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NBA: Best Bet for Eastern Conference Champion (2019)

by October 21, 2019

It’s been a long time since we entered an NBA season with as much parity across the board as we have at the start of this 2019-2020 season. In the Eastern Conference, the usual suspects are near the top in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, with the Celtics and Nets trailing just behind. With another offseason filled with a plethora of trades and free agency splashes, some teams have kept rosters stagnant but others bring in a new look entirely and expect their additions to make an impact immediately. With all the moving pieces and a league-wide level of competition we haven’t seen in nearly a decade, let’s take a closer look at where we can spot some value. Check out all Eastern Conference future odds here.

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What are the odds?

These odds were taken from FanDuel Sportsbook on October 20, 2019.

Team Eastern Conference Odds Regular Season Win Total
Milwaukee Bucks +150 56.5
Philadelphia 76ers +220 54.5
Boston Celtics +700 48.5
Brooklyn Nets +1200 44.5
Toronto Raptors +1400 46.5
Indiana Pacers +1600 47.5
Miami Heat +2700 43.5
Orlando Magic +4200 40.5
Atlanta Hawks +6500 33.5
Chicago Bulls +8000 32.5
Detroit Pistons +8000 37.5
New York Knicks +16000 27.5
Charlotte Hornets +16000 23.5
Washington Wizards +16000 27.5
Cleveland Cavaliers +16000 23.5

 

What happened last year?

Team W L PCT CONF DIV HOME AWAY ATS O/U
Milwaukee Bucks 60 22 73.20% 40-12 14-2 33-8 27-14 47-31-4 42-40-0
Toronto Raptors 58 24 70.70% 36-16 12-4 32-9 26-15 38-44-0 44-35-3
Philadelphia 76ers 51 31 62.20% 31-21 8-8 31-10 20-21 38-44-0 43-39-0
Boston Celtics 49 33 59.80% 35-17 10-6 28-13 21-20 39-42-1 47-35-0
Indiana Pacers 48 34 58.50% 33-19 11-5 29-12 19-22 41-41-0 36-46-0
Brooklyn Nets 42 40 51.20% 29-23 8-8 23-18 19-22 45-37-0 41-41-0
Orlando Magic 42 40 51.20% 30-22 10-6 25-16 17-24 45-36-1 38-44-0
Detroit Pistons 41 41 50.00% 27-25 8-8 26-15 15-26 41-38-3 39-43-0
Charlotte Hornets 39 43 47.60% 29-23 10-6 25-16 14-27 40-41-1 44-36-2
Miami Heat 39 43 47.60% 23-29 7-9 19-22 20-21 43-38-1 42-40-0
Washington Wizards 32 50 39.00% 19-33 7-9 22-19 10-31 38-44-0 50-32-0
Atlanta Hawks 29 53 35.40% 16-36 6-10 17-24 12-29 42-40-0 47-35-0
Chicago Bulls 22 60 26.80% 16-36 3-13 9-32 13-28 35-46-1 38-41-3
Cleveland Cavaliers 19 63 23.20% 15-37 4-12 13-28 6-35 37-43-2 44-37-1
New York Knicks 17 65 20.70% 11-41 2-14 9-32 8-33 32-49-1 37-44-1

 

Best Bet for Eastern Conference Champion?

Boston Celtics (+700)

With the departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, many are expecting the Celtics to continue to regress in Brad Steven’s seventh season at the helm. Since making the conference finals in both 2017 and 2018, Boston exited 2019’s postseason in the conference semi-finals in a five-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks. While Irving is as dynamic a scorer as we have in the league, he was also the lead catalyst in the disfunction the Celtic’s dealt with in 2019 and was a self-admitted poor leader throughout the season. With the departure of Irving at the point guard position, Boston brought in Kemba Walker over the summer who is a year removed from a career season which ended with career-highs in points per game (25.6), three-pointers per game (3.2), and field goals per game (8.9).

Gordon Hayward enters this season another full year removed from the gruesome leg injury that nearly ended his career, and all indications out of preseason camp point towards him returning with improved explosiveness and confidence. If he can take another step closer to where he was pre-injury, his style of play should complement Walker’s nicely. Another player in the Celtics’ frontcourt that I anticipate improvement from and improved efficiency with Walker at the point is third-year small forward Jayson Tatum. After a rookie season that looked to have Tatum poised for a monster sophomore campaign, his game largely stayed the same and failed to ascend to the next level. With more of a pure distributor running the point and the addition of Enes Kanter cleaning up the boards, Tatum’s game should elevate. I don’t think 20 points per game is out of the question.

While this won’t be the most talented roster Stevens has had in his time in Boston, it could be one of his most disciplined and fundamentally sound teams in recent years. The loss of Horford will be difficult to overcome during the postseason, but I get the sense the front office felt he was on the back nine of career and it was time to cut bait and get younger. With the drama now removed from the picture in Boston, it’s a new era with Walker and a cast of young talent and one of the best coaches in the NBA in Stevens. If the Celtic’s can get a top-three seed in the playoffs, which current odds indicate bookmakers think is realistic, I’ll take my chances with a top-five point guard and head coach combo and a team in Boston who seems to enjoy playing defense.

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TJ Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.