Eastern Conference Predictions
In a wide-open Eastern Conference race, which team will emerge from the pack and advance to the NBA Finals? Here’s our breakdown of the betting options.
According to oddsmakers at BetNow.eu, the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors are the co-favorites to win the East, as each is getting 3/1 odds. Other shorts odds to win are the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, who each have 7/2 odds.
The Bucks and Raptors are the two favorites right now. Milwaukee currently holds a 1-game lead on Toronto in the standings, but both sit at 43 wins. The Bucks have an impressive 30-8 conference record right now, while the Raptors have been a solid 24-5 at home. The next-closest team in the standings is the Pacers, who are 5.5 games back.
Other Top Contender
Between the Celtics and 76ers, I side with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers have the best talent between the two and may have the best starting lineup in the East with the addition of Tobias Harris before the trade deadline. The question for Philadelphia will be about team maturity and if these young guns can handle the pressures of the playoffs when things get serious. Philly is just 14-14 on the road this year, but 23-7 at home. If they can work their way into a top-3 seed, I will like their chances even more.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the team I don’t feel great about as a favorite. The Bucks have been fun to watch and have a great roster of young talent. However, I think reaching the NBA Finals is going to be a process for Milwaukee. I don’t feel like anyone on this roster really knows how to win a big series in the postseason. They have shown a lot this year, but the playoffs are about experience and that is something this team is severely lacking in. I just don’t see the Bucks playing for the championship this season.
The options outside the four favorites aren’t great, but the Indiana Pacers are worth some consideration at 20/1. While they have lost Victor Oladipo for the rest of the season to injury, they still have played pretty well without him this season. Indiana is 13-9 when Oladipo hasn’t played and they have been able to hold onto the third seed in the East thus far. The Pacers have the league’s best defense and know how to slow down tempo and make things a little ugly. That could really throw off opponents in the playoffs. Defense can take you far in a series. Given they could have home-court in a series, or maybe two, I think the Pacers still provide a nice longshot option to consider.