2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions and NBA Futures Odds Picks
I've written a preview of every team in the NBA before the season starts . I left Cleveland until last, putting it off for as long as I possibly could. I mean, I willingly and intentionally previewed the Knicks, Magic and Bulls before doing Cleveland. Why? Because it's just so depressing. They made all sorts of changes, bringing in more old guys that Lebron James hopes will accept his greatness, bow down appropriately, and help him win while staying out of his spotlight. There was plenty of drama - from the head office on down. LeBron was, when not speaking out politically, often the baby he always is. It's ridiculous. And none of it matters. This is just so boring.
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We know they aren't going to care about the regular season any more than they have to. We know that James will be ornery at times, openly complaining when things don't go just his way. But we also know that they will make the Eastern Conference final, that they will be challenged by Boston but will have the edge, and that the winner of the East will be lucky to win a game in the finals against Golden State. All this superpower consolidation in the NBA has made for a very exciting summer, and is fun to talk about, but if anything it has made the league less engaging in the end. It's as if the season is over before it even starts, and that just isn't something that I can get excited about writing about. James is that good, and he makes things in the East that uninteresting.
2017 Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Storylines
Isaiah Thomas is the new Kyrie Irving, so that's a good place to start. He's likely to be out of action until at least January with his hip issues. And as long as you have faith that he is going to be healthy at some point it is hard to see how that actually matters. For one thing, Kevin Love has played his best ball recently when Kyrie Irving was out of the lineup. He is asked to do more, he gets more looks, and he feels more liberated and creative. His mojo has been in short supply for long stretches of his time in Cleveland, but when the star point guard isn't there he steps up. This is an extended chance for Love to get his groove back, and that could really pay dividends when the games actually matter if he can sustain it. And second, the Cavs are going to care less about the first half of the season than any other team in the league - by a very wide margin. As long as Thomas is able to return soon enough to find chemistry with James and the rest of the team then everything will be fine. It's only about the playoffs for this team, and in the truly pathetic East the team can not only make the playoffs without him, but wrap up home-court advantage for a round or two. If you think the team cares about more than that then you obviously weren't watching last season. Third, they have options. Neither Derrick Rose nor Jose Calderon are long-term solutions, neither is anywhere near their best anymore, and I wouldn't want to rely on either all year. But can the two of them together get Cleveland to January in good enough shape? Absolutely. And Dwyane Wade can fill in adequately for some time as well. If Thomas can't come back, or isn't effective when he does, then things change. But until then this is not a reason for significant concern.
The only really interesting thing about the team is the potential for it all to go off the rails. Tyronn Lue is a puppet and could easily lose control. If Thomas doesn't get back healthy, or the old roster can't stay healthy, or if James were to get banged up, or if James finally snaps and rips Love's larynx out and eats it in practice, then they could hit a rough patch. James seems more frustrated than normal between losing last year and the Irving drama. If this starts to feel like a lost season then James could look towards his future and where he is going to play next year. They would still be one of the better teams in the conference, but it could make them more vulnerable. Simply put, if James isn't bought in then the team is nothing. Let's be clear, though - I don't think that this will happen. But I have to have something to speculate about.
2017 Cleveland Cavaliers Additions and Departures
It was a tumultuous offseason. The head office was shaken up, but we'll stick to the floor. The big news was obviously the Irving trade demand. They traded him to Boston in the end, getting Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a couple of draft picks back. And then they added bodies - Rose, Calderon, Wade, Jeff Green and Cedi Osman. Osman is the only one who got more than one year, and all of the contracts are small and manageable. With all of the bodies, the biggest challenge for the team is going to be to find enough playing time to keep them happy. Once Thomas is healthy both the backcourt and the forwards have a lot of depth. It's a decent problem to have, I guess, and with as many old guys as there are you can be confident that injuries will ease the traffic jam a little bit.
2017 Cleveland Cavaliers Futures Odds and Trends
Cleveland Cavaliers Futures Odds
NBA title odds ( from BetOnline ) : +350
Eastern Conference title odds : -150
LeBron James MVP Odds ( from Bovada ) : +500 (second best)
Isaiah Thomas MVP Odds : +3500
Kevin Love MVP Odds : +20000
Season win total (from BetOnline): 54.5 ("under" is favored at -120)
The season was not a success from a betting perspective last year, which is no surprise given their public status. They were 36-43-3 ATS. The "over" produced nice profits, though - they went over the total 47 times and under just 34.
2017 Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I don't want what this team is doing to work. But it will. They will finish no worse than third in the East. They will beat Boston in the Eastern final in a tight series. They will get crushed by Golden State in the championship. And James will play in the Western Conference next year. Yawn. I don't see any reason to bet the season win total because the team will have no interest in regular-season success and can't be trusted one way or the other. They could win 65 or 50 and none of it would be a surprise.
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