Following their second-round sweep of the Atlanta Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers have seen their chances of reaching and winning the NBA Finals steadily improve, while odds makers have grown slightly less optimistic about the Golden State Warriors repeating as champions.
Behind the dynamic play of LeBron James, the Cavs sewed up their second straight trip to the Eastern Conference finals with Sunday's Game 4 win in Atlanta, lifting their title hopes from +325 to +240, according to Bovada.lv. The Cavs have an 8-0 record in the playoffs after sweeping the Detroit Pistons in the first round.
The Cavs are also a -650 favorite to outright win the East whether they face the Toronto Raptors or Miami Heat in the next round.
On the other side of the country, the Warriors' odds of winning the title took a slight hit, dropping from -140 a week ago to -105. After throttling the Portland Trail Blazers for a 2-0 series lead, the Warriors are coming off a disappointing 120-108 loss in Game 3. Stephen Curry, who is reportedly set to be named the NBA's MVP for the second straight season, remains sidelined with a knee injury, though he could return for Game 5.
Cleveland and Golden State still appear to be on a collision course for the finals, though both clubs' potential opponents in the conference finals remain uncertain. The San Antonio Spurs were viewed as the Warriors' biggest obstacle to repeat, however, they too have shaken odds makers’ confidence.
The Spurs have dropped two games to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and now the series is knotted 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for Tuesday. San Antonio’s now gone from +300 to win the finals to +333.
The Thunder have looked impressive in their recent victories, but their odds remain unchanged at +1400. And dark horse Portland has jumped from +25000 from last week to +15000 following its singular defeat of the Warriors.
Back east, the Raptors have overtaken the Heat as Cleveland’s main competition for the conference finals. The Raptors fell in Game 1 of their series with the Miami Heat, but have since taken the last two games by a combined eight points for a 2-1 series lead ahead of Monday’s Game 4. Toronto improved from +7500 longshots to +4000, while Miami's chances were cut in half from +3300 to +6600.
Odds to Win NBA Championship
Golden State Warriors -105
Cleveland Cavaliers +240
San Antonio Spurs +333
Oklahoma City Thunder +1400
Toronto Raptors +4000
Miami Heat +6600
Portland Trail Blazers +15000