Does Kevin Durant’s Injury Strengthen Cavaliers’ Title Odds?
Posted on: March 1, 2017, 01:00h.
Last updated on: March 1, 2017, 09:15h.
Kevin Durant is expected to miss considerable time after hyperextending his left knee during last night’s game against the Washington Wizards.
Not only did the team with the best record in the NBA lose the game, but Golden State also lost its best player in Durant.
The season-long heavy favorite at Las Vegas sportsbooks, the Warriors are now expected to become less appealing to bettors taking futures on the NBA title. The likely recipient of the bets will be the Cleveland Cavaliers, the defending champs who perhaps made the best moves before the trade deadline last week.
But oddsmakers likely won’t be adjusting their lines too considerably after Durant’s MRI results came back fairly positive. The team says their star forward suffered a bone bruise on his left leg, and is expected to be out at least four weeks.
Before the injury, the Westgate SuperBook had Golden State at 5-11. This morning, book manager Jeff Sherman slightly tweaked the line to 1-2. Westgate is staying put with Cleveland at 5-2.
Online, Bovada still has the Warriors as the favorite at -150, with the Cavs next at +300. Those looking to put money on the Cavs will find their best odds at BetNow, a European internet sportsbook that has LeBron James’ squad at +350 to repeat.
After last night’s game, there was plenty of speculation that Durant would miss the rest of the regular season, if not be done for the year including the playoffs. That would have created plenty of excitement at Nevada sportsbooks.
Golden State has four starters that made the all-star game this year. In addition to Durant, the Warriors are loaded with Steph Curry, the two-time defending MVP, as well as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The Cavs are thought to be the only team that can realistically matchup against Golden State. James is complimented by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the latter currently sidelined with his own knee surgery.
The loss of Durant for the playoffs would have made the likely impending NBA Finals even more attractive to sports bettors.
Without him, the Cavs and Warriors might be more evenly matched, but his absence leading up to the playoffs will still create plenty of questions that will need to be answered. Will Durant be playoff-ready when he returns? Will his game be rusty? Will he come back too soon and risk another injury? All are valid questions that bettors will need to consider.
Warriors, Cavs, and Everyone Else
The Durant injury caused Golden State to quickly sign veteran swingman Matt Barnes. The Cavs recently added Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut to round out their bench.
Barring a big upset, most believe it’s once again the Warriors and Cavs destined for the NBA Finals. That would mark the third straight year the two teams battle for the title, and will serve as a tiebreaker as each has one championship.
It would also be the first time in NBA history that the same two teams competed in the Finals in three consecutive years.
Don’t think it will happen? The SuperBook has the Spurs at 7-1, followed by the Rockets (20-1), Celtics and Clippers (25-1), Raptors and Wizards (30-1), and Jazz at 60-1.