Heading into the final two months of the regular season, more money has been bet on the Warriors to win the title than any other team at William Hill's sportsbook in Nevada, where Golden State is listed at plus-240, or 12-5. The Cavaliers are next at 3-1, followed by the San Antonio Spurs (13-2) and the Atlanta Hawks (7-1).
In June, when the books began putting up odds to win the 2015 championship, the Cavaliers were listed as high as 60-1. Soon after, rumors of James' interest in returning to Cleveland surfaced, and bets started to come in on the Cavaliers. The MGM took a $1,000 bet on the Cavs when they were 40-1 before James' decision to leave the Miami Heat and head back to Cleveland. After his return was made official, the Cavs were anointed the favorites to win the title, leaving the books with some liability.
Despite an uneven start -- Cleveland was 19-20 after a loss to Phoenix on Jan. 19 -- the Cavaliers remained near the top of the championship odds. At 7-2, Cleveland remains the favorite at the Westgate SuperBook, listed just ahead of the Warriors at 4-1.
The majority of books have Golden State as the favorite, though, including the MGM, CG Technology and William Hill. The Warriors opened at 15-1 at William Hill. Fourteen percent of money wagered on William Hill's NBA futures pool is on Golden State, according to numbers provided by the book. The defending champion Spurs have attracted 12 percent of the action, followed by the Cavs at 11 percent.
The Warriors were 13.5-point home favorites when they knocked off a Cleveland team without James, 112-94. on Jan. 9. The two favorites meet for the last time in the regular season Feb. 26 in Cleveland.
A handful of teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, have been eliminated from contention on the SuperBook's title odds, but not before some bettors were able to take a chance on the ultimate fliers. The SuperBook took seven bets on the Sixers to win the championship at odds of 1,000-1 and greater. Nineteen bettors took a stab on the Knicks winning it all. They opened around 40-1, but were listed at 9,999-1 by Jan. 1.
There were 66 bets on the Lakers to win the championship at the SuperBook before they were removed from consideration. Only five teams have received more bets than the Lakers, who have attracted more championship wagers than the Los Angeles Clippers, according to SuperBook assistant manager and head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman.
The lowly Knicks (10-44) are the only team guaranteed not to reach their projected season win total in Vegas. The over/under on the Knicks' wins was set at 40 in October at the SuperBook.
The surprising Milwaukee Bucks (30-23) were the only team to eclipse their season win total by the All-Star break. The SuperBook had the Bucks' win total at 24.5.
The Hawks, owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference and the best record against the spread (36-17 ATS), matched their win total projection of 43 at the All-Star break.
The Denver Nuggets, at 20-30-3 against the spread, were the worst bet before the All-Star break.