- The Cavs moves at the trade deadline saw them vault into the betting favorites to win the East, but they're still not favorites for the title.
The Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22) are clearly not where they want to be at this point of the season, sitting behind the Toronto Raptors (41-16) and Boston Celtics (40-19) in the Eastern Conference standings. But heading into the NBA All-Star break, the Cavaliers are still the top title contender in the East at +600 (bet $100 to win $600) on the odds to win the NBA championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Cleveland made a number of changes prior to the trade deadline in an effort to make a run at the franchise's second championship in three years, replacing former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose with hungrier players who fit better, bringing in George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood.
If this is truly the last year for LeBron James with the Cavaliers, they made a serious effort to improve and will take a four-game winning streak into the last two months of the regular season.
The Raptors have won seven straight though, and appear headed toward a franchise-best record along with the No. 1 seed in the East if they can hold off the Celtics in the Atlantic Division. Toronto might have the most value on the betting board at +2200 to win its first-ever NBA title after opening at +5000. Boston is the +1200 fourth choice to win it all behind Cleveland and a couple Western Conference teams listed at the top.
The Golden State Warriors (44-14) trail the Houston Rockets (44-13) by a half-game in the Western Conference standings, and they have already lost two of the three regular-season meetings. That means the Rockets would win a tie-breaker for the No. 1 seed, which could be huge if they meet in the Western Conference Finals as expected.
Houston is riding a 10-game winning streak and has improved to +400 on the 2018 NBA championship odds from an opener of +700. However, despite some occasional bumps in the road, Golden State is still the team to beat as the -180 favorite (bet $180 to win $100) to repeat as league champion.
The Rockets and Warriors have only strengthened their position in the West, pushing other contenders in the conference like the Oklahoma City Thunder (33-26) and San Antonio Spurs (35-24) down the betting board. The Thunder have dropped from +1200 to +2000 while the Spurs have fallen from +1600 to +2500.