The Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team to reach the 2015 NBA Finals, sweeping the Atlanta Hawks in four games. Despite their dominant run in the Eastern Conference playoffs, LeBron James and Co. are not favored to win the title.
With the Golden State Warriors leading the Houston Rockets 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, Bovada.lv has given the Warriors 1/2 championship betting odds. Cleveland has 8/5 odds, and considering Houston would need to make history to get by Golden State, their odds have been set at 50/1.
Cleveland would likely be favored in a series against Houston, but no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit. Bet Online has the Cavaliers listed as a +225 underdog in a potential series against the Warriors, and Golden State is given -265 odds of beating Cleveland.
Since they signed James in the offseason, the Cavs have been among the favorites to win the title. The oddsmakers would have given them a much better chance to beat the Warriors or Rockets had Kevin Love not gone down for the rest of the playoffs with a shoulder injury. Kyrie Irving’s injuries this postseason have also not helped Cleveland’s case to win it all. The point guard scored 21.7 points per game in the regular season, but that average has dipped to 16.4 points in the last two series.
It’s possible that the Cavs could see their odds improve over the next week, as they get a chance to get healthier. The NBA Finals won’t begin until Thursday, June 4. James was outstanding against the Hawks, and he became the first player to ever average at least 30 points 10 rebounds and nine assists per game in a playoff series, but he was banged up as well.
In two head-to-head matchups this season, the Cavaliers and Warriors each one at home. Golden State’s win, however, came when James didn’t play due to injury. The four-time MVP scored 42 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists in Cleveland’s win over the league’s top team.
Houston beat Cleveland in both of their regular-season games, even the contest in which James played. He put up 37 points in the loss, while James Harden scored 33 points on just 18 shot attempts.
The West has been considered to be a much better conference than the East all season long. Seven playoff teams in the West won at least 50 games, while only five playoff teams in the East had a record above .500. Cleveland went 18-12 against the West in the regular season, while Golden State went 25-5 and Houston was 23-7 outside of their conference.
It’s the fifth straight year that James will play in the NBA Finals, becoming the first player to do so since members of the Boston Celtics in the 1960s, who reached the finals in 10 consecutive years. James won two titles with the Miami Heat, while losing in 2011 and 2014 in six and five games, respectively. When James reached the finals for the first time in 2007, he and the Cavaliers were swept in four games.
Miami was the underdog last year when James and the Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.