Kevin Love Game 2 2017 NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers Golden State Warriors
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The Golden State Warriors are celebrating their 2015 NBA Final victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, but LeBron James and Co. are favored to deny the champs a repeat title.

According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook [h/t ESPN], the Cavaliers have 9-4 odds, followed by the Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder at 5-1.

David Purdum of ESPN notes Jeff Sherman, the assistant manager and NBA oddsmaker at Westgate, cited a projected historical pattern as the reason Cleveland has the best odds:

“Look at what they’re doing without [Kevin] Love and [Kyrie] Irving. We’ve seen with the Heat, where the first year LeBron didn’t win. Usually, things improve, chemistry improves. We just expect that they’ll be that much better next year and actually have some separation between other teams, assuming that they’re healthy.”

When LeBron left the Cavaliers in favor of the Miami Heat five years ago, he helped the team reach the Finals. However, the Dallas Mavericks won the series.

Miami’s “Big Three” of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh soon settled into their roles, though, and the Heat silenced the Thunder in 2012 and edged the San Antonio Spurs in 2013.

The Los Angeles Clippers (10-1), Spurs (12-1) and Chicago Bulls (12-1) lag slightly behind, while the Atlanta Hawks (20-1) and Houston Rockets (20-1) round out the top contenders.

As for the teams with the worst odds (200-1), the Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers share that honor.

Photo: USA Today Sports