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NBA Southeast Division Futures: Wall and the Wizards are Way Ahead of the Pack

The Southeast Division has been one of the most wide open divisions in the NBA for quite some time, but according to oddsmakers, it’s a one-horse race in the upcoming 2017-18 campaign.

The Washington Wizards are the heavy -250 front-runners to capture the division at Bovada, with the Miami Heat (+350), Charlotte Hornets (+600), Atlanta Hawks (+5000) and Orlando Magic (+5000) all available in plus-money.

After a severe down year, Washington established itself as a true force in the Eastern Conference last season, winning the Southeast with a record of 49-33 and pushing the Boston Celtics to the brink in the Eastern Conference semifinals before eventually bowing out in seven games.

When you look at the rest of the rosters of every team in the Southeast, it makes sense that the Wiz are expected to once again raise the banner at the end of the year. John Wall and Bradley Beal are one of the top backcourts in the Association, while Otto Porter Jr.’s brimming potential is starting to come to fruition at the ripe age of 24.

On paper, the Heat are the only other squad with a realistic chance of catching the Wizards this year. Miami had a terrible start to the season a year ago but rallied after an 11-30 start to win 30 of their next 41 games. The Heat’s early hole proved to be too much for them to overcome, though, as they were eliminated from postseason contention in the final game of the season.

If Miami resembles the same team that rocketed up the Eastern Conference standings in the second half of the season, watch out.

It’s going to be tough sailing for the Hornets, Magic and Hawks. The Hornets have been on the bubble of breaking out for years but haven’t quite gotten over the hump, and it’s hard to expect that to happen in 2017-18. The Hawks have committed to a full rebuild and figure to be in the cellar of the conference for the foreseeable future. As for the Magic? Well, they’re very likely going to be the same old Magic, which means they’re fade material for bettors across the board.

2017-18 NBA Southeast Division Odds
TeamOdds
Washington Wizards-250
Miami Heat+350
Charlotte Hornets+600
Atlanta Hawks+5000
Orlando Magic+5000

Odds as of October 4 at Bovada

Archived Articles

The 2016-17 edition of the race for the NBA's Southeast Division is a virtual toss-up at this point, and that's translated to the betting window.

The Southeast is the only division in the Eastern Conference without a clear-cut front-runner, as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors are easily the most talented teams in the Central and Atlantic. At Sports Interaction, the Atlanta Hawks were listed as +135 favorites as of mid-January, with the Charlotte Hornets (+200), Washington Wizards (+220), Orlando Magic (+4000) and Miami Heat (+25000) also available to bet on.

At the time of writing, the Hawks topped the Southeast with a record of 24-17 while the Wizards (21-19), Hornets (20-21), Magic (17-26) and Heat (12-30) chased Atlanta.

With that in mind, I'm not sold on the Hawks. Atlanta recently traded sharpshooting veteran Kyle Korver to the Cavs, while it's only a matter of time before impending free agent Paul Millsap is shipped out of town as well. Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox realizes the current makeup of his team isn't good enough to compete with the Cavaliers, and a rebuild seems inevitable in Georgia.

The Wizards are trending in the right direction right now. In the wake of a disappointing 2015-16 season that saw them finish on the outside of the playoffs looking in, John Wall and company are starting to look like the contending team everyone expected them to be and have won seven of their last 10 games.

2016-17 NBA Southeast Division Odds
TeamOdds
Atlanta Hawks+135
Charlotte Hornets+200
Washington Wizards+220
Orlando Magic+4000
Miami Heat+25000

Odds as of January 18 at Sports Interaction

Archived Articles

In terms of competitiveness in the NBA, it’s hard to top the Southeast Division. The 2016-17 campaign is proving to be a tight race once again, but two teams have separated themselves from the pack according to oddsmakers.

The Charlotte Hornets are -120 favorites to claim the Southeast at BetOnline, while the Atlanta Hawks are right behind them at +120. The Washington Wizards (+1400), Miami Heat (+3300) and Orlando Magic (+4000) are all long shots at this point.

As of November 30, Charlotte and Atlanta were tied for the division lead at 10-8. Atlanta had a red-hot start to the year, winning nine of its first 11 games, but has since gone 1-6. That’s caused sportsbooks to scramble and, subsequently, the Hawks’ odds to tumble in the matter of a week and a half.

I’ve been a big fan of the Hornets over the last few years, so it’s nice to see them finally getting the respect they deserve. Charlotte was tied with Miami for the third-best odds to win the Southeast prior to the start of the season – a questionable move considering the talent discrepancy between the squads.

The Wizards continue to be a puzzling team to figure out. Washington (6-10) hasn’t been able to rebound from an embarrassing 2015-16 campaign, and it’s pretty obvious why. The Wizards defense has been a problem for years, and is allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent from the field (fifth-worst in the league) and 37.7 from beyond the arc (fourth-worst).

With solid young players like John Wall and Bradley Beal steering the ship, something is simply not quite right in D.C, as this team is too good on paper to play this poorly. Time will tell if the Wizards can rebound from the slow start, but I wouldn’t advise touching their +1400 divisional price until they start showing they can play as a cohesive unit.

2016-17 NBA Southeast Division Odds
TeamOdds
Charlotte Hornets-120
Atlanta Hawks+120
Washington Wizards+1400
Miami Heat+3300
Orlando Magic+4000

Odds as of November 30 at BetOnline

Archived Articles

The NBA’s Southeast Division always features one of the most competitive races in the league, and the battle for the title in the 2016-17 season will be no different.

Online sportsbook Bovada and their oddsmakers are expecting the Atlanta Hawks to recapture the crown this year.

Atlanta has been tabbed as +180 favorites at the shop, with the Washington Wizards (+300), Miami Heat (+350), Charlotte Hornets (+350) and Orlando Magic (+1600) also in the mix. That’s some great parity for a league that often gets criticized for its lack of it.

The Hawks are at a crossroads right now. Many experts believe their championship window has closed, and the loss of longtime big man Al Horford is going to sting. To replace Horford’s production, Dwight Howard was brought to Georgia, but Howard is clearly past his prime and his numbers have shown that in recent years.

Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Kyle Korver are still there, but this team doesn’t stick out as a must-bet anymore. That means it might be wise to consider other options.

Washington was a massive disappointment last season, as the Wizards finished on the outside looking in, missing the playoffs with a 41-41 record. Rumors have surfaced out of Wizards’ camp about conflicts between young guards Bradley Beal and John Wall, but this team is too talented to falter that badly again. The Wiz should be in the mix for the Southeast, so their +300 price looks fair.

Among Charlotte, Miami and Orlando, I greatly favor the Hornets. Charlotte came out of nowhere to put together a 48-win season in 2015-16 and grab the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, and I don’t see them regressing any time soon. The boys from Buzz City might be one of the best value bets in the NBA when it comes to divisional futures.

2016-17 NBA Southeast Division Odds
TeamOdds
Atlanta Hawks+180
Washington Wizards+300
Miami Heat+350
Charlotte Hornets+350
Orlando Magic+1600

Odds as of October 26 at Bovada

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