Early Look at 2016 NBA Finals Odds
LeBron James couldn’t deliver a big win at Quicken Loans Arena in game six of the 2015 NBA Finals on Tuesday night, giving way to the Golden State Warriors as this year’s NBA champs.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers gave a valiant effort and came up short in six games, that’s probably a lot more of a fight than anyone expected after the team lost both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to injuries.
Looking ahead to the 2015-16 NBA season, a healthy Cavaliers squad is getting the benefit of the doubt. Rightfully so, as James carried the Cavs to a surprise 2-1 lead to start the Finals this year, and fought hard before Stephen Curry and co. took the crown on Tuesday night.
At full stength next year, and possibly even with some positive changes to the coaching staff and/or roster, Cleveland could very well be the favorites to win it all.
The oddsmakers surely see it that way, as the early 2016 NBA Finals odds give Cleveland a 3/1 shot.
Cleveland is a pretty good bet to return to the Finals next year, but few can knock the Warriors (5/1 odds), who are still fresh NBA champions. Short of trading away forward David Lee (who they’re rumored to be shopping already), Golden State could look very much the same and would easily be a solid bet to at least make it back to defend their title, if not repeat.
Of course, injuries across the league hurt more than just the Cavaliers, and healthy Thunder (7/1), Bulls (10/1), Clippers (10/1) and Rockets (18/1) squads could be forces to be reckoned with.
Changes are coming to numerous teams, and the Spurs (10/1) may shake things up considerably before next season arrives. They won just a year ago, though, and could also make one more run before several of their best veterans call it a career.
Leave Them Be
Thinking about the contenders is fun, but it’s just as important to note which teams would be a waste of time betting on. Fans can probably safely ignore the likes of the 76ers (250/1), Magic (250/1) and Hornets (250/1), while teams like the Knicks (100/1) and Timberwolves (150/1) are also likely longshots, even with big changes coming.
The Cavs were on many expert prediction lists to make the Finals this year (or even win it), but the Warriors were a surprise team for many. Not only did they shock a lot of people by winning the title this year, but they also won 67 games and held the league’s top overall seed.
Golden State was joined by the Atlanta Hawks as another team that pretty much came out of nowhere to take the league by storm. We’re probably not in for another meteoric rise like that heading into next season, but two solid sleeper teams to monitor could be the Pelicans (33/1) and Kings (100/1). New Orleans boasts one of the best talents in the league in Anthony Davis, while the Kings have DeMarcus Cousins and are led by George Karl on the sidelines.
All of these odds are probably moot in the long run, as the Cavs are simply destined to win it all when the 2016 NBA Finals arrive. It sounds lazy to roll with the team with the best odds, but they almost won it this year and they weren’t remotely at full strength.
With a healthy squad back around him, little will slow LeBron James down as he tries to lead the Cavs to their first NBA title in franchise history. The odds support it, and so does general logic.
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