Breaking! Hawks are big underdogs to LeBron James, Cavaliers

Kent Bazemore (background) and the Hawks hope to have more playoff success against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers than they did in the Eastern Conference finals a year ago. (Curtis Compton /

Kent Bazemore (background) and the Hawks hope to have more playoff success against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers than they did in the Eastern Conference finals a year ago. (Curtis Compton /

The Hawks are significant underdogs in their series against Cleveland.

I know — shocking, right?

The online odds website 5Dimes, which is generally in line with most oddsmakers and Las Vegas sportsbooks, has “money lines” of Cleveland at -475 and the Hawks at +380 in their second-round series. That’s the equivalent of making the Cavaliers an almost 2-9 favorite (or the Hawks a 9-2 underdog). The same site has the Cavaliers listed as a 7½-point favorite for Game 1 in Cleveland Monday night.

Another online odds site, Bovada, hasn’t posted numbers for the Hawks’ second-round series, yet, but they released updated conference championship and NBA title odds. Cleveland is 2-7 to win the East, the Hawks are 15-2.

Bovada odds:

  • Eastern Conference
  • Cleveland Cavaliers        2-7
  • Toronto Raptors           11-2
  • Atlanta Hawks              15-2
  • Charlotte Hornets           20-1
  • Miami Heat                  25-1
  • Indiana Pacers              75-1
  • Western Conference
  • Golden State Warriors     5-7
  • San Antonio Spurs         3-2
  • Oklahoma City Thunder 13-2
  • Portland Trail Blazers    33-1
  • Los Angeles Clippers      150-1
  • NBA championship
  • Golden State Warriors    6-5
  • San Antonio Spurs        2-1
  • Cleveland Cavaliers      10-3
  • Oklahoma City Thunder 10-1
  • Atlanta Hawks           33-1
  • Toronto Raptors          40-1
  • Portland Trail Blazers   66-1
  • Charlotte Hornets       75-1
  • Miami Heat              150-1
  • Indiana Pacers           200-1
  • Los Angeles Clippers  300-1

All of the Hawks players who were asked about Cleveland following Thursday’s win over Boston fully expected to be underdogs.

“Any team with LeBron is always going to be considered the favorite,” Kent Bazemore said. “But we believe in ourselves and we’re ready to get after it.”

For my column advancing the Hawks-Cleveland series, click here.

For my column on the Hawks’ series-clinching win over Boston, click here.

Here are links to the AJC’s Hawks full coverage on and to blogs on

Reader Comments 0







From:   NBA Game Control and Outcomes Department  

To:         Assigned Officials - Atlanta / Cleveland Playoff Series 

This is an official League reminder to the above referenced officials. During the Atlanta / Cleveland playoff series an official, bona fide NBA super star will be on the court. Therefore, the so called "Jordan Rules" will be applied for his benefit at all times and at both ends of the court. 

Any close games (and the numerous close calls that invariably occur during such games) must be carefully managed pursuant to those rules, with which you made very familiar during your recruitment, orientation, and training. 

And, as you know, any absence of the super star on the court  due called fouls -- or, any game close game outcomes that are not consistent with the active and proper use, intent, and spirit of the Jordan Rules, will result in a thorough performance review (immediately post season) of the officials assigned to each game, which reviews could (and very likely will) lead to a reprimand, a temporary suspension without pay, or job termination.    And furthermore, and as you know, if the super star's team is eliminated from further contention in the play off series, all game officials will be immediately terminated without appeal at the end of the last play off game.

This year, in order to assist officials who have complained in the past of not enough opportunities to make calls beneficial the super star's team,"fantasy foul" calls can be utilized. We leave these to your imagination. 

But as one small example, during the last meeting between the Hawks and Cavaliers, the super star in question drove for the basket and stepped on a defender's foot, and then fell to the floor. The alert official quickly called a "fantasy" foul on the defender and the super star shot and made two foul shots. 

This is exactly  the kind of quick, results-oriented thinking and game officiating that we are looking for to ensure the appropriate game outcomes. If opportunities to utilize the Jordan rules do not materialize, use your imaginations.  


The Cavs games should be on the "Travel Channel"......all that shoe shuffling LeBron does!


And Cleveland ,is not ,even the best team in basketball. At least, when Boston owned us they were the best team.