NBA betting favorites to win the Eastern Conference championship at -290 even though they relinquished the leadership of the selfsame Conference for the first time this season. The Cavs are 47-26 (.644) and stand ½ behind the Boston Celtics, who currently lead the East with a 48-26 (.649) record. However, as fans who enjoy betting on NBA know, and unlike divisional titles, the conference championship is decided during the postseason. On the other hand, winning the No. 1 seed is crucial to a team’s playoffs aspirations as well.
March of Death
With two games to go in March, Cleveland will post its first losing monthly record since January, which they finished 7-8. The Cavs are 6-9 in March, have lost their last two in a row, and will visit Chicago and host the Sixers to wrap up the month. The Cavaliers were so shell-shocked following a 103-74 prison-beating at the hands of the Spurs the Kyrie remained on court making shots long after the final buzzer had sounded – presumably while the late Bill Paxton’s voice resounded in his head, “That’s it, man. Game over, man. Game over! What are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?” When LeBron James finally got some air back into his lungs after having David Lee’s elbow driven into his neck and spine, he told the press that “it’s a delicate time right now for our team,” though not necessarily “for the bad.”
St. Patrick’s Day all month
The Celtics have the second best odds to win the Eastern Conference at +660. Boston is 10-4 in March, and has won their last four straight games and seven of their last eight. The Celtics are on top of the East for the first time since 2011 but that still does not make them favorites as far as fans betting on NBA games are concerned. But Boston’s players are accustomed to being the underdog. The Celtics twitted this quote from Isaiah Thomas: “We’re a group of guys that’s been counted out our whole career. We like staying under the radar. That’s just who we are.” Moreover, “we’re chasing something bigger than that,” Thomas told reporters following Tuesday’s practice. Namely, the No. 1 seed in the conference. “[The first place is] cool to have, but there is still a lot of time left in the season and a lot can happen.” Five of Boston’s final eight games are at the TD Garden, and four of those games are versus teams with a losing record. Thus it could be said that that No. seed is the Celtics’ to win – or lose. And while Boston could theoretically keep relying on the Cavs to continue struggling, James & Co. are not accustomed to “being counted” nor should they be counted out by anyone, whether it is other teams or fans betting on NBA games. Or as Thomas put it, “they’ve been struggling for whatever reason but it’s still an NBA-championship-caliber team. They’re defending champions, so it goes through them until someone eliminates them.” And if they the Celtics were to do that, it would be an NBA betting upset, but it wouldn’t be quite as shocking as it would have been a few months or even weeks ago.