Cavs and Celtics swing major trade; books make minor adjustment to NBA title odds

Aug 23, 2017 |

The Cleveland Cavaliers shipped their All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for another high-scoring point guard, two rotation players and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first round draft pick.

It’s a huge trade and the conclusion to a drawn-out drama in Cleveland. Irving gets his wish to play for another team and Cleveland replaces him with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic.

Oddsmakers in Las Vegas and offshore don’t see the trade changing the power dynamic in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James still plays in Cleveland (for now anyway) and that means the Cavaliers enter the season as the favorites in the East and the second favorite to win the title behind only Golden State.

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas maintained the Cavs at +400 and the Celtics at +1000 to win the NBA championship after Yahoo!’s Shams Charania broke the news on the trade. Cantor Gaming kept the Cavs at +500 but lowered the Celtics from +1000 to +800.


Offshore, Bookmaker.eu had the Celtics at +925 to win the NBA title on Tuesday morning and by late Tuesday night the Celtics were down to +885. The Cavs were +485 and shortened by a hair to +470.

BetOnline made the largest adjustments from the sportsbooks Covers polled. The book moved the Celtics from +1000 to +600 and changed the Cavs from +475 to +500.

The betting market on who win the 2018 NBA MVP is where bookmakers made their largest moves. Isaiah Thomas, who finished fifth in last year’s award voting, went from +3000 to +10,000 at the SuperBook. Kyrie Irving went from +5000 to +2500 and LeBron James went from +700 to +500. Only Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have shorter odds to win next year’s MVP at +400.

The trade is a strange one for many reasons. First, this is a trade between two teams that just played against each other in a conference final. The Cavaliers are trying to maintain their spot at the top of the East and they just traded their second best player to the club trying to knock them off their perch.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, who is excellent at breaking down NBA transactions, thought this trade will make the Cavaliers better in the upcoming season. Thomas will slide into Irving’s old role and Crowder gives Cleveland another needed 3-and-D guy on the perimeter.

For Boston, GM Danny Ainge finally traded one of his coveted first round picks and he got the best player in this trade. Irving is younger and has more room for development than Thomas.
Bettors won’t have to wait long to see how this drama will unfold on the court. The Celtics visit the Cavaliers on opening night of the NBA season. Sportsbook.ag listed the Cavs as 4-point favorites before the trade was announced.

Thomas, who is recovering from a hip injury, must pass a physical in Cleveland before the trade can be finalized. He is expected to pass the physical.

Irving and Thomas become the sixth and seventh all-stars to switch teams this offseason in the Association. Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Chris Paul, Gordon Hayward and Paul Millsap all found new NBA homes since the end of the Finals.


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