Bovada as we go to press:

Cleveland Cavaliers –260
Toronto Raptors +500
Miami Heat +1400
Boston Celtics +1400
Atlanta Hawks +1400
Charlotte Hornets +3300
Detroit Pistons +5000
Indiana Pacers +6600

Considering the Cavaliers (57-25 SU, 37-42-3 ATS) had almost the same record as the Raptors (56-26 SU, 45-37 ATS), you can already tell there's something wrong with this picture. For some clarity, let's take the playoff projections at FiveThirtyEight, convert them from percentages to odds using the handy-dandy SBR Odds Converter, and see what happens:

Cleveland Cavaliers +186
Toronto Raptors +300
Miami Heat +1150
Boston Celtics +1329
Atlanta Hawks +669
Charlotte Hornets +1011
Detroit Pistons +4900
Indiana Pacers +4900

That's a bit more like it. As you can see, every team in the East, aside from the Cavaliers, has been undervalued by the betting market – vigorish notwithstanding. The three teams with the most value going into the playoffs: Toronto, Atlanta and Charlotte. You could make small bets on any or all three of these bargains, but here at the ranch, we're recommending the Hawks for the best combination of value and winnability. As always, grab the best price on the board, and may the sphere be with you.

Free NBA Pick: Hawks +1800
Best Line Offered: at Heritage