The King is back on his home throne and that means that the 2015 NBA Championship odds have adjusted in a big way. The Cavaliers went from 33/1 on June 17 to the favorite at 4/1. Without the best player on the planet, the Heat went from a 3/1 favorite to a 50/1 long shot. The addition of LeBron James to the Cavaliers roster has also changed the championship odds for the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Here’s a look at the current future odds (odds from June 17 are in parentheses). Odds courtesy of Bovada.lv:
|Team||Current Odds (June 17 odds)|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||4/1 (33/1)|
|San Antonio Spurs||5/1 (6/1)|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||6/1 (6/1)|
|Chicago Bulls||7/1 (12/1)|
|Houston Rockets||8/1 (16/1)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||10/1 (9/1)|
|Indiana Pacers||18/1 (12/1)|
|Golden State Warriors||25/1 (25/1)|
|Portland Trailblazers||25/1 (25/1)|
|Dallas Mavericks||33/1 (33/1)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||33/1 (40/1)|
|Washington Wizards||33/1 (33/1)|
|Brooklyn Nets||40/1 (28/1)|
|New York Knicks||40/1 (40/1)|
|Toronto Raptors||40/1 (40/1)|
|Memphis Grizzlies||50/1 (33/1)|
|Miami Heat||50/1 (3/1)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||50/1 (50/1)|
|Denver Nuggets||66/1 (50/1)|
|Phoenix Suns||66/1 (75/1)|
|Atlanta Hawks||75/1 (75/1)|
|Boston Celtics||75/1 (50/1)|
|Charlotte Hornets||75/1 (75/1)|
|Detroit Pistons||100/1 (50/1)|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||100/1 (66/1)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||200/1 (200/1)|
|Orlando Magic||200/1 (150/1)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||200/1 (200/1)|
|Sacramento Kings||200/1 (150/1)|
|Utah Jazz||200/1 (150/1)|
Clearly the two biggest movers are the Cavs and Heat, as the Cavs are now a 4/1 favorite to win the NBA Title. Bettors that missed the boat when the Cavs were more than 30/1 might be wise to jump on board now because the Cavs’ odds will drop even more if they are able to acquire Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Another thing bettors will notice is that the long shots in the Eastern Conference are even longer shots now based on LeBron’s return to Cleveland. The Bulls are the only team in the Eastern Conference to be under 10/1 at 7/1 and the next closest is the 2014 Eastern Conference runner-up Indiana Pacers. The next Eastern Conference team doesn’t appear until the Wizards at 33/1.
The ultra-competitive Western Conference still has a handful of teams with better than 10/1 odds to win the title, as the Spurs and Thunder, the Western Conference finalists, lead the pack at 5/1 and 6/1, respectively.
In Bovada.lv’s latest email release, props were also listed for LeBron James in his return to Cleveland.
Over/under 27.5 points per game for the 2014-15 season
LeBron averaged over 27 points per game in six of his seven seasons with the Cavaliers. He fell just short of this 27.5 line in two of those seasons. He has a better supporting cast this time around, but unless Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett continue to improve, he lacks a player like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was a big part of his success because of the two-man game that they ran. The Cavs also lack a bona fide shooter, an addition that could be made in the near future. That puts added pressure on Lebron to be a scorer.
If pressed for a selection now, the play would be to take the over. However, the best move would be to hold off and wait and see who else the Cavs acquire. A talented big like Kevin Love or a premium outside shooter may take some points away from LeBron. Regardless of who the Cavs add, he still has a good shot at going over, but you may get a better line if the team makes some more upgrades.
Over/under 7.5 rebounds per game for the 2014-15 season
It remains to be seen if Anderson Varejao can stay healthy, but the Cavs will get contributions on the glass from Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, and first-round pick Andrew Wiggins. Varejao and Thompson each took down over nine rebounds per game last season. LeBron has exceeded 7.5 boards per contest in just four of his 11 seasons, two of which were the Cavs.
Over/under 7 assists per game for the 2014-15 season
This looks like the strongest play on the board. LeBron will be playing with a young and talented supporting cast with plenty of capable players. Having a very quick point guard capable of 25 points per game will help Lebron immensely in this category and he’ll have to pass the ball around to develop a rapport with the young bigs. Like the last line, Lebron has exceeded this number in four of his 11 seasons. One of the selling points for the Cavs is that their young talent will help extend Lebron’s championship window and he’s going to use that to his advantage throughout the season as well.
Will Lebron James win the MVP?
The highly-publicized return to Cleveland has enhanced LeBron’s public image and that extends to the media. If he returns and has a quality season with the Cavs, it will not only make for a great story, but will add another chapter to his ever-growing legacy. The media will eat that up. His return letter was heartfelt and genuine, which will also gain him points throughout the country. His free agency saga captivated fans and the media alike and he will have the complete package of statistics with this group of players. He’s the game’s best player and dynamic, youthful talent is something he hasn’t really had throughout his career. It’s going to elevate his game and elevate the games of the players around him, which is sure to impress in the voters’ minds.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.