This article is part of our NBA Picks series.
After acquiring Donovan Mitchell in a blockbuster offseason trade, the Cavaliers have gone from pretenders to contenders. This Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals odds update delves into how Cleveland's title chances have shifted compared to the preseason, and examines why the Cavaliers' current chances may be underrated or overrated.
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Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals Odds Update
Coming into the season, the Cavaliers were viewed as a likely playoff team, but not necessarily contenders to win the Eastern Conference. Their preseason odds to make the NBA Finals typically slotted in around +1500, well behind the Celtics, Nets, Bucks, 76ers and Heat, but ahead of the remaining nine Eastern Conference teams.
This Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals odds update reveals that the team's chances of winning the East have improved. Caesars Sportsbook now has the Cavaliers at +800, while BetMGM (+900), FanDuel Sportsbook (+900), and DraftKings Sportsbook (+1100) have all shortened Cleveland's NBA Finals odds compared to preseason expectations as well. At all four of those mobile sportsbooks, the Cavaliers now have the fifth-best odds behind the Celtics, Bucks, Nets, and 76ers.
Why The Cavaliers Could Win The East - Mitchell Leads The Way
The Cavaliers lost in the play-in round last season and failed to make the NBA playoffs after a 44-38 regular season, so what makes them a top-five contender to make the NBA Finals in 2023? The answer is Donovan Mitchell. Cleveland traded for the three-time Western Conference All-Star guard in the offseason, sending a package consisting of Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three first-round picks, and two pick swaps to Utah.
Mitchell has immediately become the face of the franchise in Cleveland. He will be a starter for the Eastern Conference in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, and Mitchell has led Cleveland to a 31-21 record while averaging career highs in PPG (27.9), field-goal percentage (48.2 percent), and three-point percentage (39.6 percent).
Mitchell leads the way for the Cavaliers, but Cleveland has a strong supporting cast around its newly acquired star, with quality young starters including Darius Garland (21.9 PPG), Evan Mobley (15.2 PPG), and Jarrett Allen (14.0 PPG). Those top four players are all 26 or younger, so Cleveland's best basketball likely lies ahead.
Even in their current state, the Cavaliers are closer to being the No. 1 seed (5.5 games) than being outside the top eight. If you foresee this team surging down the stretch and making it to the NBA Finals, the best spot to bet on Cavaliers NBA Finals Odds is currently Draftkings Sportsbook, where a winning bet would pay an additional $1,100 on a $100 bet, compared to only $800 or $900 on Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, or BetMGM.
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Why This Might Not Be The Cavaliers' Year
Cleveland is set up to be a contender in the Eastern Conference for years to come, but 2023 may not be the year to bet on Cavaliers NBA Finals Odds.
This young nucleus is poised to make it straight into the playoffs as a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Cavaliers would open as the road team in the first round if the season ended today. Considering Cleveland's 21-5 at home and only 10-16 away from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, pulling an upset without home-court advantage will be difficult against the battle-tested Celtics, 76ers, Bucks, or Nets. Unless the Cavaliers move into a top-three seed, they would likely have to defeat three of those four teams to reach the NBA Finals.
The path to the finals out of the Eastern Conference is no cakewalk, and the Cavaliers don't have anyone that has proven capable of leading his team to the NBA Finals before. As great as Mitchell is, the Utah Jazz teams he featured on never made it past the Conference Semifinals. Like those Utah teams, the Cavaliers have a Mitchell-led offense coupled with a strong defense, but can Mitchell go toe to toe with the likes of Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, or Joel Embiid in multiple best-of-seven series?