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Odds to Win the NBA Eastern Conference: Bucks Are Odds-On Faves

NBA East Odds April 24, 2019

After the anticlimactic first round of the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs, the grittiest teams have moved on and now we have the final four teams ready to battle for the East crown. The Milwaukee Bucks had the best record in the NBA this season so, naturally, oddsmakers have given them the best odds to be the last team standing.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Bucks as odds-on faves at -105 to go to the NBA Finals followed by the Toronto Raptors at +250, Boston Celtics at +400 and Philadelphia 76ers at +450. Let’s break down each team’s chances of going into the second round:

Milwaukee Bucks -105

As one of two teams to earn a sweep in their first-round series, the Bucks were dominant vs the Pistons and won three of those four games by double digits. Now, having to face the Celtics should make them feel very confident to advance to the NBA Finals. For one, they have a matchup nightmare in Giannis Antetokounmpo who is near impossible to stop in transition and if the Celtics decide to focus on stopping only him, they then have to contend with Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton.

Another reason why the Bucks could be in line to knock off the Celtics is how well rested they are. Comparatively to the Celtics’ starters, no player on the Bucks is averaging more than 30 minutes per game whereas the Celtics have four players averaging 35 minutes or more. I think the Bucks’ depth will overwhelm Boston and if you haven’t gotten a bet in on Milwaukee yet, you may as well take them to win the NBA Finals because the value to win the East is all but gone.

Toronto Raptors +250

Dropping the opening game of a playoff series isn’t anything new for the Raptors but when they lost Game 1 to the Magic, the PTSD of their fans and bettors kicked in thinking Orlando could pull off the first-round upset. Well, the Raptors put an end to that quickly by reeling off four straight wins and holding the Magic to less than 100 points over the final four games.

Toronto is all-in for this year and has the pieces to overcome any matchup (Giannis included) but a lot of where they fall short is between the ears. The Raptors have a habit of being a huge letdown when they’re pegged to win and now going into the second round against a very good Sixers team, it will be a battle just to get to the NBA Finals. A case can be made that each one of the remaining three teams can beat them so I think the Raptors at +250 isn’t worth it.

Boston Celtics +400

I need to start this with a disclaimer: the Celtics have been a huge disappointment this season. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, they sure looked good in that sweep of the Pacers. They had a couple of quarters where they needed some heroics from Kyrie Irving to get them out of a jam and to be fair, the Pacers are trash.

The reason why their odds are so high is that they have to face the Bucks in the next round and taking them down is easier said than done. The Bucks lost to this team in the opening round last year but they have matched up well with Boston during the season and were able to beat the Celtics on their home floor, which was something that was difficult to do for them last season. I think the +400 odds are decent because if the Celtics beat the Bucks, they’ll definitely be favored in the East final.

Philadelphia 76ers +450

The Sixers may be the odd team out now that they have to face the Raptors in the second round and then the winner of the Celtics-Bucks series if they were to advance. This isn’t good. The Sixers split the season series with the Raptors and lost three of four games against the Bucks and Celtics. The other issue is the health of Joel Embiid. The big man missed Game 3 of the first-round series with the Nets and has only played a total of 87 minutes in four starts. That will not cut it against the Raptors or in the next round because he is the one matchup problem that the Sixers have to exploit.

My final reason for not backing Philly is the Sixers’ poor shooting from behind the arc. They rank last among the remaining playoff teams in three-point shooting while the Raptors rank second in opponent three-point percentage. At this point, you’d be better served to just bet the Sixers game by game when they play in Toronto as an underdog.

Odds to Win NBA Eastern Conference in 2018-19 season

Odds as of April 25 at Bovada

  • Milwaukee Bucks -105
  • Toronto Raptors +250
  • Boston Celtics +400
  • Philadelphia 76ers +450

In what could potentially have much more drama than its Western counterpart, the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs are set to get underway. The matchups are set and the Milwaukee Bucks lead the pack to make it to the NBA Finals according to oddsmakers.

The Bucks are +150 to take the East crown followed by the Toronto Raptors (+220), Philadelphia 76ers (+350), Boston Celtics (+390), Indiana Pacers (+3300), Orlando Magic (+5500), Brooklyn Nets (+6000) and Detroit Pistons (+8000) to round out the field of eight.

Are the Bucks the Team of Destiny?

It sure seems that way. The Bucks have been hands-down the best team in the NBA this season (sorry, Warriors) and have home-court advantage for the entire postseason. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the front-runner for MVP and he has been nearly unguardable all year while also playing stellar defense. There isn’t a player in the East who can totally shut him down (even Kawhi Leonard) and the Greek Freak isn’t out there hooping by himself.

The whole Bucks roster is legit this season and the addition of head coach Mike Budenholzer might be the most underrated part of this equation. Playoffs are all about adjustments and having someone on the sideline who knows what he’s doing could play a huge difference in making it to the second round and winning the whole thing. I know the value isn’t great at +150 but this is the team I would back.

Which East Team Can Take Them Down?

The obvious contenders are the Raptors, Sixers and Celtics and out of those three teams, the Raptors make the most sense. Toronto’s team is built from top to bottom for an NBA Finals run and acquiring Marc Gasol was the key addition at the trade deadline. His ability to defend and shoot the three should put pressure on the Bucks frontcourt and at least allow Serge Ibaka to get some rest and not have to play more than 40 minutes.

If the Raptors and Bucks were to play in the Eastern Conference final, I expect it to go to at least six games and would give the Raps a serious shot to pull off the upset because they still won over 50 games while having Kawhi, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet miss a significant number of games this season.

I considered the Celtics and Sixers to win the East and while I think both teams would be competitive and keep it close in series vs Milwaukee, there are too many chemistry issues with Boston and Philly for me to feel comfortable banking on them at +350 and +390 respectively. I’d rather wait until the playoff matchup with the Bucks is set and just bet on the Sixers or Celtics as underdogs because you’d likely get the same value wagering on them game to game.

Do you think the Bucks march to the NBA Finals or will another contender like the Raptors, Sixers or Celtics get in their way?

Odds to Win NBA Eastern Conference in 2018-19 season

Odds as of April 11 at Bovada

The NBA’s Eastern Conference may be viewed in some circles as the weaker conference but with three teams positioned to win 50 or more games, the competitive balance may have shifted. Among that group, oddsmakers have tabbed the Milwaukee Bucks as the favorite to emerge out of the projected postseason bloodbath and make it to the NBA Finals.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Bucks (+190) at the top of their list followed by the Raptors (+220), Sixers (+265), Celtics (+475) and Pacers (+3300) to round out the top five.

With all due respect to the Pacers, I’m going to exclude them from the list of contenders to win the East and focus on the top four teams on the oddsboard. Please send your complaints to toobadsosad@oddsshark.com.

Milwaukee Bucks +190

Owners of the NBA’s best record, best point differential and a top MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks are not messing around. They’ve owned the best odds to win the East for a little over three months now and haven’t seemed to slow down during the grind of the NBA season.

The one thing that the Bucks having going for them is the potential of having home-court advantage through the entire postseason. Another factor is how they’ve fared against the other three teams below. Milwaukee is a combined 8-2 SU in 10 games against those squads with an impressive 21-3 SU mark in 24 home games vs East teams. At +190, get on them now because those odds will plummet come playoff time.

Toronto Raptors +220

Coming into the season, I was very high on the Raptors to make it to the NBA Finals as the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard seemed like a move that could push them over the hump. Well, the Raptors better hope their “load management” strategy with Kawhi pays off because it essentially ended any chance for the Raptors to have home-court advantage for the postseason.

After placing first in the East last season, I thought the move for Kawhi would all but lock that spot up again for them but the eye test shows that they’re still trying to find chemistry with Kyle Lowry, Kawhi or Fred VanVleet missing chunks of time. I’m doubtful that the Raps can win two games in Milwaukee or Boston in a seven-game series so the value at +220 is all but gone.

Philadelphia 76ers +265

On paper, the Sixers should be the best out of the four teams. They have the best center in the NBA, two complementary wing players in Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris and a matchup nightmare at point guard in Ben Simmons. But sometimes, chemistry may get overlooked when stockpiling talent (just ask the Celtics).

 Another reason why I’m out on the Sixers is how they’ve fared against the other top contenders in the East as Philly is 1-7 SU in eight games vs the Bucks, Raptors and Celtics. Expecting them to beat those teams in a seven-game series is just not worth the price tag at +265.

Boston Celtics +475

In my opinion, this is the team with the best value out of the four. Yes, they’ve lost 19 games on the road after only losing 13 away games all of last season but you can’t overlook the playoff experience up and down the roster. The Celtics have fared very well against the Sixers and Raptors (6-2 SU in six games) this season and even though they’ve dropped two of three games against Milwaukee, I still like their chances vs the Bucks in a seven-game series.

It’s not inconceivable for the Celtics to go into an opposing team’s gym and steal a win like they did in the first two rounds last year. If bettors don’t like the value at +475, just wait till the second round of the playoffs when the Celtics are road dogs and bet them game by game.

Odds to Win NBA Eastern Conference in 2018-19 season

Odds as of March 28 at Bovada

  • Milwaukee Bucks +190
  • Toronto Raptors +220
  • Philadelphia 76ers +265
  • Boston Celtics +475
  • Indiana Pacers +3300
  • Detroit Pistons +5000
  • Orlando Magic +5500
  • Brooklyn Nets +6000
  • Miami Heat +6500
  • Charlotte Hornets +7500
  • Washington Wizards +100000

Odds as of September 14 at  Bovada

  • Boston Celtics -130
  • Toronto Raptors +400
  • Philadelphia 76ers +375
  • Milwaukee Bucks +2000
  • Washington Wizards +2200
  • Indiana Pacers +2600
  • Detroit Pistons +7000
  • Miami Heat +7000
  • Charlotte Hornets +8000
  • Chicago Bulls +8000
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +8000
  • New York Knicks +8000
  • Orlando Magic +10000
  • Atlanta Hawks +17500
  • Brooklyn Nets +17500
Odds to Win NBA Eastern Conference in 2018-19 season

But where this roster will need to see growth and development is in the frontcourt. Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis will need to step their game up to provide secondary scoring when teams converge on Oladipo and Evans. Turner has the tools to be a special big in the NBA with his ability to protect the rim (1.8 blocks per game) and shoot the three (35%). I expect this to be a top-four team in the East with the potential to be in second if things go wrong in the Six or the City of Brotherly Love so it’s worth a punt at +2600.

I really thought the Pacers were going to upset the Cavs and go on a run to the Eastern Conference final last season. After falling short in Game 7, the Pacers may be considered an afterthought in the race to the Eastern crown but this team may be a sleeper to at least get to the Eastern Conference final because of the development of Victor Oladipo. Deepo was the most improved player in the NBA in 2017-18 and provided timely crunch-time scoring while upping his points per game average from 15.9 to 23.1. The addition of Tyreke Evans to pair with Oladipo also cannot be overlooked.

Why the Pacers are a Dark horse

The Sixers, on the other hand, could be on the downswing if their best players can’t stay on the court. Joel Embiid hasn’t topped 65 games in a season in his career and their shooting percentages are expected to dip after Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova left in free agency. I still think they’re a top-three team in the East but last year’s playoffs showed some weaknesses that may be too hard to overcome when it gets down to the nitty-gritty in the postseason.

The Raptors had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season and the boogeyman known as LeBron will no longer be in their path to the NBA Finals. Adding Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan and Jakub Poetl is a huge roster upgrade if Kawhi is engaged and ready to take back his place as a top-three player in the NBA. Toronto finished 40-12 SU in 52 games vs the East and the conference regressed from a talent standpoint. But then again, the regular season has never been the issue for the Raps but rather their shortcomings in the postseason.

To win the NBA championship? That may be a tall order, but to win the East is possible.

Are the Raptors or Sixers Legit Contenders?

Prior to Kyrie Irving going down with an injury last season, the Celtics were first in the standings in the Eastern Conference and were suffocating teams on defense by only allowing 100.4 points per game (ranked third in the NBA). Now, they get to welcome the criminally underrated Gordon Hayward back to the lineup and while his leg injury could inhibit some of his explosiveness, even an 80 percent Hayward is better than most small forwards in the league. I don’t love the value at -130 but considering they were one game away from clinching the East last season without Irving and Hayward, this could be the best value you get them at.

The hype train for the Boston Celtics is just leaving the station so it’s not too late to jump on. All jokes aside, the hype is well-deserved as the Celtics have enough depth to put two starting fives on the court.

Celtics in the Driver’s Seat To Dominate

Online sportsbook Bovada has released their odds for which team will win the East with the Celtics as the odds-on favorite at -130, the Philadelphia 76ers at +375, the Toronto Raptors at +400, and the Milwaukee Bucks at +2000 to round out the top five.

After LeBron decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers, he left a 260-pound hole in the NBA’s Eastern Conference that the now-favored Boston Celtics will be happy to fill.

Archived Articles 

    • Detroit Pistons +8000
    • Brooklyn Nets +6000
    • Orlando Magic +5500
    • Indiana Pacers +3300
    • Boston Celtics +390
    • Philadelphia 76ers +350
    • Toronto Raptors +220
    • Milwaukee Bucks +150

    Boston Celtics +390

  • Philadelphia 76ers +350
  • Toronto Raptors +220
  • Milwaukee Bucks +150

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