The Cleveland Cavaliers are set to make the postseason for the first time since falling in the 2018 NBA Finals. It will be Cleveland’s first playoff appearance without LeBron James on the team since 1998.
So, how are Ohio sportsbooks to assess this squad in the first season bettors can place wagers in the state?
Where Cavaliers Stand
The Cavaliers are currently 39-26 and hold the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland has a 1.5-game lead on the New York Knicks (37-27) for the fourth seed in the East. That is important due to the first-round home-court advantage that comes with it.
Cleveland will have to continue to win to hold off the Knicks for home-court advantage.
What Home Court Has Meant
How important is home-court advantage for the Cavaliers? During LeBron James’ two stints in Cleveland (2003-2010, 2014-2018), it was crucial.
This is well worth considering when you turn to your Ohio sports betting app.
In nine playoff trips this century, the Cavaliers were 15-2 in playoff series with home-court advantage. The two losses came in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals to the Orlando Magic and the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics, the final series for LeBron before he went on to join the Miami Heat.
When the Cavaliers did not have home-court advantage in a series, they went 6-6. Of note, during the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Cavaliers were an impressive 5-2 without home-court advantage and 1-4 in the NBA Finals. Cleveland beat the higher-seeded Atlanta Hawks in 2015 and the higher-seeded Boston Celtics in 2017 and 2018.
In five trips to the NBA Finals, Cleveland started on the road each time. After being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007, the Cavaliers returned to the NBA Finals for four consecutive years from 2015-2018, prevailing just once in 2016 with a dramatic Game 7 victory on the road to give the franchise its first-ever championship.
Cavaliers Can Earn Home Court
Cleveland controls its own destiny to earn one of the Eastern Conference’s top seeds this spring. In March, eight of the Cavs’ 14 games are against teams currently in the Top 7 in the Eastern Conference.
Next up are home games against the Detroit Pistons (Saturday) and Celtics (Monday). The Cavs lost a close one in Boston Wednesday night, 117-113.
Fortunately for the Cavaliers, the schedule gets easier during the regular-season’s final stretch. Five of Cleveland’s final seven games are against teams with losing records, including all four April contests, when they host the Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets and visit the Orlando Magic twice.
Cleveland Cavaliers Odds
The Cavaliers offer long odds to sports bettors who think J.B. Bickerstaff’s team can bust some brackets this spring.
Cleveland is 20-to-1 (+2000) to win the Central Division, according to DraftKings Ohio Sportsbook, with the Milwaukee Bucks, currently tied for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, as a heavy favorite (-10000). The Bucks are expected to welcome back star center Giannis Antetokounmpo this week after suffering wrist and quad injuries.
Cleveland has the fourth-highest odds to win the Eastern Conference at 14-to-1 (+1400), according to DraftKings. Cleveland is a distant underdog behind the Celtics (+120), Bucks (+200) and Philadelphia 76ers (+500).
Tipico Ohio Sportsbook, meanwhile, has better odds to win the conference. The Cavs are +1200 at Tipico.
The same is true to win it all. Tipico has Cleveland at +2000, but DraftKings has odds of +4000.
The Cavaliers could make bettors happy before the postseason even tips off. Cleveland needs to go just 9-9 over its final 18 games to go over their preseason win total (47.5).
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