OAKLAND (CBS SF) – News that LeBron James is planning to take his talents back where they came from has made the Cleveland Cavaliers an instant favorite to win it all, according to gaming website Bovada.
Bookies peg the Cavs as a 4/1 favorite to take the NBA Title next year, despite the fact that team finished 33-49 this season, two spots out of the final playoff spot in the mediocre Eastern Conference. Before news of LeBron joining the team, odds-makers saw the Cavs as no better than a 26-1 bet, and that number would likely have been even lower without speculation that King James might return to Cleveland. Vegas.com put them as 40-1 dogs as of last Thursday. At that point the Heat were the favorites.
Bovada says the James-free Heat are 50-1 to win it all now.
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By contrast, the team that actually compiled the best record in the league this year (and whipped James’ Miami Heat in the finals), the San Antonio Spurs are listed as a 5-1 wager. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are all better than 10-1 bets to be crowned next season, according to Bovada.
The up-and-coming Warriors are a 25-1 bet to win it all, tied with Portland as the 8th most likely team to win it all. Before the news of the James move, they were getting odds as good as 20-1.