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The Miami Heat have been the preseason favorites to win the NBA Championship over the last several years. Of course, that was due to one player, and one player only.
The moment it was announced that James would leave Miami and go to his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers where he began his career, there was a big shift in the betting lines. So much so that the Cavaliers are the favorites to win the 2014-15 NBA Championship on futures odds available at Bovada Sportsbook. It shouldn’t be a surprise, with James alone almost good enough to guarantee a berth in the Conference Finals or NBA Finals.
If we trace it back to James’ first season with the Heat, they were vaulted to the top of the list of contenders as well, similar to this situation. If we also remember, it took some time for the team to mesh, even though they made it to the NBA Finals that season.
Many are predicting a similar type of process with James and his new Cleveland teammates, which includes Kevin Love who left the Minnesota Timberwolves to join the Cavaliers.
The pieces seem to be in place to a NBA title to come to Cleveland. And really, one title in Cleveland might even outweigh four or five titles in Miami.
The Cavaliers are not the only team in the NBA this season, though it will probably seem like it at times. There are plenty of other contenders, including the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Cleveland is on top of the payouts to win it all, slated at 5/2. The rest of the teams listed fall in order at 7/2, 11/2, and 7/1 respectively.
The Bulls’ odds can be attributed to Derrick Rose and his potential if he can stay healthy. We’ve seen Rose dominate the NBA when he is healthy, but that has been the big struggle.
In the West, the Spurs are almost a foregone conclusion to make the postseason and contend for a spot in the NBA Finals. The defending champions will be coming in strong, a year older, but for some reason they just appear to be ageless.
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant is nursing an injured ankle and will be out for some time. He is expected to make a full recovery, and in his place Russell Westbrook is more than equipped to lead the team. While Westbrook has been highly criticized for his playing style alongside Durant, there is no doubt that the point guard plays a pivotal role in the success of the team and how opposing defenses play them. The Thunder are picked to be the top challengers to the Spurs out West.
And as for the Heat, they are all the way down at 50/1, despite retaining Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. It should be an interesting season in Miami, especially in terms of how many fans show up to support.
Below, LatestBettingOdds.com has the complete set of odds to win the 2015 NBA title from Bovada. These odds change but are seen as they are live on site.