The Atlantic Division has been dominated by the Toronto Raptors for the past couple of seasons and they are once again the favorites to do that again this year. However, they do have some competition as the Boston Celtics are not too far behind them, both in betting odds and in reputation. This should actually be a good division down the stretch and it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.
We can go ahead and just cross the Brooklyn Nets +20000 and the Philadelphia 76ers +25000 off the list right away. They could be very great teams in a couple of years, but that is then and this is now. Now, these are two of the absolute worsts teams in the league and they should be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in about a week or so. That’s how bad they are.
The New York Knicks +1800 are an interesting team this year as they finally have a competent coach in Jeff Hornacek and they have a lot of interesting pieces between Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings. However, it just doesn’t quite feel like the pieces quite fit together and like they were trying to build a team to compete for the 2004 NBA Finals, not the 2017. They might make a run at the playoffs, but if they do so they’ll probably be about 8 games behind the eventual winner of this division.
The team to watch here is the Boston Celtics +110. This team has been on the verge of greatness for the past few seasons and it feels like this could be the year that they finally do that. The addition of Al Horford this offseason has been the big one, but there are definitely growing pains to the transition and the team’s rebounding has been abysmal thus far. You have to believe that they’ll find a way to make it work, but it’s hard to imagine that being enough to overcome the Raptors. They simply know who they are and do it well. Of course, there is always the chance that the Celtics make a move to add another piece and if they do that, all bets are off.
Still, this definitely feels like the Raptors -139 division to lose. They don’t play the prettiest style of basketball, but they know who they are and they play well together. They are an excellent regular season team and they should easily to get to 52+ wins again this year. That’ll have them as one of the top seeds in the East again and, unfortunately, probably have them losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers again. Crazy things can happen though. One injury or suspension could change everything and if you get that far you give yourself a chance and anything can happen. Still, as far as the division goes this one is all about Toronto.
2017 Atlantic Division Betting Odds
- Toronto Raptors -139
- Boston Celtics +110
- New York Knicks +1800
- Brooklyn Nets +20000
- Philadelphia +25000