One game has turned the tide in the 2015 NBA Finals, as the Cleveland Cavaliers have gone from championship long shots to slight underdogs. After beating the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 Sunday night, LeBron James and his teammates have seen their betting odds increase significantly.
Just hours before Game 2 tipped off at Oracle Arena, the Cavs were as big as +550 underdogs in some sports books, with the Warriors getting -700 betting odds. But Sunday’s victory has given Cleveland even better odds than when they began the series with a healthy Kyrie Irving.
Bet Online has Cleveland listed as +170 underdogs, and Golden State is a -195 favorite after losing home court advantage. Sportsbook.ag has given the Cavs +170 odds as well, while Golden State is a -200 favorite. Before the series began, the consensus odds in Las Vegas had the Cavs (+190) listed as larger underdogs and the Warriors (-220) were given a better chance to win their first title in 40 years.
Cleveland’s Game 2 victory was unexpected. After Irving was officially ruled out for the rest of the playoffs, the Cavaliers were left to play without their No. 2 and No. 3 scorers from the regular season. They were forced to face the NBA’s top team with no Irving or Kevin Love, but James responded with a triple-double.
Golden State had lost just three times at home before Sunday’s defeat. Stephen Curry did not look like the player that was named the MVP of the regular season, missing 18 of his 23 field goal attempts and registering his lowest shooting percentage of the season.
The Warriors were favored by at least 5.5 points in each of the first two games, but that won’t be the case as the series shifts to Cleveland. A day before Game 3, the Cavaliers are favored by one point in Las Vegas sports books.
James faced a similar situation during last year’s NBA Finals. The Miami Heat entered the series as slight underdogs, and they beat the San Antonio Spurs on the road in Game 2 to tie up the series. Miami went on to lose the next three games by at least 17 points each.
After winning 67 games in the regular season, the Warriors finished 14 games ahead of the Cavaliers in the standings. No team that has won at least 65 games and reached the NBA Finals has ever failed to win the championship.