LeBron James's return has made the Cleveland Cavaliers the NBA betting odds favorites to win it all but in this handicapping article we will focus soley on his player props options.
Evaluating His Chances To Win The MVP Award Odds: +140
LeBron James is +140 odds to win the 2014 MVP Award and there’s a very good chance he comes through. Barring injury, we all know he’s going to be in contention. Let’s look at the facts: James has won the MVP award in four of the last six seasons. Last year, he finished second to Kevin Durant and in the 2010-11 season, he was third behind Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose. If the Cavaliers go from being a team that missed the playoffs to a 55-win team that wins the East, James is going to be a shoe-in again – even though he’ll be playing with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Also, seeing the Miami Heat tumble down the standings without James is likely to strengthen his case.
Durant is at +180 but it’s hard to see him winning it in back-to-back years – especially since last year was such a close call and many people felt James should have won it anyway.
Scoring Average Prop Odds Over/Under: 27.5 PPG
The over/under for James’ scoring average is set at 27.5 points per game, which is the same number that he has averaged throughout his career. It might be a tall order for James to overcome as he hasn’t surpassed this number for since the 2009-10 season, which was his last season with the Cavaliers. The difference between now and then is how much help he’s going to have around him. That 2009-10 Cavs were a skeleton of a team as James was forced to carry guys like Daniel Gibson, Delonte West and Anderson Varejao. When he went to Miami, his averages dipped because he had plenty of scoring help from Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. He averaged 26.7 PPG in the 2010-11 season, 27.1 in the 2011-12 season, 26.8 in the 2012-13 season and 27.1 in the 2013-14 season.
What we also have to remember is that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will likely score much more than Bosh and Wade. The latter two averaged just 32.7 PPG last year. Love alone averaged 26.1 while Irving averaged 20.8. James won’t need to score as much in this situation, so take under.
Pick: Under 27.5 at Bovada Sportsbook
Assists Average Prop Odds: 7.0 APG
Although James’ scoring average will be down, it’s likely that his assists will go up. For his career, he’s averaged 6.9 assists per game but he’s averaged 7.0 assists per game or better in five of his last seven seasons. James has a pretty good cast around him – far better than he had last season in Miami – and Love and Irving are much better scorers. Keep in mind before placing your NBA Picks that there’s also Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, so James should do far less scoring and much more facilitating.