The Cavaliers didn’t even finish the regular season with the best record in the East, much less as the league’s top-seeded team entering the postseason.
But as far as the oddsmakers are concerned, they’re the favorites to win the NBA title.
From David Purdum of ESPN.com:
The Westgate SuperBook made the Cavaliers 9-4 favorites after Wednesday’s games were completed. The Golden State Warriors are a close second at 5-2. The defending champion San Antonio Spurs, at 4-1, are the only other team with single-digit odds at the SuperBook.
The Cavs, the second seed in the Eastern Conference, were the consensus favorites in Vegas and could be found Thursday as low as even money at Caesars sportsbook to win the title.
This doesn’t mean that the Cavaliers are the actual favorites to win it all. As with everything in Las Vegas, this is all about the money.
The goal of a sportsbook in setting lines like these is to limit risk above all else. What this tells us more than anything is that any team featuring LeBron James is likely to draw the most interest from the betting public, experts and so-called “sharps” excluded.
The Warriors have had an incredible season, and anyone who’s followed the NBA closely knows that they are the league’s most formidable team entering the postseason; the Spurs and Bulls may pose a legitimate challenge, as well.
But Cleveland is where the casual fans will tend to gravitate with their betting dollars, and Vegas oddsmakers aren’t going to expose themselves in the event that LeBron and company end up being able to pull off a somewhat mild upset.
The complete odds from the Westgate SuperBook are listed below.