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Cleveland Cavaliers Odds - Can "King" James sit on the NBA Finals throne?

Posted by Craig Parsons on 2/3/2014 6:59:55 AM

This year’s Cleveland Cavaliers odds has them as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, but last year’s loss in the Eastern Conference finals exposed a lot of frailties in their lineup. Sportsbook players are eager to see if the addition of Shaquille O’Neal was the last piece of the puzzle for LeBron James’ quest for his first NBA title.




Cleveland Cavaliers Odds: +395 to win NBA Championship

  • “King” James gets another sidekick in Shaq
  • Cavs look to remain best defensive team in basketball
  • Boston is still main obstacle in their way in the East


Cleveland Cavaliers odds maker breakdown: STARTING FIVE
It all begins and ends with James, and the reigning MVP should have a chip on his shoulder after last year’s loss to Orlando in the Eastern Conference finals. Shaquille O’Neal brings his larger-than-life personality to the Cavs, and Anderson Varejao comes in at the four. Mo Williams is the starter at the point, while the shooting-guard spot could be up for grabs if Delonte West is suspended due to legal problems.


Cleveland Cavaliers odds maker breakdown: BENCH
West’s possible suspension would hurt the Cavs’ bench as it would force Anthony Parker into the starting five. Jamario Moon leads the group of forwards off the bench, while “Boobie” Gibson is still stuck behind Williams at the point. However, Gibson is really a two guard, which gives the Cavs flexibility in the back court. Zydrunas Ilgauskas gives the Cavs an excellent backup for O’Neal, and insurance if the “Big Aristotle” were to be injured. If “Big Z” is in the lineup, Cleveland’s NBA betting chances won’t move that much, if at all.


Cleveland Cavaliers odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE
The Cavs’ offense, like their online betting chances, runs through James and his ability to draw extra defenders. This will free up their shooters, who went cold against Orlando. However, Cleveland fails to make adjustments when teams figure out how to stop this type of offense. O’Neal doesn’t draw the double teams he used to, but when he does, he’s one of the best post passers in the league.


Cleveland Cavaliers odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE
Cleveland led the league in fewest points allowed last year, and again, a lot of it had to do with James, who became a more committed defender. His size allows him to handle opponents in the post, but he’s great on the perimeter as well. O’Neal takes up space, but his time in Phoenix showed that he has problems with defending the pick-and-roll, which is where Varejao, who led the league in charges taken, steps in. Also, the Cavs’ guards are a bit undersized.


Cleveland Cavaliers odds maker breakdown: COACHING
Mike Brown made the Cavs into a defensive powerhouse, and the Coach of the Year award was his reward for guiding Cleveland to the league’s best record. However, he still has a lot to learn offensively. The adjustments that need to be made when opposing teams key on James fall on his shoulders, and he has to be more flexible in terms of offense.


Cleveland Cavaliers odds maker breakdown: SEASON OUTLOOK
The Cavaliers are deeper than before, and O’Neal brings championship experience, a big body and he’ll also help take some of the media attention off James. We’ll get to see if James can co-exist with another big personality such as Shaq, who has constantly said he’s the sidekick, James is the leader, but we’ll see how far that goes. Even though they lost to Orlando, Boston is the team that the Cavs have to worry about, especially with a healthy Kevin Garnett, and I’m still not sold on Brown’s offensive-coaching ability. It’s not “King” James’ time quite yet.


For more of the best sports betting articles on the internet and previews of all 30 NBA teams, check back with the betonline.com Betting Edge daily.

Craig Parsons is betonline.com's college basketball expert.

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