NBA Eastern Conference Best Bet
It's the usual suspects (Bucks, Celtics, 76ers) atop the Eastern Conference odds, but I'd take a gander at the Heat. In the middle of the pack, Miami's offering great value, and who wouldn't want to see Jimmy Butler in the playoffs, again?
What Teams and Divisions Are in The Eastern Conference?
With 30 teams in the entire NBA, the Eastern Conference holds an even 15, ranging from Wisconsin to Massachusetts. These are divided into three divisions: the Atlantic, Central and Southeast, each comprising five teams in close proximity.
See below for a complete list of the teams in each division and a rundown on the history of the Eastern Conference Championship, along with some betting trends to help you plan futures.
The only division in the Eastern Conference to partially operate outside the EST timezone, the Central includes Midwest teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
From a championship standpoint, the Southeast Division holds the fewest trophies of any league, with only seven cumulative wins. Those teams include the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and the Washington Wizards (formerly the Baltimore Bullets).
Past Eastern Conference Champions
* Won the NBA Finals.
Pop Quiz: can you spot a theme in the bottom five teams on this list? If you guessed LeBron James, well… of course you did. James’ run in Cleveland coincides with the four straight NBA finals between the Cavs and the Golden State Warriors, a dominant time for both teams.
With his departure to the Lakers in 2018, the other Eastern squads earned some breathing room. We saw the Toronto Raptors take home their first Finals win, and the Bucks earn their second, with the Heat returning to form. The current state of the conference boasts several finals-ready teams that threaten to tip the scales on their Western foe's track record.
Eastern Conference Championship Betting Trends
History of the Eastern Conference
The NBA underwent significant expansions and realignments in 1970, founding the Eastern Conference as we know it in the same year. It began with only eight teams, two of which (the Buffalo Braves and Cincinnati Royals) are now defunct.
Over the years, more and more teams would be added as the NBA continued to expand and readjust conferences. Notably, 1995 brought the Toronto Raptors into the conference, the only Canadian team still playing in the NBA.
Before 2004, the Eastern Conference was separated into the Atlantic and Central divisions. When the Charlotte Hornets (previously the Bobcats) joined the NBA as the 30th team, the league saw a chance to realign divisions into equal splits of five teams each – this brought us the Southeast division and the Eastern Conference as we know it today.
In terms of NBA Championships, the Eastern holds 40 titles compared to the West’s 37. Admittedly, the 1957 - 1969 Boston Celtics gave the East a significant lead, winning 11 finals in 13 years. From 2000 onward, Eastern teams have only taken home the trophy eight times.
NBA Western Conference Best Bets
Given Nikola Jokic's untiring consistency on the court, the Nuggets are probably the best bet to repeat. But, for a longer shot, the Thunder are worth watching. OKC is a young squad with a star leading the way and plenty of hungry supporting cast members.
What Teams and Divisions Are in The Western Conference?
Because the NBA's 30 teams are divided evenly between two conferences, 15 belong to the Western Conference. They’re split between three divisions: the Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest, who each hold five teams each.
See below for a complete list of the teams in each division and a rundown on the history of the Western Conference Championship, along with some betting trends to help you plan your futures.
Curiously, the Northwest is the most geographically diverse division in the league. The Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz are closer to their Pacific opponents, while the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder border the Central and Southeast Divisions, respectively.
Honestly, the Pacific could be renamed the California Division, and almost nothing would change. Four teams hail from the Sunshine State: the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings – the only out-of-state team is the Phoenix Suns.
Fittingly named, this southernmost division of the NBA consists of the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and the most recent addition to the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans, who joined in 2004.
Past Western Conference Champions
|2021||Golden State Warriors*|
|2019||Los Angeles Lakers*|
|2018||Golden State Warriors|
|2017||Golden State Warriors*|
|2016||Golden State Warriors*|
|2015||Golden State Warriors|
|2014||Golden State Warriors*|
|2013||San Antonio Spurs*|
* Won the NBA Finals
Thank goodness for the CTRL C + V shortcut – it’s not hard to see that the Golden State Warriors have lived up to their dynasty reputation. With six Western Conference championships in the past ten years, they’ve won the NBA Finals in four seasons.
The Western Conference has dominated the competition against their Eastern foes in recent years, taking the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy home seven out of ten times. We may see seven more in a decade with no sign of these teams slowing down.
Western Conference Championship Betting Trends
History of the Western Conference
Founded in the same year as the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference began in 1970 with nine teams, bringing the Midwest and Pacific divisions with it.
As the NBA grew, teams from the East and West shuffled divisions and relocated numerous, with five new teams joining the mix over the next thirty-plus years.
When the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) joined the Eastern Conference in 2004, the league saw an opportunity to realign divisions into an equal split of five teams each. The Western Conference adopted the Southwest division, and the league’s structure has been the same since.
Regarding NBA Championships, the West lags behind the Eastern Conference with 37 titles to their 40. In recent years (especially the last 10), the Western has begun to dominate the race for the title, winning 14 championships since 2000.
This table shows the timeline of Western Conference expansions and relocations over the past five decades.
NBA Atlantic Division Best Bets
This grouping is usually a bloodbath at the top with Boston and Philadelphia punching it out for the entire season. One of those two teams will win the divisional crown again this year.
The C's look excellent again, but the Sixers are my best bet. Joel Embiid has a co-star in Tyrese Maxey, and suddenly this Philly lineup looks more balanced than ever before.
What Teams Are In The Atlantic Division?
The Atlantic Division is one of basketball’s most competitive and exciting divisions, largely due to intense rivalries between big market teams. This division houses five teams: the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics are one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NBA – founded in 1946, the team quickly became synonymous with dominance, winning 11 NBA championships in just 13 seasons from 1957 to 1969, including an unprecedented eight consecutive titles from 1959 to 1966.
The C's legacy continued into the modern era, with the likes of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett leading the team to its 17th NBA Title in 2008 – that win tied Boston with the Los Angeles Lakers for most in NBA history. The Celtics are now anchored by star forward Jayson Tatum, and they came close to Championship territory again, losing to the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals.
Founded in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans, the Nets franchise has undergone many facelifts over the years. After a brief stint of playing in Long Island as the New York Nets, the organization moved back across the Hudson to become the New Jersey Nets, winning championships with Julius “Dr. J” Irving in 1974 and 1976 before the ABA-NBA merger.
The Nets relocated to Brooklyn in 2012 and immediately became contenders through building a roster of young talent. The Nets have had promising players (Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving) come and go from their roster, but they're expected to be competitive in the Eastern Conference for years to come.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are one of the oldest and most iconic franchises in the NBA, established through the Basketball Association of America in 1946. The 1970s are generally considered the golden era for the Knicks, having been led by the legendary Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, and Bill Bradley. The team experienced its most significant success during this time, securing two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973.
Although New York hasn't seen a championship since then, the Knicks remain one of the most beloved and followed teams in the NBA. Despite challenges in recent decades, their passionate fan base and storied history continue to be celebrated in both the NBA and sporting world as a whole.
The 76ers were founded in 1946, eventually becoming one of the most storied franchises in NBA history. Led by Wilt Chamberlain, the team won their second NBA championship in 1967. A few years later, in 1983, the 76ers won their third NBA championship thanks to a formidable lineup including Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Maurice Cheeks. In fact, the 76ers boast some of the strongest NBA alumni across the league, having been home to legendary players like Allen Iverson and Charles Barkley for the majority of their careers.
In recent years, the team underwent a rebuilding phase, which has since paid off. Through tough defence and crafty play, the 76ers have returned to prominence as a strong contender in the Eastern Conference. With a roster led by star center Joel Embiid, the team aspires to bring Philadelphia their first NBA trophy in almost fifty years.
The Raptors are Canada's only NBA team, established alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies (now relocated to Memphis) in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. The Raps’ got off to a hot start in the early 2000s by drafting Vince Carter, a shooting guard who quickly became the face of the franchise and one of the league's most electrifying players. Carter's high-flying dunks and scoring prowess helped the Raptors achieve their first-ever playoff appearance in 2000, garnering widespread attention and support that helped keep the NBA in Toronto.
After Carter's departure, the team earned their first Atlantic Division title in 2007, subsequently going through an extensive rebuilding phase that culminated in the acquisition of Kyle Lowry in 2013. Under the guidance of president Masai Ujiri and coach Nick Nurse, the Raptors achieved their greatest success in the 2018-2019 season. The team, led by Kawhi Leonard, made history by winning their first-ever NBA championship, defeating the two-time defending Golden State Warriors in a six-game series.
Past Atlantic Division Winners
*Won the NBA Finals.
Atlantic Division Betting Trends
History Of The Atlantic Division
The Atlantic Division has been around since the inception of the league in 1946. From the Celtics' unparalleled 17 NBA championships to the 76ers' memorable title run in 1983, the Atlantic Division has seen fierce rivalries, legendary players, and historic moments that have left an indelible mark on the sport.
Over the years, the division has showcased intense competition and captivating matchups, making it a cornerstone of the NBA's legacy and shaping the course of basketball history.
Atlantic Teams with the Most Division Titles
|Team||# Titles Won|
|New York Knicks||5|
NBA Central Division Best Bets
It's Bucks or nothing in this division. Milwaukee has won the Central four years in a row, and with Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks should cruise to a fifth consecutive clinch.
What Teams Are In The Central Division?
The Central Division was established during the 1970 NBA season as part of the league's expansion and realignment efforts. It currently houses the Chicago Bulls, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons, the Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Established in 1968 as an expansion franchise, the Bucks quickly found success under their first-ever draft pick, Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who became one of the greatest players in NBA history. In 1971, only their third season in the league, the Bucks clinched an NBA Championship victory, establishing their place in basketball lore.
The 2021 season marked a historic moment for the Bucks as they secured their second NBA championship with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way, solidifying his status as a generational talent, if not the second-best to ever play in Milwaukee. Having won the Central Division four years in a row, the Bucks are a massive threat for years to come.
Founded in 1970, the Cavaliers struggled out of the gate – rough performance and shoddy ownership decisions paved the way for a 24-game losing streak in the 80s, the second-worst in NBA history. Thankfully, the tides turned with the 2003 NBA Draft, using their first overall pick to select LeBron James, a native of Ohio and a once-in-a-generation talent. With LeBron leading the way, the Cavaliers reached new heights and made their first NBA Finals appearance in 2007.
In an unforgettable media event, LeBron left the Cavs in 2010 in favor of the Miami Heat. The team's fortunes changed once more when he returned in 2014, leading the Cavaliers to four straight conference titles and their first-ever NBA championship in 2016, overcoming an unprecedented 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors.
The Bulls were established in 1966, with a historic legacy that makes them one of the most iconic franchises in the league. Led by the legendary Michael Jordan, Chicago became a dominant force in the 1990s, achieving six NBA championships throughout the decade (1991-1993, 1996-1998). Under the guidance of head coach Phil Jackson, Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman (all future Hall of Famers) formed an unstoppable trio that captured the hearts of fans worldwide.
Throughout their history, the Bulls have seen other notable players grace their roster, such as Derrick Rose, who became the youngest MVP in 2011, Zach LaVine, and Jimmy Butler. After years of rebuilding, the Bulls have formed a roster of young talent and reliable vets, still searching for their first Jordan-less NBA title.
The Pacers transitioned into the NBA after the 1976 ABA-NBA Merger, when they continued to be a formidable force. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Reggie Miller's sharpshooting and clutch performances defined an era of Pacers basketball, with Hall of Fame honorees Chris Mullin, Alex English, Mel Daniels and more gracing Indiana’s court as well.
Despite facing perennial contenders like the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, the Pacers consistently made deep playoff runs. Their rivalry with the New York Knicks — and artist Spike Lee — during this period remains legendary. Dependable stars like Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo are leading the modern-day Pacers, fighting for their first divisional title since 2014.
Founded in 1937 as a semi-professional team from Fort Wayne, Michigan, the franchise joined the NBA in 1949, adopting the Pistons name with a move to the Motor City in 1937 in 1957.
The franchise rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the infamous "Bad Boys" era, led by Hall of Famers Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and coached by Chuck Daly. The Pistons employed a rugged and defensive-minded playing style that earned them back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. In 2004, the team captured its third NBA championship with a hard-fought victory over the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers, epitomizing the Pistons' resilient spirit.
Past Central Division Winners
*Won NBA Finals
Central Division Betting Trends
History Of The Central Division
Founded in 1970-71, the Central division has been highly competitive, boasting several iconic players and teams that have left a lasting impact on the league, including Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls of the 1990s and the "Bad Boys" Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s.
Central Teams with the Most Division Titles
|Team||# Titles Won|
NBA Northwest Division Best Bets
The Nuggets will likely cruise to a division win here, but keep an eye on the T-Wolves and Thunder this season. Both squads got off to hot starts in early 2023-24 and could surprise folks in years to come,
What Teams Are In The Northwest Division?
The NBA Northwest Division is one of the six divisions in the Western Conference, featuring a host of teams that make it the most geographically diverse division in the league. It includes five teams: the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Founded in 1967, the Nuggets joined the league in 1976 after the ABA-NBA merger. Following their arrival, they qualified for playoffs for nine seasons in 80s but failed to take home a title.
Recently, the Nuggets re-emerged as a formidable force in the NBA's Western Conference. Led by star center Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets have showcased their versatility and offensive prowess, earning multiple playoff berths and becoming a tough contender for the championship. Eventually, Jokic and the Nugs broke through, winning the franchise's first NBA Title in 2022-23.
Portland Trail Blazers
Founded in 1970 as an expansion team, the Blazers quickly made their mark in the NBA. Led by the legendary Bill Walton, they achieved their greatest triumph in 1977 by winning their first and only NBA championship. From 1983 to 2003, the team would make the playoffs every year, a streak of 21 appearances that is currently tied for the second-most in NBA history.
The team has a rich tradition of talented players, including Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Damian Lillard and Brandon Roy. Lillard has been an essential piece of their modern-day squad, an elite shotmaker with undying loyalty to seeing a championship brought to the city of Portland.
Established in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz, the team moved to Utah in 1979. Led by Hall of Famers like Karl Malone and John Stockton, the Jazz became perennial contenders in the 1990s, making back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998.
In recent times, the Jazz have had a number of triumphs and disappointments – securing a number of divisional titles in the early 2000s and late 2010s, they were ultimately unable to reach the conference finals. Armed with young depth and a new head coach under Will Hardy, the Jazz are searching for the right tune to find themselves back in NBA title contention.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Established in 1967 as the Seattle SuperSonics (a team with a rich history in its own right), the squad moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder in 2008, making them the newest franchise in the NBA.
Led by superstar Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder quickly emerged as a powerhouse in the Western Conference, reaching the NBA Finals in 2012. Though they fell short of a championship, the team began a rebuild and is now on the verge of contention with rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the helm.
The Timberwolves were founded in 1989 as an expansion team and have a history marked by promising moments and repeated challenges. Led by superstar Kevin Garnett, they experienced success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, making eight consecutive playoff appearances.
However, in recent years, the team has faced difficulties and has been working towards rebuilding with talented young players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, showing potential for a bright future.
Past Northwest Division Winners
|2017||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2015||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2014||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2013||Oklahoma City Thunder|
*Won NBA Finals
Northwest Division Betting Trends
History Of The Northwest Division
The NBA created the Northwest Division in 2004-05 as part of its realignment plan to balance out the league's structure and accommodate expansion teams. Geographically, the division includes teams located in the northwestern region of the United States, making it a logical grouping for teams based in Colorado, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, and Minnesota.
Northwest Teams with the Most Division Titles
|Team||# Titles Won|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||6|
|Portland Trail Blazers||2|
NBA Pacific Division Best Bets
These are shark-infested waters. All five of these teams (Sacramento included) have a chance at walking away the victor. Luckily, that means stronger value for sports bettors.
The Warriors are the best bet, but watch the Kings to repeat as division winners, too.
What Teams Are In The Pacific Division?
The Pacific Division has historically been one of the most dominant divisions in the league – in the past ten years, eight of the Western Conference Champions have been members of the Pacific.
Led by powerhouses like the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers, this division boasts a rich legacy of success, championships, and dynasty-style teams. While the Lakers, Warriors and Clippers steal the spotlight, the division also houses the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns, contenders in their own right.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers trace their roots back to 1947 when they were established as the Minneapolis Lakers. After joining the NBA, the Lakers would quickly win six Championships championships and relocate themselves to Los Angeles.
Reaching six NBA Finals in the 60s, the Lakers lost every title to the Boston Celtics, but their golden age was still ahead of them. During the 1980s "Showtime" era, under the leadership of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers secured five championships in the decade and solidified their place as one of the league's premier teams.
The arrival of Kobe Bryant in 1996 marked a new era for the team, as he, along with Shaquille O'Neal, led the Lakers to a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. Recently, the Lakers acquired LeBron James in 2018, further cementing their status as a powerhouse franchise. The Lakers and Celtics are tied for the most NBA Titles with 17-apiece, fuelling an ongoing rivalry.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers' history has been characterized by ups and downs since the franchise's founding as the Buffalo Braves in 1970. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the team experienced limited success, often living under the shadow of their fellow Los Angeles team, the Lakers.
The Clippers' fortunes began to change in the 2010s. With the acquisition of star players like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, the team achieved newfound success, making several appearances in the playoffs and winning two divisional titles.
With an elite selection of stars like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers of today have emerged as a prominent force in the league and a worthy adversary in the competitive Western Conference.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors, originally founded in 1946 as the Philadelphia Warriors, have a rich and eventful history in the NBA. After winning two championships in Philadelphia, the team relocated to San Francisco in 1962 and adopted the Golden State name.
The Warriors made their mark on NBA history in the 2010s, setting themselves up for a legendary playoff streak. With the emergence of their "Splash Brothers," Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, along with Draymond Green, the team established a dominant, high-scoring style of play.
Under the guidance of coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors secured four NBA championships in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022, earning widespread recognition as one of the most formidable and entertaining teams in the league.
The Suns were established in 1968 as an expansion team, carving a unique path in NBA history. Led by future Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson, the Suns achieved their second Finals appearance in 1993, ultimately lost to the Chicago Bulls.
The Suns experienced a resurgence in the 2000s with the "Seven Seconds or Less" era, featuring Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion. Although an NBA title has remained elusive, the Phoenix Suns have consistently been a competitive franchise, with superstars Devin Booker and Kevin Durant leading the charge.
The Kings, having been originally founded in 1923, are the oldest franchise in NBA history. After jumping around from New York, Kansas City and Cincinnati before moving to Sacramento in the 1980s.
Led by stars like Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, and Peja Stojaković, Sacramento experienced a golden era in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They became known as the "Kings of the Cowbell" and were a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference. During the 2001-2002 season, the Kings reached the Western Conference Finals, losing a seven-game series against the Lakers.
Despite challenging seasons since, the Kings remain a beloved franchise with passionate and enduring fans, aiming to recapture the success of their glory days.
Past Pacific Division Winners
|2019||Los Angeles Lakers*|
|2018||Golden State Warriors|
|2017||Golden State Warriors*|
|2016||Golden State Warriors*|
|2015||Golden State Warriors|
|2014||Golden State Warriors*|
|2013||Los Angeles Clippers|
*Won NBA Finals
Pacific Division Betting Trends
History Of The Pacific Division
The NBA Pacific Division, established in 1970 as part of the league's expansion, comprises some of the most iconic and successful franchises in NBA history.
No other division comes close to the Pacific's 19 NBA Titles, and with a legacy of star-studded rosters and memorable moments, this division continues to enthrall basketball fans around the world.
Pacific Division Teams with the Most Division Titles
|Team||# Titles Won|
|Los Angeles Lakers||24|
|Golden State Warriors||7|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2|
NBA Southeast Division Best Bets
There's nothing to suggest any team besides Miami or Cleveland can win this division in 2023-24. The Hawks aren't terrible, but they have a habit of sputtering in big spots.
The Heat are my pick here. Donovan Mitchell doesn't have enough helium to carry the Cavs by himself this year.
What Teams Are In The Southeast Division?
Established in 2004, the NBA Southeast Division is the newest of the three divisions in the Eastern Conference. It houses the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and Washington Wizards.
The Hawks' history dates back to 1946 when they were founded as the Buffalo Bisons in the National Basketball League (NBL). Over the years, the franchise underwent several name changes and relocations before settling in Atlanta in 1968.
The Hawks have had periods of moderate success, including the late 1950s and early 1960s when they were based in St. Louis and made multiple NBA Finals appearances, winning their only championship in 1958. Powered by a young superstar in Trae Young and dependable veterans like Bogdan Bogdanovic, the modern-day Hawks have begun to make a name for themselves, winning the Southeast Division in 2015 and 2021.
The Hornets were established in 1988 as an expansion team. During the early 1990s, the Hornets experienced significant success, making multiple playoff appearances while gaining popularity for their iconic teal and purple color scheme, along with an enthusiastic fan base.
Financial challenges led to the team's relocation to New Orleans in 2002, but a new expansion team was later awarded to Charlotte in 2004, branded as the Charlotte Bobcats. In 2013, New Orleans and Charlotte agreed to bring back the Hornets' name, re-establishing the original franchise at the beginning of the 2014 season. The Hornets have failed to secure a divisional or conference title in their lifetime, but rising stars like LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges are looking to bring some sting back to Charlotte.
Similar to the Hornets, the Heat joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1988. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the team saw moderate success – significant achievements began in 2006 when they won their first NBA Championship, led by superstar Dwyane Wade and center Shaquille O'Neal.
The Heat further solidified their status as an elite franchise by acquiring LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010, forming the "Big Three" alongside Wade to win back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. Miami returned to form in 2020 and 2023, winning the Eastern Conference but ultimately falling short in both NBA Finals.
The Magic was founded as an expansion franchise in 1989. In the early 1990s, the Magic quickly rose to prominence behind the talent of young stars Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, making their first NBA Finals appearance in 1995. The team experienced further success in the mid-2000s with the emergence of Dwight Howard, leading the Magic to the NBA Finals again in 2009.
Up until 2019, when they claimed a divisional title, the Magic went through several rebuilding phases. Backed by a deep roster of young players, Orlando looks to build off their recent success in the coming years.
The Wizards, originally known as the Chicago Packers, joined the NBA in 1961 as an expansion team. They relocated to Baltimore in 1963 and became the Baltimore Bullets, before returning to Washington, D.C., winning their first and only NBA Championship in 1978.
In 1997, the franchise was rebranded as the Washington Wizards – since this change, they’ve had periods of success and rostered standout players like Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, and more recently, John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Past Southeast Division Winners
Southeast Division Betting Trends
History Of The Southwest Division
The NBA's Southeast Division was created as part of the league's realignment plan during the 2004 - 2005 season. The realignment aimed to create balanced and geographically coherent divisions, grouping together teams that were located in the southeastern region of the United States. Interestingly, the only team to move conferences during this time was the New Orleans Hornets, with their original hometown of Charlotte taking their place.
Southeast Teams with the Most Division Titles
|Team||# Titles Won|
NBA Southwest Division best Bets
The Mavericks should have this grouping on lockdown in 2023-24. With star guards Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, Dallas possesses the star power to win an NBA title.
What Teams Are In The Southwest Division?
Established in 2004, the NBA’s Southwest Division is one of three divisions in the NBA's Western Conference featuring the southernmost teams in the conference. It consists of the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and the San Antonio Spurs.
The Mavericks began playing in the NBA during the 1981 season as an expansion history. Throughout their history, the Mavericks have had periods of both struggle and success, relying on star players and Dallas fans to propel them forward.
The Mavs achieved their greatest triumph in 2011, when they won their first and only NBA Championship. Led by Dirk Nowitzki and a talented roster under coach Rick Carlisle, the team also claimed a number of Southwest Division title wins in Dirk’s time. The franchise has been known for fostering a strong basketball culture, consistently producing competitive teams, and maintaining a loyal fan base.
The Rockets joined the NBA in 1967 as an expansion team, originally based in San Diego. Led by legendary center Hakeem Olajuwon, the Rockets experienced their golden era in the mid-1990s, securing back-to-back NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995. The team's "Twin Towers" era, with Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson, also left a lasting impact on how teams across the league used their center’s size to their advantage.
In the mid-2010s, the team saw itself claim a number of divisional titles from 2015 to 2020, powered by one of the best shooters in the league, James Harden. After Harden’s departure to Brooklyn, the team went into a phase of rebuilding and attracting young talent, making a few trades to bolster their roster as well.
The Grizzlies have ramped up their success since relocating from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001. In their early years, the team struggled to succeed, but gradually built a competitive roster. During the 2013 season, they reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, led by their core of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
In 2019, the arrival of the second-overall rookie Ja Morant lifted spirits in the Grizzlies camp – they began focusing the team around him, eventually leading them to their first division titles in 2022 and 2023. The Grizzlies have consistently been a playoff contender in the competitive Western Conference, and have earned a reputation for their hard-nosed defensive style of play.
New Orleans Pelicans
In 2002, Charlotte’s NBA team relocated to New Orleans and were temporarily known as the New Orleans Hornets. In 2013, they underwent a rebranding and became the New Orleans Pelicans, adopting the state bird as their mascot. Over the years, the Pelicans have been home to talented players like Anthony Davis and Chris Paul.
One of the organization's greatest achievements was winning the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to select Zion Williamson, a highly talented and promising forward with immense potential. Using their young star as a cornerstone, the team has building their depth and continually searching for their first divisional and conference titles.
San Antonio Spurs
Founded in 1967 as the Dallas Chaparrals, the team later moved to San Antonio in 1973 and became the Spurs. Under the guidance of coach Gregg Popovich, and with defining on-the-court leadership of players like Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker, the Spurs achieved greatness throughout the late 1990s and 2000s.
The Spurs won five NBA Championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014, establishing themselves as one of the league's premier franchises. Coach Pop still continues to coach them, and with the exciting arrival of the 7’3” first overall pick in the 2023 draft, Victor Wembanyama, they seem primed for a return to glory.
Past Southwest Division Winners
|2016||San Antonio Spurs|
|2015||San Antonio Spurs|
|2013||San Antonio Spurs|
Southwest Division Betting Trends
History Of The Southwest Division
The NBA Southwest Division format was established during the 2004-2005 NBA season as a part of the league's realignment plan. It was created to evenly distribute teams among the divisions and facilitate a more balanced schedule for the Western Conference teams.
Southwest Teams with the Most Division Titles
|Team||# Titles Won|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||6|
|Portland Trail Blazers||2|
Key Dates for 2023-24 NBA Season
October 24th: Start of the 2023–24 NBA Regular Season
November 3rd: NBA In-Season Tournament begins
December 9th: NBA In-Season Tournament Championship
January 11th: NBA Paris Game, Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
February 8th: NBA Trade Deadline
February 8th: 16-21: NBA All-Star break
April 14th: The NBA Regular Season ends
April 16-19rd: NBA Play-In Tournament
May 12th: 2024 NBA Draft Lottery
June 6th: 2024 NBA Finals begin
June 27th: 2024 NBA Draft
NBA Lines Legend
What Are NBA Futures?
NBA futures are a type of wager where you’ll bet on specific NBA events that have yet to occur – futures betting within the NBA is very popular for both novice and professional bettors, especially in the United States. For example, one of the most popular options available allows NBA fans to wager on which team will win the NBA Championship. While those NBA Championship futures take in the most volume of bets and money at sportsbooks online, there are plenty of other opportunities in the NBA to select a future winner.
Betting on NBA futures also allows basketball fans to wager on which teams will win their respective divisions, with options for the Eastern and Western conference champions as well. There are a bunch of other fun prop bets within NBA futures wagering, such as which player will win NBA MVP, be Rookie of the Year, or who win individual awards like Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man, and Most Improved.
NBA Championship Futures
The NBA championship is typically decided every June in a best-of-seven series also known as the NBA Finals. Odds for potential title winners are released at the end of the current NBA season and will move up and down following relevant NBA news or developments. If the Milwaukee Bucks are tearing it up and sitting near the top of the power rankings, their odds will improve – failing teams will see the reverse, with their odds dropping. There are also trades to take into consideration, as well as free-agent signings, coaching changes and off-the-court issues.
For example, the 2015 Golden State Warriors, who went on to win the NBA Finals, started the season at +2800 – a $100 bet before the regular season would have earned you $28000 after their victory. As the season went along, however, bettors noticed their greatness and their odds fell to standing at +225 by the playoffs. A $100 bet would only net you $225 at this point, showcasing the opportunity of betting early.
Line movement in the NBA is constant, and there are always new storylines to follow, so be sure to get your NBA futures bet placed when the odds are at their best. Our odds calculator helps you determine how much money you could win, based on the betting odds and amount of money wagered – pair that with our guide on futures betting to make an informed wager this season.
NBA Conference Futures
The Eastern and Western Conference finals are the culmination of the NBA playoffs for each respective half of the league. In the same vein as futures for the NBA Championship, a futures bet here indicates your choice of who’s going to win each conference.
Whether you’re a rookie or a vet, conference futures bets are a fantastic wager for any NBA fan. At the end of the day, the winners will be just as unpredictable as the NBA Finals – this gives you room to go with your gut and experiment. You can make a safe wager on the favourite or go for a potential payday on underdogs, maybe even both.
NBA Conference Odds
The strength of each conference varies year by year, which is why you’ll see a difference between NBA Western Conference odds and NBA Eastern Conference odds in your sportsbook.
For example, during the four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors faced off in the NBA Finals, each team’s odds were far lower than other conference members thanks to their successful track record. If the Cavs hadn’t been so dominant, the Warriors would have kept their low odds and the Eastern Conference’s futures odds would have been more spread out.
Regardless, when you’re wagering on the overall winner of a conference, there will usually be a small number of teams with lower odds because they stand the best chance of making it through. With the introduction of the play-in tournament, lower-seeded teams will have even higher odds thanks to the extra steps needed to even be in the playoffs.
Eastern Conference Divisions
The NBA is split into two conferences, with the East holding 15 teams spread across three divisions - the Atlantic, the Central, and the Southeast. Historically, this conference has won 40 NBA Finals trophies.
NBA Atlantic Division Odds
NBA Southeast Division Odds
Western Conference Divisions
The second of the NBA’s two-conference system, the West has 15 teams spread across three divisions as well - the Northwest, the Pacific, and the Southwest. Historically, this conference has won 37 NBA Finals trophies.
NBA Northwest Division Odds
NBA Pacific Division Odds
NBA Southwest Division Odds
NBA Player Awards
Overall winners are exciting, but they require you to “buy in” to an entire team. If you’d like to get a little more personal with your bets – maybe with a player you’re a fan of or a breakout rookie candidate – betting on NBA player awards is the perfect path.
You can select any category of award, with popular options being honors like MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year - options for Coach of the Year and regular season stat leaders are also available.
The awards are voted on by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from across the NBA media – players must appear in 65 regular season games (between 15 - 20 minutes each game) to be eligible for awards.
One of the more unique options when it comes to betting on NBA futures is wagering on the NBA draft. Every draft is different and comes with unpredictable moments like a top-ranked player dropping, or a team taking a gamble on an under-the-radar prospect. Most sportsbooks will allow you to wager on various NBA draft props such as who will be the first overall pick, the order of the top three draft picks, or the over/under on how many selections will come from powerhouse NCAAB schools like Duke or Kentucky.
To learn more about betting on the NBA draft, check out our Draft Betting Guide for an analysis of the current favorites and strategies to hit the jackpot on draft day futures.
How to read NBA Futures
Like any future bet you’ll see, every option for NBA futures will begin with the favorited, low-odd options before making a massive jump to the more unlikely winners. Teams will see their odds increase and decrease depending on their performance or following any relevant NBA news like trades, injuries and other changes.
As for payouts, the same rules apply as other bets – a +375 favorite would net you $375 on a $100 bet, whereas a major underdog could earn you $10,000 on the same bet at +10000. It’s not uncommon for pre-season odds to be relatively high, as anything can happen leading up to the first weeks of the regular season.
NBA Futures Line Movement
You’ll see futures odds rise and fall at the drop of a hat – with every outcome of a game, oddsmakers determine how to adjust the odds accordingly. Important events include trades, player injuries, losing streaks, blowout wins and off-the-court news. Because futures tie up your bankroll for the length of the season, it’s vital to do some research and select a trustworthy option that can deal with any of the above.
Movement is usually more intense toward the beginning of the season, levelling out as sportsbooks get a better sense of each team’s potential further into the season. It’s important to keep up to date on NBA news to snag a bet at the perfect value; just because the favorite got off to a rocky start doesn’t mean they’re out of contention, which means you might see their odds rise to a level you think is worth it.