It didn’t take long for LeBron James’ decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers to cause a dramatic shift in the future book betting for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season in Las Vegas’ sports books and beyond.
Many establishments had already adjusted the price on the Cavaliers in anticipation of James’ announcement he was coming back to Cleveland. Some had the Cavaliers as the favorite or co-favorite to win the NBA title next June. Vegasinsider.com reported that Cleveland is the favorite at the offshore sports book 5Dimes.eu at plus 350, ahead of San Antonio (plus 500) and Oklahoma City (plus 650).
At Wynn Las Vegas, the 10-day moratorium on betting on the NBA futures ended Friday with wagering resuming and with the Cavs the second choice, along with San Antonio at 9-2, behind Oklahoma City, which is favored at 4-1. Other sports books in town have kept their NBA futures open adjusting the Cavaliers up and down while the James rumor mill spiraled out of control this week.
“We took the futures down a week and a half ago,” said John Avello, who runs the Wynn Race and Sports book. “I didn’t want us to be exposed unnecessarily.”
Avello said he wasn’t expecting much action in the wake of James’ announcement. But once all the scenarios play out and the NBA rosters get into sharper focus, the action will pick up.
“I know we’ve got the summer league in town and everyone’s thinking basketball but the reality is we’ll see more action on the futures on the NBA when training camp opens in the fall.
“But I’ll say this; if you bet Cleveland earlier at 20-1 to 40-1, you’ve got really good value. You’re not going to get that kind of number anywhere now.”
As for Miami, James’ former team, the Heat went from 3-1 and the favorite to win it all all the way down to 50-1 at the Wynn.
“It may go even higher if (Chris) Bosh leaves for Houston like everyone expects him to,” Avello said.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.