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LeBron to Cleveland rumors have bettors putting money on Cavs to win it all next season (and Vegas backtracking)

Jul 8, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

Detroit Pistons v Cleveland Cavaliers Detroit Pistons v Cleveland Cavaliers

Winning at sports gambling is about taking smart risks, ones that could pay off with a nice reward. Find the good odds where you think the bookmakers (or the betting public pushing them) is off target then jump on it.

After the NBA Finals last season, when future bet odds on next season’s NBA champion came out, the Cleveland Cavaliers were between 40-1 and 60-1, depending on where you looked. Then the LeBron James return to Cleveland rumors started picking up steam — and gamblers saw the value and started putting money on the Cavs while the odds were still high.

Doesn’t matter that LeBron has yet to make a decision (and the Heat remain confident), and it doesn’t matter that if LeBron picks Cleveland that is a young, untested team that may not be able to win it all year one. LeBron instantly makes any team a contender and if you can place money on a potential contender at long odds, it’s worth the risk.

People did, particularly fans (these tend not to be large, professional bets), and Vegas is freaking out just a little, as David Purdum wrote for ESPN.

More bets have been placed on the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the 2015 NBA title than on any other team at the Las Vegas Superbook.

“They are our biggest liability right now,” said MGM VP of Race and Sports Jay Rood. “We took a dime ($1,000) on them at 40-1.”

The Cavs are currently down to 10-1 at the MGM.

For bookmakers, sports gambling is about covering their risks, and the Cavs have become a risk to cost them money.

You can find the odds now and place a bet at online casinos as well as some spots in Vegas, although a number of casinos have taken down NBA futures betting until free agency plays out (some casinos, such as the Wynn, have had that as their policy for years).

If LeBron jumps to Cleveland, the Cavs still are not likely to be favorited against the best of the West (and maybe Chicago, depending upon who they do or do not land in free agency). That according to Las Vegas Superbook assistant manager and head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman, speaking in that same ESPN piece.

If James were return to Cleveland, where he spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career, Sherman said he would adjust the Cavs’ odds to around 8-1.

“They are such a young team,” Sherman said of the Cavaliers. “They would be better positioned for the next season than this upcoming one.”

  1. seasickcecil - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Don’t know who Lebron is going to choose but the republicans just chose Cleveland for the 2016 RNC.

  2. coltzfan166 - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    Even if LeBron returns to Cleveland, they aren’t better than the Spurs. Not even close.

    • jeffkx - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      As a Cavs fan I have to agree..but once the young guys grow a little WATCH OUT..

      • mogogo1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        But that same line has been used with the Cavs so often it’s stopped meaning anything.

    • jeffkx - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      But the Cavs team you see now wouldn’t be the same if LeBron comes back..think we’d have to make a big time trade..may still not be better than the Spurs though..

    • antistratfordian - Jul 8, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      Might not have to worry about that. Hard to say who is coming out of the West.

  3. fnc111 - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Vegas books always cry when they think they’ll lose a little money. Caesars is the biggest joke. They won’t payout a win over $10,000.

    They all certainly have amnesia when it comes to who helped build their monstrous resorts on the strip.

  4. 2016olympics - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    To people betting on Cleveland to win it all…why don’t you give me half the money you were going to bet, I’ll go ahead and kick you square in the nuts, and we’ll call it a day.

    • jeffkx - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      Have to agree even as a Cavs fan..but any team with LeBron on it has a shot..let alone Kyrie and some other nice pieces..

      • fanofthegame79 - Jul 8, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        And those odds would have to increase (decrease?) even more if they Cavs pulled off a trade to land Kevin Love.

  5. money2long - Jul 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    What’s the percentage of people who bet on Cleveland to win it all are the same ones who said it would be a cold day in hell before lebron left Miami?

  6. clevelandrox - Jul 8, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    vegas aint stupid… ; )

    • chiadam - Jul 8, 2014 at 2:28 PM


      – Vegas Super Bows odds

      • infieldhit - Jul 8, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        Aren’t the odds determined by how they think the betting will go, and not what they think the actual outcome will be?

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 8, 2014 at 6:42 PM


        yes, you’re correct. not enough understand betting to know this though.

        vegas sets lines they think will cause a lot of betting to take place, because THAT is what they want.

        they do NOT care which team is going to win and by how much. Vegas ONLY cares about making money.

        it isn’t odds that a team will win, the odds they set causes money to change hands and betting to occur. has nothing to do with how much a team will win by.

  7. fordmandalay - Jul 8, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Wow, Cleveland winning the championship. That might be the final nail in the NBA’s coffin!

  8. jvw1982 - Jul 8, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    If Lebron goes to Cleveland he his doing so with the expectations he will be able to buy into ownership when he retires….Lebron is a great businessman and I am sure he would love to own a piece of the team in his home town…..

    • mogogo1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      Agree with this. If he goes back it’s going to become ALL about the legacy. And not only would ownership be very lucrative, that would be something precious few other players have done before.

  9. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 8, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Gambling is never wise. It is an extremely immoral use of time and money; especially buying lottery tickets.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 8, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      are the bingo games at the church unwise too?

      • 22yearsagotoday - Jul 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        Only in the Bible Belt.

  10. onbucky96 - Jul 8, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    REPORT: According to sources, LeBron James will play for The Klingon Empire next season.

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