Cleveland Cavaliers Futures Odds: Are Upstart Cavs Legitimate Contenders?


February 8

The Cleveland Cavaliers, lurking in the midst of the Eastern Conference title chase, are trending upwards and not to be taken lightly. With a record of 22-50 just two seasons ago, the Cavs, under head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, have continued their dramatic climb – a team that could surprise even further as the postseason draws near.2022-23 Record: 34-22 (4th in Eastern Conference)

Offensively, Cleveland resides in the bottom tier of the NBA, averaging 111.8 points per game – 26th overall. It’s at the defensive end where the Cavs have excelled, surrendering just 106.5 points per game – tops in the NBA. Cleveland’s point-per-game differential (+5.3) is second league-wide

Prized offseason acquisition Donovan Mitchell has surpassed expectations, averaging 26.8 PPG on 47.3% shooting – both career bests. Mitchell and point guard Darius Garland (22.0 PPG, 8.1 APG) give the Cavs a formidable backcourt punch, complementing the “twin tower” combination of center Jarrett Allen and forward Evan Mobley.

Mobley has been particularly impressive lately, posting double-doubles in four of his last seven games while blocking two or more shots in eight straight. While his season stats (15.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.4 BPG) virtually match his impressive rookie campaign, the 21-year-old’s stock is on the rise.

In his second full season with the Cavs, Allen (14.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG) has posted double-doubles in three of four and is shooting an outstanding 64.7% from the field. It’s a starting lineup that would appear to need only more time to gel offensively. 

Central Division Winner Odds @ FanDuel
  • Milwaukee Bucks -650
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +440
  • Chicago Bulls +18000
  • Indiana Pacers +25000
  • Detroit Pistons +50000

The Cavaliers sit four games behind Milwaukee in the Central. The Bucks have won eight straight and nine of their last ten contests. Cleveland is 6-4 over that span but has won its past three, including a convincing 128-113 victory at home over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Eastern Conference Winner Odds @ FanDuel
  • Boston Celtics +150
  • Milwaukee Bucks +240
  • Philadelphia 76ers +500
  • Brooklyn Nets +1200
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +1200
  • Miami Heat +1600

Boasting a 20-10 conference record and 22-6 mark at home, the defensive-minded Cavaliers – barring a complete collapse down the stretch – arguably pose more of a threat in the conference than the futures market suggests.

With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, the conference landscape will be fascinating to watch, already impacted by the Brooklyn Nets’ trade of star point guard Kyrie Irving.  

NBA Championship Winner Odds @ FanDuel
  • Boston Celtics +300
  • Milwaukee Bucks +450
  • Denver Nuggets +700
  • Philadelphia 76ers +1000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +1200
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +2000 (10th)

The futures market gives the Cavs little chance of capturing the NBA Finals, but at +2000, value beckons. The league’s top defense and an offense with upside are a combination worthy of consideration. 

Cleveland’s Upcoming Games
  • Feb. 8 vs. Detroit Pistons
  • Feb. 10 @ New Orleans Pelicans
  • Feb. 11 vs. Chicago Bulls
  • Feb. 13 vs. San Antonio Spurs

This upcoming stretch is one which the Cavs should take advantage of, with three of their next four games at home against struggling teams.    

Thumbnail photo via USA TODAY Sports Images

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