So far, just one of the four conference finals spots has been filled in the NBA playoffs and that’s by the Eastern Conference’s top seed, the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are now 8-0 in these playoffs and are the biggest movers on NBA odds to win the NBA title. The Cavs opened the playoffs as the third-favorites to win the first title in franchise history but are now +235 second-favorites behind Golden State (-110).
A Quick Review of this Week’s Revised 2016 NBA Title Odds
The Cavs swept Detroit in Round 1 — not a huge surprise. That they then swept Atlanta was a moderate surprise, although it’s the second straight year that Cleveland has done so. You know how good LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are. But it’s truly a Big 3 right now as Kevin Love has put up a double-double in every game the Cavs have played in the postseason. His previous longest such streak since joining Cleveland was five games in a row. He’s averaging 18.9 points and 12.5 rebounds in the postseason — the type of numbers he put up when he was a superstar for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In Sunday’s clincher, James nearly had his first triple-double of the 2016 playoffs, finishing with 21 points, 10 boards and nine assists – going 10-for-23 from the floor, adding a pair of steals and a block. Irving topped the 20-point mark for the seventh time in eight postseason contests — finishing with 21 points and eight assists, going an even 8-for-16 from the floor.
The Cavaliers were 16-of-37 from 3-point range in Game 4. They became the first team to make at least 15 3-pointers in four straight games (regular season or playoffs). Their 77 3-pointers (in four games) are tied for the second most by any team in any series in NBA history. A 36 percent 3-point shooting team during the regular season, the Cavaliers are shooting 42 percent from deep through these first eight games of the postseason.
“We’re in a great rhythm right now as far as us three. We know exactly where we want to be on the floor,” James said.
LeBron has won 17 straight Eastern Conference playoff series. The last one he lost was the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Celtics. James has started 8-0 in the postseason for the second time. He also did it in 2009. He’s the fourth player in NBA history to start 8-0 in multiple postseasons. The other three were members of the great Lakers teams of the 1980s: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper.
But teams that sweep the first two rounds don’t have a great history. Of the four others to do so since the first round went to seven games in 2003, each of them lost in the conference finals.
The Cavaliers await the winner of the Heat-Raptors series – which Toronto currently leads, 2-1 – as the franchise prepares for its sixth trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. If the series wraps up in six games or less, Game 1 will take place on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland. If it goes seven, the Cavs will have to wait until next Tuesday to play again. The Raptors are +6000 to win the NBA title and the Heat are +10000.
The Spurs, who return home with their Western Conference semifinal tied at 2 with Oklahoma City, are now +320 to win the NBA title. The Thunder are +1500. Portland, which trails the Warriors 2-1 entering Monday’s Game 4, is +22500, the longest shot on the board.
Expert Betting Prediction
Cavaliers and Warriors have an NBA Finals rematch.