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Raptors Overtake Celtics as Atlantic Division Favorites

The Atlantic Division has belonged to the Toronto Raptors over the last three years, and oddsmakers are expecting Canada’s lone NBA franchise to do it again this season.

At BetOnline, the Raptors are -140 favorites to win the Atlantic as the calendar turns to December. The Boston Celtics (+110), New York Knicks (+2000), Philadelphia 76ers (+25000) and Brooklyn Nets (+25000) are available at plus-money.

Toronto wasn’t the favorite heading into the campaign, though. Nearly every online and Vegas sportsbook tabbed the Celtics as the likeliest squad to win the division, as signing talented big man Al Horford seemed to move the needle in Boston’s favor. Seventeen games in, Toronto is in first place at 11-6 while Boston is close behind at 10-7.

Personally, I think this is the right call. While the Celtics are deep, well-coached and solid on both ends of the floor, the Raps were being overlooked. Toronto is coming off its best season in franchise history that culminated in a run to the Eastern Conference final, and the current group is only building off that experience right now.

The Raps are also better than their record indicates, as a brutal mid-November schedule saw them fall to the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Knicks are a tough team to figure out. At the time of writing, New York was in 10th in the Eastern Conference (8-9) but only had one road win on the year. Phil Jackson’s precious triangle offense has looked more like a rectangle at times, and this team is likely going to be up and down all year. They’ll be in tough to overcome the Raptors and Celtics, but stranger things have happened in the NBA.

2016-17 NBA Atlantic Division Odds
TeamOdds
Toronto Raptors-140
Boston Celtics+110
New York Knicks+2000
Philadelphia 76ers+25000
Brooklyn Nets+25000

Odds as of November 30 at BetOnline

Archived Articles

Historically, the Boston Celtics have dominated the Atlantic Division. At one sportsbook, they’re the front-runners to do it again in the 2016-17 NBA campaign.

Bovada has tabbed the Celtics as -105 favorites, with the Toronto Raptors (+105), New York Knicks (+1000), Philadelphia 76ers (+10000) and Brooklyn Nets (+10000) behind them.

Fresh off a disappointing first-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics have no shortage of motivation to prove themselves this year. Brad Stevens’ club made a splash in free agency by signing veteran center Al Horford to a four-year, $113-million deal, solidifying its frontcourt in the process.

The Celtics were already one of the deepest teams in the Association before the Horford signing, and he’ll join a talented supporting cast headlined by Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart.

Considering this franchise was in rebuilding mode when it traded away Rajon Rondo just two years ago, it’s amazing to see how far the Celtics have come in such a short amount of time. Needless to say, they deserve the favorite label.

Don’t tell that to the Toronto Raptors, though. The Raps are gunning for a fourth straight Atlantic Division banner to hang in the Air Canada Centre, and it could easily happen again.

Led by the dynamic backcourt combination of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Toronto exorcised its past playoff demons last year and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference final before bowing out to Cleveland. The Dinos are returning largely the same team, so grabbing them at plus money definitely looks appealing.

For all of their faults throughout the years, the New York Knicks are never boring. The Knicks were a train wreck (again) last year, and team president Phil Jackson didn’t hold back in the offseason. New York made a blockbuster deal with Chicago by acquiring former MVP winner Derrick Rose, as the point guard will rejoin his ex-Bulls teammate Joakim Noah in the Big Apple.

Carmelo Anthony is still as dominant as ever, but at the age of 32 his prime is slipping away. Kristaps Porzingis looks like a superstar in the making, and it seems that the Knicks finally have the pieces in place to compete. I don’t see them winning the championship any time soon, but they could raise some eyebrows this year.

2016-17 NBA Atlantic Division Odds
TeamOdds
Boston Celtics-105
Toronto Raptors+105
New York Knicks+1000
Philadelphia 76ers+10000
Brooklyn Nets+10000

Odds as of October 26 at Bovada

Archived Articles

The Eastern Conference has been the superior of the two NBA conferences this season, which is really saying something considering how much of a stranglehold the West has had on the league in recent years. The Atlantic Division in particular will be interesting to keep an eye on down the stretch, and according to oddsmakers, the Toronto Raptors are the likeliest team to claim the crown.

At BetOnline, the Raptors are -300 favorites to win the Atlantic for the third time in as many seasons. The Boston Celtics (+250) and New York Knicks (+1000) are the only other teams that have a realistic shot of eclipsing Toronto.

The awful Brooklyn Nets (+50000) and Philadelphia 76ers (+500000) are also available to bet on, but I think I have a better shot of getting drafted to the NBA than either of those cellar dwellers do of winning (spoiler alert: I’m 5’5”).

So, where does the value lie? As of January 12, the Dinos ranked first in the division with 24 wins, while the Celtics (19-18) and Knicks (19-20) weren’t far off. Toronto boasts one of the best backcourts in the league in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan but this team is far from operating at 100 percent. Prized free agent signing DeMarre Carroll is out indefinitely after undergoing knee surgery last week, and this is a much different looking team without the defensive stopper.

The Raptors faded down the stretch last year as poor defensive play and fatigue plagued them post All-Star break – a trend that could easily happen again if they do not properly adapt to Carroll’s absence.

On the flip side, the Celtics are extremely well coached under Brad Stevens and play excellent team ball to make up for the absence of a superstar on the roster. The C’s won’t win the title this year, but they’re a team on the rise who could easily make a late season push to once again become the class of the Atlantic.

New York has Latvian rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis, which is enough of a reason to believe in the Knickerbockers. Porzingis has breathed new life in this franchise after a dismal 2014-15 campaign, and it appears the players are buying in to Phil Jackson’s renowned triangle offense.

If you’re a firm believer in the Raptors, -300 won’t seem like too much chalk to lay. But the Celtics and Knicks prices should rightfully look appealing for anyone who believes the Raps simply can’t sustain their current pace.

2015-16 NBA Atlantic Division Odds

Odds as of January 12 at BetOnline

  • Toronto Raptors -300
  • Boston Celtics +250
  • New York Knicks +1000
  • Brooklyn Nets +50000
  • Philadelphia 76ers +500000

Archived Articles

The Atlantic Division has long been one of the weakest in the NBA, and it’s looking like the 2015-16 campaign will be no different. It’s a two horse race at online sportsbook Bovada, as the Toronto Raptors are -200 favorites to win the crown for the third time in as many years with the Boston Celtics not far off at +200 odds.

The Raps retooled in the offseason after a disastrous first-round sweep at the hands of the Washington Wizards and have placed a big emphasis on defense, bringing defensive specialists DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph into the fold to provide a shot in the arm to a team that lacked an identity on that end of the floor last season.

Fresh off a surprising playoff appearance, the young Boston Celtics have some nice pieces in place going forward and won’t surprise anyone if they continue to improve by leaps and bounds this year. Led by head coach Brad Stevens -- one of the sharpest minds in basketball – it’s safe to say the future is looking bright in Beantown.

Here’s a look at the book’s full list of odds for the division.

2015-16 NBA Atlantic Division Odds

Odds as of October 20 at Bovada

  • Toronto Raptors -200
  • Boston Celtics +200
  • New York Knicks +1400
  • Brooklyn Nets +2000
  • Philadelphia 76ers +6600

Archived Articles

After finishing last season atop the Atlantic Division for the first time since 2007, the Toronto Raptors have emerged as early EVEN money favorites at Bovada to repeat as division champs. The Raptors finished strong down the stretch, winning seven of their last 10 SU to take the Atlantic by four games over the Brooklyn Nets, who open the 2014-2015 campaign as a +225 bet.

The New York Knicks had a forgettable 37-win season a year ago to finish a disappointing ninth in the Eastern Conference. But expectations have risen since Phil Jackson took over as club president in the off-season. With Derek Fisher installed as coach and Carmelo Anthony happy with a freshly signed five-year, $124 million contract, the Knicks kick off the season with solid +300 odds to win their second Atlantic Division title in three years.

The rebuild is expected to continue in Boston where the Celtics won just 25 games a year ago. Not surprisingly, Boston opens the season well back of the favorites in Atlantic Division betting, with odds of +3300. The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to be without last season’s rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams until mid-November and open as +10000 longshots at Bovada.

Odds to Win 2015 NBA Atlantic Division at Bovada as of October 15

Boston Celtics +3300
Brooklyn Nets +225
New York Knicks +300
Philadelphia 76ers +10000
Toronto Raptors EVEN

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The New York Knicks won the NBA's Atlantic Division last season, but the sportsbooks have set the Brooklyn Nets as the favorites on that futures list for the 2013/14 season.

Last year the Knicks won the Atlantic Division title by five games over the Nets, but Brooklyn beefed up its lineup over the summer by acquiring All-Stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett from the Boston Celtics.

That has Brooklyn sitting as the -200 favorite at Bovada to win the division crown this year, with New York at +175, and Boston well back at +3300; the Celtics ended up 12.5 games behind the Knicks in the division race last season.

The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers both ended up 20 games behind New York in the Atlantic Division standings last season. Toronto is at +1400 at Bovada to end up in first place in the division this year, with Philadelphia the longshot at +6600.

Odds to Win 2014 NBA Atlantic Division at Bovada

Brooklyn Nets -200
New York Knicks +175
Toronto Raptors +1400
Boston Celtics +3300
Philadelphia 76ers +6600

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On paper and according to the betting odds, the race for the Atlantic Division figures to be one of the tightest in the NBA.

The division’s top three teams were separated by just four games last season, and this year’s race may end up going right down to the wire as well.

Going off at +125 at TopBet, the Boston Celtics are the favorite to win the Atlantic Division. Even with the loss of Ray Allen, the Celtics are one of the Eastern Conference’s deepest teams; free agent acquisitions Courtney Lee and Jason Terry were huge, and Jared Sullinger could end up being the biggest steal in the 2012 draft.

Add that depth to the core of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, and the defending Atlantic Division champions are a valid betting favorite.

Jeremy Lin and his “Linsanity” are gone, but the New York Knicks (+200) still figure to be a major player in the Atlantic Division race. The talent is clearly there; Raymond Felton will play court general at point guard and have a talented trio of bigs to dish the ball to in Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler.

Chemistry and health has eluded this team since Anthony and Stoudemire’s arrival, but perhaps the third year will be the charm for this duo.

The Brooklyn Nets (+275) added all-star guard Joe Johnson to their talented trio of Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, and Brook Lopez this offseason in the hopes of kicking things off in Brooklyn with a bang. In New Jersey, the Nets were an abysmal 9-24 SU at home; that number should turn around in a big way with this talent and an excited new fan base.

The Philadelphia 76ers (+450) and the Toronto Raptors (+8000) are both undergoing rebuilds, but Philadelphia still has the talent to compete for a playoff spot with newcomers Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson leading the way. Toronto will be a work in progress, but rookies Terrence Ross and Jason Valanciunas should provide some excitement for the young team this season.

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