The Cavaliers are coming off one of their most disappointing games of the season, as they surrendered a halftime lead on Tuesday night and dropped a second consecutive game in Boston, with the Celtics taking a 2-0 lead in the series.
The Rockets, on the other hand, looked like a legit title contender on Wednesday night in Houston, jumping on the Warriors early and outscoring them in every quarter en route to a 127-105 win to even up that series at 1-1.
Despite each team’s most recent game though, the Cavaliers are still viewed as a stronger bet to make the NBA Finals than the Rockets, as the odds at Bovada.lv show. A $100 wager on the Cavs to win their series would net $175 in winnings, while the same bet on the Rockets would earn you $250.
A strong respect for LeBron James – and for the Warriors – is reflected in those lines, but LeBron’s excellence isn’t the only reason why oddsmakers still view the Cavs as a stronger bet than the Rockets. The Eastern Conference Finals are headed back to Cleveland, where the Cavaliers have a 5-1 record so far in the postseason. The Celtics, meanwhile, are 1-4 on the road in playoff games this spring. If the Cavs can take care of business at home, the series would return to Boston for Game 5 tied at 2-2.
Home-court advantage is also a major factor in the Western Conference Finals. Having stolen Game 1 in Houston, the Warriors don’t need to win another road game to win the series. In fact, the Rockets will be under pressure to win one of the next two games in Oakland to avoid heading back home down 3-1.
Outside of the home-court factor, oddsmakers also figure to be heavily weighing recent history in their lines. The Warriors were one win away from taking home the last three NBA titles, and have looked virtually unstoppable in the postseason since Kevin Durant joined the roster in 2016. James, meanwhile, has been in the last seven NBA Finals, and it wasn’t long ago that he and the Cavs steamrolled the East’s top seed in a four-game sweep.
What do you think? Are the Rockets, with one win in hand, in a better position to advance than the Cavs, or are oddsmakers right to give the Cavs a stronger chance to make the Finals?
Vote in our poll, then jump into the comment section below to make your case.
Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.