The Cleveland Cavaliers will play the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals starting tomorrow night in Oakland, and LeBron James made headlines today by saying that the gambling odds mean little to him.
According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook (which you know you can trust because they’re not just a sports book, they’re a SuperBook), Golden State is a 5.5-point favorite to win Game 1 (9 p.m. ET, ABC) and a 2-to-1 favorite to win the series.
Statistics back up LeBron’s apathy. In the last ten NBA Finals, the favored team has won only six of the titles–barely more than half.
But these numbers are worthless, says LeBron.
“Not my concern,” he told a pack of reporters after the Finals were set. “I don’t get involved in all of that–underdog, overdog, whatever the case may be. It’s stupidity.”
Statistics back up LeBron’s apathy. In the last ten NBA Finals, according to the venerable OddsShark.com, the favored team has won only six of the titles–barely more than half. If you go back two more years, the favored team has won only seven of the last 12 championships. So yes, the favored team has won more crowns, but not many more. The underdog team wins almost as often, historically.
Plus, and this is the bigger point I’d like to make, so I’m going to put it in caps:
WHAT THE HELL IS LeBRON SUPPOSED TO SAY??!??!
Think about it. A reporter says to him, “LeBron, you guys are a six-point underdog in Game 1 and a 2-to-1 underdog in the series. Does that concern you?”
LeBron ponders the question. Scratches his chin. Then says:
“Yes, actually, I’m VERY concerned by those odds. I don’t ever want to be the underdog in a series. I’m worried sick over the fact that the Warriors are 2-to-1 favorites. I’ve been losing sleep ever since the Warriors defeated the Thunder and the Finals were set. Matter of fact, I didn’t even sleep last night, just thinking about what I could do to win over the oddsmakers and become the favorite. I came to the conclusion that I can’t do anything. I feel helpless. I ended up curling up into the fetal position and crying. Then I started thinking about the long-range shooting ability of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and I began to convulse. My wife and kids came to my side and rubbed my back and patted me on the shoulders to calm me down, and that helped a little. But I’m still very anxious. So yeah, I’m concerned by those odds.”
No, that would be a stupid answer. And LeBron is not stupid. He says the only thing he can say, and it still becomes the headline because that’s how sports coverage works.
Anyway, should be a good Finals.