Cavaliers head into playoffs as the Eastern Conference favorites
The Cavaliers (53-29) ended up as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but LeBron James and his teammates are the heavy favorites to win the East at 1/2, and are the 11/5 co-favorites on the odds to win the 2015 NBA championship with the Warriors heading into the playoffs.
The top-seeded Hawks (60-22) are coming off their best regular season in franchise history, yet they are the 13/4 second choice to win the East and 12/1 to win the NBA title.
A couple potentially difficult second-round matchups could determine whether or not the Cavaliers and the Hawks meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, but neither team should have a tough time against their first-round opponents, both of which finished with losing records. Cleveland will face the No. 7 seeded Celtics (40-42) with Atlanta taking on the No. 8 seeded Nets (38-44) in the opening round.
The Celtics are 66/1 to win the East and 150/1 on the NBA championship odds, and the Nets have even lower odds after qualifying for the postseason on the last day at 75/1 and 200/1, respectively.
Only the No. 6 seeded Bucks (41-41) have worse odds at 100/1 to win the conference and 250/1 to win the league title because they need to beat the Bulls (50-32) in the first round and then likely the Cavaliers in the second round as big underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in each series.
The Bulls earned the No. 3 seed on the last day of the regular season with a 91-85 home win over the Hawks as 5-point favorites, edging the fourth-seeded Raptors (49-33), who won the Atlantic Division with their best record ever.
Chicago finished three games back of the Cavs for the Central Division crown, and the team enters the playoffs at 11/2 to win the East and 12/1 to win the NBA championship.
The Raptors will first square off against the No. 5 seeded Wizards (46-36), a dangerous opponent that could be a sleeper pick to get to the Eastern Conference Finals based on the bracket.
Toronto is 16/1 to win the East and 50/1 to win the NBA title while Washington is 25/1 to win the conference and 75/1 to win the league championship for the first time since they were the Bullets back in 1978.