The Eastern Conference has felt like it was designed for Lebron James to go to the Finals over the past six seasons (!) and this season could be no different. We’re not talking about the playoffs today though, we’re talking about the regular season division winners. Below you will find the odds for the NBA’s Eastern Conference division winners courtesy of 5Dimes. You can bet any of these at http://www.5Dimes.com
The NBA’s Atlantic Division is pretty much the opposite of the Western Conference’s Southwest Division as in it’s not great. The Raptors have done well the last two seasons, but they have choked in the playoffs and last season slipped in the second half. Toronto is the favorite, but there are definitely cracks in the foundation. The losses of Amir Johnson and Lou Williams hurt, but the addition of DeMarre Carroll helps. Dwayne Casey is said to be on the hot seat if things don’t go well early. I like the Raptors, but I don’t love them.
The Celtics are an interesting squad. They lack a superstar, but have a lot of interesting parts. Jae Crowder is interesting, Amir Johnson was a solid addition, Isaiah Thomas did great in his half season last year and Marcus Smart will improve in a healthier second season. They played great in the second half last season and if they can continue that pace they could be a threat to take this division.
Outside of those two it’s highly unlikely that any of these other Atlantic teams make the playoffs this season.
|NBA Atlantic Division|
|New York Knicks||+1170|
The East’s best division also holds it’s best team: the Cavs. Lebron and his Cleveland teammates were up 2-1 in the Finals last season without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and they are hellbent on getting back to that point. They deserve to be the favorite here, but the only thing is I can see them not caring if they get the top seed or division win or not. They are just so good that I can see them prioritizing rest over seeding.
Which makes the Bulls at +500 a solid value. Analysts are all over this Bulls team this year. Thibodeau did a great job with this team, but the offense was always stagnant and he didn’t use a deep bench. If Fred Hoiberg can keep that defensive intensity while keeping the starters fresh, this could be an interesting play.
The Bucks and Pacers could become playoff teams, but winning this division will be near impossible for them.
|NBA Central Division|
The Southeast has three potential division winners according to the bookmakers. The defending champion Atlanta Hawks are the favorite and they seem like the safest bet of all. They have a beautiful offensive system that should be able to withstand the loss of DeMarre Carroll. While their playoff chances remain low, they are still a great regular season team. As long as Al Horford stays healthy they should be in this.
The Miami Heat are an interesting case as they have all the talent and upside in the world, but they have a ton of question marks. Will Dwayne Wade be healthy? Will Chris Bosh recover 100%? Will Hassan Whiteside remain sane? How will Goran Dragic fit? On paper this could be the team the Cavs play in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s so easy to see things going wrong.
The Wizards are an interesting play at +240. They’ve seemed poised to make the leap for the past couple of seasons, but the coaching hasn’t helped them very much. The John Wall/Bradley Beal combo is one of the best backcourts in the NBA and they will be in the thick of the division here. I’d love to see them break through and win this division.
|NBA Southeast Division|