2018 Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
It's obvious what is going to happen with the Cavaliers this year. They will endure rough spots during the season when they seem doomed, and in the playoffs as well, but when it matters LeBron will rise up, put them on his back, and carry them to the finals where they will lose to the Warriors. That's how it always happens. Oh wait, the old and reliable script doesn't work anymore. James has left for a second time, gone to Hollywood to be a movie star and producer, and to play some ball on the side. And now the team has to find their way without him. They have been here before, of course, but it didn't go particularly well back then. Will it be any better this time?
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Kevin Love, with a four-year contract for $120 million, is unquestionably the man in Cleveland, a role he hasn't played since he was in Minnesota. No more being LeBron's barely-tolerated bitch. No more living in the ego shadow of Kyrie Irving. He's the guy. And it should lead to a jump in his stats. His biggest asset is that he is potent both inside and out on offense, but those inside options were limited in recent years. Now he will be the center of this offense, and he'll get the ball where he needs it. He should be able to play with more joy and in a way that more effectively uses his tools. He is a reason to be optimistic. Somewhat optimistic, anyway.
It will be equally interesting to see what Ty Lue looks like as a coach without LeBron James. Put more accurately, though Lue has coached the team for two and a half seasons, this is the first time that he has actually been in charge. He would never admit it, but it has to be a relief for him. Now we have to see if he is actually up to the challenge and if he can keep players happy when the wins surely won't come as easily.
2018 Cleveland Cavaliers Additions and Departures
Obviously, the best player on the team, and in the league, left. And obviously that isn't ideal. Far from it - especially since he left in free agency, so they got nothing to make up for his loss. There is not much more to be said about that.
The big addition of the offseason came in the draft, when the team took Collin Sexton eighth overall. This was with a pick that came from the Kyrie Irving trade, so the young point guard is really directly replacing their former star. It's big shoes to fill, but Sexton is a very talented guy. He is wildly confident and has all sorts of game. He is going to have to adjust to the NBA game, and he is going to have to work better with teammates - in college he could be much more selfish than he can afford to be here. But he has massive star potential, and if I had to pick one guard from this point guard-heavy draft it should be him without hesitation. He is being asked to carry a very big load right out of the gate, though. George Hill isn't a great ball distributor, and his scoring touch has faded the last couple of years, so success will depend heavily on Sexton stepping up and looking like a star right out of the gate.
Aside from that, the changes weren't significant for the team. Jeff Green, Jose Calderon and Kendrick Perkins were sent packing. The biggest free agent addition was Channing Frye, who is useful both as a shooter and as a mentor for Sexton and the other young guys on the team. David Nwaba was surprisingly effective as a guard who started some games and came off the bench more for Chicago last year. He plays acceptable offense and is defensively sound. The Cavs are only paying him $1.5 million, so he has a chance to be a real steal if he can find his role on this team.
2018 Cleveland Cavaliers Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +45000
Eastern Conference title odds : +8000
Collin Sexton ROY Odds: +700
Season win total: 30.5
Cleveland went 40-63-1 ATS last season including the playoffs, so despite being good enough to make the finals they were the worst betting team in the league. In fact, they lost 61.2 percent of their games against the spread, so they were very profitable to bet against. They went "under" the total 54 times and "over" 48, so there were smaller profits to be made on the under as well.
2018 Cleveland Cavaliers Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I like Sexton a lot, and I like that Love is getting this chance after seemingly not having a lot of fun the last few years. But the team just doesn't have the depth to be a relevant force of any kind here. I guess they could go over this win total if Sexton hits the ground running, but I wouldn't bet anything of significance on it happening. They aren't in a serious rebuilding mode, and they don't need to be, but they have to be looking towards being more competitive next year than this.
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