Are the Cavs Turning into a Sportsbook Disaster?
Posted by: Anthony Yaylor
The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t start the season as NBA betting favorites to win a repeat title, but the majority of sportsbooks gave the James-led Cavaliers some pretty good odds of having a successful season. But if you’ve been following the recent coverage of Cleveland, you might be lead to believe that things are far from dandy.
So far in 2017, the Cavaliers have posted a 5-7 record. Most recently, Cleveland has racked up three consecutive losses. With so many NBA betting upsets racked up in such a short period of time, one would expect some other team to come along and rob Cleveland of their No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the Cavs have lucked out and all of the teams that could have given them a run for their money; Raptors, Celtics, Hawks, have all either hit a slump or have failed to rise to the occasion.
But still, a foreboding atmosphere has arisen in Cleveland’s organization. After their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this week, the frustration within LeBron built to a tipping point and the face of the franchise decided to go public with his disappointments.
“I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization,” James insinuated to reporters after the loss to the Pelicans. “I just hope we’re not satisfied. We’re not better than last year from a personnel standpoint.”
While James originally threw in some subtlety into his first comments, as he continued to digress the real issues that James was upset with came to light. The 4-time MVP and longtime sportsbook favorite feels that the franchise has eased up on their spending, due to becoming complacent with last year’s NBA title. When James was considering a return to Cleveland from Miami in 2014, he made sure team owner Dan Gilbert had no qualms about spending big bucks on the best talent, no matter what the luxury tax demanded.
Gilbert assured the superstar that spending would not be an issue and he certainly held up his end of the deal. In the 2014-15 season Gilbert dished out $82 million in salaries and an additional $7 million in luxury tax. However, that proved to be insufficient as the Cavs were only able to get to the championship game where the Warriors took care of business.
Last season, Gilbert took his spending to another level and paid $107 million in salaries as well as $54 million in luxury tax. Albeit, the spending paid off as Cleveland was able to break their NBA betting championship drought.
This year the Cavaliers will spend $127.6 million in wages and $27 million in luxury tax. Nevertheless, James is still upset with what he perceives as an inadequate drive to repeat.
“It’s like when you don’t have bodies. It’s tough,” James continued. “The f–ing grind of the regular season. We’re a top-heavy team. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as s—. It’s me, [Kylie Irving], [Kevin Love]. It’s top-heavy.”
While there’s no doubt that James’ frustration has built up throughout this losing streak, it one could just as easily criticize James for his lack of leadership. Sure, maybe the Cavaliers are running low on superstars. But to publically criticize your roster and say that only three guys are worth having, will only damage the morale of the team as a whole and further complicates your chances of winning. James has led this city to a championship, but his recent antics will lead to nothing more than condemnation.
Nevertheless, thanks to all the top teams in the East hitting a slump, the Cavs are still in a great position to make the postseason – where being top-heavy isn’t as inhibiting due to teams’ having adequate time to rest. James might be starting to worry, but most basketball betting sites still feel pretty confident about Cleveland. Just take a look.
ODDS TO WIN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP
Cleveland Cavaliers +290