I have never really put a lot of stock into odds posted by Las Vegas odds makers when it comes to predicting championships in professional sports. The sports junkie in me loves the analysis that takes place when these odds are announced but I never thought they can truly give you a picture what will unfold when the season starts. There are so many variables that can change the trajectory of a professional sports league like injuries, surprise players, blockbuster trades and underachieving teams.
This year is no different when it comes to the odds for the 2015 National Basketball League Championship. Lebron James return to Northern Ohio and the Cavaliers has put Cleveland back into the conversation as one of the favorites to win the title. The acquisition of forward Kevin Love from Minnesota, that was finalized Saturday, August 23, gives James and Kyrie Irving an elite big man and the best rebounder in the league. The excitement that surrounds the Cavs organization is very well warranted, when the best player in the game comes to your team you immediately become a contender. Most odds makers have the James led Cavs as 5/2 favorites to win the 2015 championship followed by the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls (depending on Derrick Rose’s health) and Oklahoma City Thunder.
While all this excitement surrounding James return to Cleveland is warranted the fact that the Cavs are the odds on favorite to win the title seems unfair to what the San Antonio Spurs accomplished last season. The odds makers must not have seen what the Spurs have done the past few years. The Spurs have won 58+ games in three out of the last four seasons, have the best power forward to ever play the game, one of the best point guards in the league and a coach that will be remembered in the same breath as Riley and Jackson.
The argument you will hear to justify the Spurs not being the odds favorite to win is their age. The same excuse that has been used the past two seasons when the Spurs have made back to back Finals appearances and 2014 champions. This team, which will return every player from their championship squad, put on one of the most efficient offensive performances the league has ever seen in their defeat of the James led Heat in this years past Finals. They show what can be achieved when a group buys into playing team basketball.
Cleveland will be fun to watch this season but San Antonio will not hand over the title of world champion without a fight…..and who is to say that won’t be better this year than they were last year.