Fresh off their historic comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to win their franchise’s first NBA crown, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves trailing the +200 Golden State Warriors on the odds to win the 2017 NBA title at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Golden State recorded a record-shattering 73 regular-season victories last year, but with MVP Stephen Curry hobbled by injury during the playoffs the Warriors fell short of a second straight NBA title after sitting atop the NBA championship odds for most of the season.
With NBA Finals MVP LeBron James committed to returning to Cleveland for at least another year, the Cavaliers closely trail the Warriors with +225 odds to claim a second straight title.
James is just one of eight Cavaliers hitting free agency this summer, including shooting guard JR Smith, while Kevin Love remains the subject of persistent trade rumors following a disappointing postseason.
While the Cavaliers and Warriors are expected to return in the fall with their cores largely intact, the winds of change may be blowing in San Antonio where the Spurs have opened as a +750 bet for 2017 following an early exit from this year’s NBA playoffs.
The Spurs were ousted in six games by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round after ending the regular season with an impressive 67 wins and now must make tough decisions regarding veterans Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, who both hit unrestricted free agency this summer.
The Thunder ride high on the NBA championship odds, rounding out the favorites at +850 following an impressive playoff run that brought them within one victory of their first berth in the NBA Finals since 2012.
While Oklahoma City has opened strong on the odds, its position is likely to change depending on where star forward Kevin Durant lands this summer. The 27-year-old has garnered considerable interest from teams around the league as he approaches unrestricted free agency, and his departure from OKC would likely have an impact on the Thunder’s odds.
The Los Angeles Clippers follow up another disappointing playoff run at +2000 odds, while the Toronto Raptors have followed up their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals by opening alongside the Atlantic Division rival Boston Celtics at +2500 on the 2017 title odds.
The Chicago Bulls join the Miami Heat at +3300, ahead of the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets, knotted at +5000, while the Dallas Mavericks are deadlocked with the youthful New Orleans Pelicans at +6600.