If one has faith in the recovery of LeBron James from his injury giving him the opportunity to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first professional basketball championship in 51 years, then the best time to place a bet is likely now.
Odds are dropping on the Cavaliers. According to Bovada and sportsbook.com, Cleveland went from 13 to 4 to 5 to 1 since early December, while at topbet and betonline, the Cavs are 4 to 1 to win it all.
Since James took the decision to sit out for what was billed initially as a hiatus of two weeks, but could end up being shorter, Cleveland is just 1-4.
Kyrie Irving is now on the team’s inactive list with James. Fortunately, more help is coming.
With their recent trade to acquire J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, the Cavaliers will be helped with experience and scoring.
Dion Waters is gone to Oklahoma City and his quickly fading reputation left with him. He was hit or miss on too many occasions with Cleveland.
With Smith, they acquired a guard with playoff experience, while Waiters has none.
Smith can also pay good defense and that will be important when the playoffs roll around.
Shumpert should at some point replace Matthew Dellavedova as the starting No. 2 guard and instantly be the best defender on the ball the Cavs will have.
Shumpert’s presence will give Irving the chance to defend the weaker opposing guard each night.
The Chicago Bulls have crept up the futures board going from 17 to 2 down to 11 to 2 to win the championship.
With Derrick Rose looking less injury prone of late, Nikola Mirotic emerging as an important facet and Jimmy Butler becoming a legitimate NBA star, the Bulls are making a name for themselves on the futures board.
One online site has the Bulls and Cavaliers even at +180 to be the Eastern Conference champions. However, that same site has moved Atlanta to +500, just over Toronto at +650.
On another futures board, Atlanta is down from 75 to 1 to 25 to 1 to win the NBA title, which is the biggest move by any team in December.
Unless Cleveland can make up six games over the second half of the season to catch Chicago in the East, the club will likely be a 4 or 5 seed.
However, Shumpert and Smith should help the Cavs during the second half, especially when Irving and James are back to 100% health.
Be it Toronto, Atlanta, Chicago or Cleveland, the time to jump aboard is now as the four will likely separate themselves further from the rest of the conference after the All-Star break.