2024 NBA Playoffs: Can The Cavs Pull Through?

2024 NBA Playoffs: Can The Cavs Pull Through?
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Editor's Note: This story was updated on May 14, 2024.

What has been a Cinderella story of sorts in the Buckeye State might be ending for the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers and their backers at Ohio sportsbooks. The Cavs find their backs against the wall against the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the second round of the NBA playoffs, with Cleveland trailing 3-1 in the series.

The Cavs’ latest loss came on Monday night, when Cleveland ran out of steam with veteran guard Donovan Mitchell sitting out with an injury, as the visitors from Massachusetts won 109-102 in Game 4.

What are the chances that Cleveland can come all the way back? This chart shows how unlikely it is:

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NBA Results When Down 3-1 Since 2019

Win Series

Lose Series



The Cleveland Cavaliers are down 3-1 against the Boston Celtics heading into Game 5 of their best-of-seven second-round series. BetOhio.com, where you’ll find the best Ohio sports betting promos, used the Sports-Reference website to find out how often teams came back from a 3-1 deficit to win a second-round series in the past five years. We found that one team out of seven won their second round series when down 3-1. Data was from all NBA conference semifinal series between the 2018-19 season and 2022-23 season, where one team won three of the first four games.

Behind Jayson Tatum’s game-high 33 points and a 48-32 rebounding advantage, Boston withstood Cleveland’s offense on the road in Monday’s Game 4, holding the Cavs to 43.6% shooting including 31.3% from behind the 3-point line. With that deficit, Caesars Sportsbook Ohio lists the Cavs at +15000 odds to win the next three games, eliminate the Celtics and reach the Eastern Conference final. The Celtics are a whopping -100000 bet to oust Cleveland.

Winning three straight elimination games is a tough task of any team, but Cleveland is very likely being asked to do it without Mitchell, who has been the team’s leading scorer (by far) in the playoffs, with 29.6 PPG in 10 games overall. Mitchell missed Game 4; according to various media reports, his status for Game 5 on Wednesday in Boston (7 p.m. Eastern, TNT) is in doubt.

Given that fact, it’s likely of little surprise to learn that oddsmakers from BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio list Cleveland as a 15.5-point home underdog in Game 5.

Regardless of the odds, Cleveland will get back out there and try to get a game closer to advancing on Wednesday night against Boston, looking to join the one out of seven teams that have faced similar odds in the last five years in a conference semifinal series since 2019 – that team, by the way, was the 2020 Denver Nuggets, who erased a 3-1 series deficit in the second round against the Los Angeles Clippers.

2023-24 Cavaliers Performance

Using Sports-Reference.com, BetOhio investigated the past 10 NBA champions (in full seasons) to see what the average win-loss percentage and average points scored during the season was. Based on this, this season’s Cleveland Cavaliers have scored more points per game, but have not won as many regular-season games as past champions.

We only factored in years with 82 regular-season games, removing the 2020-21, 2019-20, and 2011-12 seasons from the data.

W-L Pct.

Points Per Game



Another successful season along the banks of the Cuyahoga River has led the Cavs to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time in the post-LeBron era.

Oddsmakers from Bet365 Sportsbook Ohio have the Cavs at +75000 to win the title during the 2024 NBA Playoffs, as of Tuesday afternoon. Their opponents in this round, the Celtics, are favored at -140 odds.

Average NBA Champion’s Performance

W-L Pct.

Points Per Game



There are plenty of NBA betting options at Ohio sportsbook apps.

Since James left Cleveland for the second time in 2018, the Cavs have gone .500 or better three times, in each of the past three seasons. But until this year, Cleveland had not won a playoff series during that time. That changed this year when Cleveland outlasted the Orlando Magic to win a tense, seven-game series in the first round.

Team leaders like Jarrett Allen (who had a team-high 10.7 win shares in the regular season), Donovan Mitchell (6.4 WS in 55 games) and Evan Mobley (5.5 WS in 50 games) helped Cleveland get this far.

As you can see from the charts above, in the regular season the Cavs paced ahead of the average points per game scored by the past 10 NBA champions (from seasons that went a full 82 games). However, those 10 champs had a .729 average winning percentage, way ahead of Cleveland’s .585 this season. The Cavs seek to become the first team since the 1995 Houston Rockets to win an NBA title after earning fewer than 50 regular-season victories in an 82-game season.

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Recent Champs With Best, Worst Records

Season, TeamW-L Pct.Pts. Per Game

2022-23 Denver Nuggets



2021-22 Golden State Warriors



2018-19 Toronto Raptors



2017-18 Golden State Warriors



2016-17 Golden State Warriors



2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers



2014-15 Golden State Warriors



2013-14 San Antonio Spurs



2012-13 Miami Heat



2010-11 Dallas Mavericks



Since 2010, the teams with the lowest regular-season winning percentage to earn the Larry O’Brien Trophy were the Golden State Warriors in 2022 and the Denver Nuggets in 2023. Both teams won it all after going 53-29 (a .646 winning percentage) in 82 regular-season games.

Conversely, the best title winner since 2010 was Golden State in 2014-15 and 2016-17, when the franchise finished the regular season at 67-15 (.817) both times. That beating out James’ Miami Heat team in 2012-13, which went 66-16 (.805) before winning a title.

This year, Cleveland will look to knock off the last two NBA champs as the “worst” title winner in recent league history, which would be a Cavaliers playoffs run to remember in northern Ohio.

Turn to BetOhio.com for the best Ohio sports betting promos all during the NBA playoffs and at any time of year.

USA Today photo by David Richard



Christopher Boan writes for BetOhio.com and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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