Category Archives: nba

Cavaliers favored to win NBA Eastern Conference despite early struggles


Even a 16-game winning streak for the Boston Celtics that ended on Wednesday has not changed the minds of oddsmakers, who still believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

The Cavaliers have been playing well lately, currently riding a six-game winning streak and sitting as -125 favorites to advance to the NBA Finals out of the East for the fourth straight year.

Cleveland’s LeBron James has made it to the championship round of the playoffs each of the previous seven years, going 3-4 between playing for the Cavs and Miami Heat. The presence of James – who many believe to be the best player in the league since Michael Jordan and arguably the greatest of all-time – has made it hard to bet against his team until at least the NBA Finals.

Cavaliers Favored to Win NBA Eastern Conference Despite Early StrugglesThis season though, former teammate Kyrie Irving is doing everything he can to make sure the Celtics win the East.

Boston is listed as the +200 second choice to win it behind Irving and a talented young roster. After getting traded from Cleveland in the offseason for Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, Irving has proven his worth as a legitimate NBA MVP candidate, especially since free-agent forward Gordon Hayward went down with a leg injury in a season-opening loss to the Cavs. Hayward is not expected to return this year.

Besides the Celtics and Cavs, there is just one other team that seems to have a remote chance of winning the East, the Washington Wizards as the +1000 third choice. The Southeast Division-leading Wizards are led by point guard John Wall but are at least one All-Star player away from seriously competing with the top two in the conference.

In the Western Conference, it remains the Golden State Warriors and everyone else. The defending NBA champion Warriors are strong -250 favorites to win the West for the fourth year in a row, with the Houston Rockets (+600), San Antonio Spurs (+800) and Oklahoma City Thunder (+1000) the only teams with any real shot of unseating them.

The Thunder have struggled at times this season with their new “Big Three” of reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook plus All-Stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. But Oklahoma City routed Golden State 108-91 on Wednesday and showed its potential.

Meanwhile, the Rockets and Spurs are both fighting for the Southwest Division title. Houston appears to be the top threat as one of two teams to win at Oracle Arena this year. The Detroit Pistons also handed the Warriors a rare home loss, and they are a good value pick to win the East now at +3300 as early leaders of the Central Division.

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Celtics NBA title odds suffer with likely loss of Hayward for season


The Boston Celtics appeared to be a legitimate threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season with the addition of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward in the offseason.

Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com

However, Hayward was able to play about five minutes in Tuesday’s regular-season opener between the teams before suffering a dislocated ankle and fractured tibia that will likely keep him out the entire year.

Celtics NBA title odds suffer with likely loss of Hayward for seasonBoston is now a smaller threat to win its 18th NBA championship at +1200 odds, up from +800 earlier.

The Celtics still hung tough with the Cavaliers before falling 102-99 after Hayward left the game, but they then proceeded to lose 108-100 to the Milwaukee Bucks in their home opener on Wednesday. They are expected to get an $8.4 million injury exception to use on a replacement for Hayward, although there are no players currently available who can fill in for the All-Star who was just entering his prime as a big-time scorer.

Cleveland remains the +450 second choice to win its second NBA title in three seasons behind the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who are strong favorites to repeat at -150.

The Cavaliers have some injury concerns of their own with point guard Isaiah Thomas (hip) sidelined until at least December. Thomas was acquired for Irving along with Jae Crowder back on August 22. Until he returns to the court, the oft-injured Derrick Rose is filling in for him at the point.

The Western Conference is a lot more loaded than the East, and some of the top contenders there probably wish they were competing with Cleveland and Boston instead.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets are also +1200 to win the NBA championship this year like the Celtics. Oklahoma City has made the biggest moves since last year, bringing over two stars from the East this offseason in an effort to help reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook make a title run.

The Thunder picked up Paul George from the Indiana Pacers and Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks in separate trades and hope their new Big Three will jell enough to dethrone the Warriors.

The Spurs still have the NBA’s best coach in Gregg Popovich and will need to keep MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard healthy first and foremost. In addition, the Rockets traded for point guard Chris Paul to form an All-Star backcourt with James Harden, who may be better off moving back to shooting guard.

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