The Westgate LV SuperBook on Monday opened betting on the 2016 NBA title, and Cleveland - not Golden State - is the clear favorite. The book opened the Cavaliers at 9-to-4, followed by the Warriors and Thunder at 5-to-1.
"You're seeing what the Cavs are doing right now without their second- and third-best players," SuperBook director Jay Kornegay told CBSSports.com. "With LeBron James carrying the entire team on his back, they're pushing the current best team to six or seven games in the NBA Finals.
"Not only do we expect [Kevin] Love and [Kyrie] Irving to be back, you've got to expect they're going to add a couple role players to make them deeper for the long playoff run."
There's a sizable gap between the Cavs and the Warriors/Thunder, and another big gap between those two and the other contenders. The book pegged the Clippers at 10-to-1, the Spurs and Bulls at 12-to-1. and the Hawks, Pelicans and Rockets at 20-to-1.
"The Thunder could easily make a run," Kornegay said. "It's going to be interesting to see what kind of chemistry [new coach] Billy Donovan has with the players. It could be terrific, or it could be oil and water.
"The Clippers need stronger bench play and they could easily take care of that this offseason," Kornegay added. "Take the heat off that starting five."
The Cavs' odds are lower because they get to play in the East. The NBA is looking into a new playoff format but changes aren't expected soon.
"When you look at what Cleveland has to face in the playoffs, that's definitely part of it," Kornegay said. "They don't have to go through the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs just to reach the Finals."
Here are opening odds to win the NBA title, followed by odds to win each conference: