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October 31, 2014

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After LeBron returns to Cleveland, Las Vegas oddsmakers list Cavs at 9-to-2 to win title

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Lori Shepler/Associated Press

In this Dec. 25, 2009 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reacts during the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. The three-team trade that gave the Cavaliers salary cap space to possibly land LeBron James is official. The Cavs and Boston Celtics confirmed the deal on Thursday, July 10, 2014, when the NBA moratorium on signings ended.

Updated Friday, July 11, 2014 | noon

Minutes after LeBron James announced today on SI.com that he’s returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Las Vegas oddsmakers adjusted their future book odds to make Cleveland one of the favorites to win the 2015 NBA Championship.

At William Hill Sports Books, Cleveland is now 9-to-2 to win the title. San Antonio, which beat James and his former team, the Miami Heat, in the 2014 NBA Finals, is a slight favorite to repeat at 4-to-1.

On June 16, days after Miami lost to San Antonio, the Heat opened at 5-to-2 at the LVH Superbook to win in 2015. That, of course, is when James was expected to remain in South Beach for a fifth season. Cleveland was 60-to-1, and 15 other teams had better odds to win the championship.

But when James opted out of his contract with Miami two weeks, and reports started to indicate he was leaning toward signing with Cleveland, books quickly adjusted their numbers. Last Sunday, Cleveland was 12-to-1.

Now, they are considered the best team in the Eastern Conference and a serious contender to win a championship, which would break a drought of 50 years of no titles for major sports franchises in Cleveland.

Miami's odds dropped to 30-to-1 at William Hill. At the LVH Superbook, the Heat are reportedly at 100-to-1. Earlier in the week, they were 3-to-1.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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