Over the last eight years, LeBron James has dominated his rivals in the Eastern Conference, winning eight consecutive titles with two different teams – the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a long, painful drought for many great franchises in the East such as the Boston Celtics or the Detroit Pistons, who won the conference two times apiece since LeBron James has entered the league.
With Lebron James moving his talents to LA on a four-year $153.3 million deal, making the Lakers an instant threat to the Warriors, the shift of power in the East is inevitable, and we’ll most likely get a new sheriff in the town. The defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers are offered at +20000 with BetDSI Sportsbook, while +5000 odds are set on the Miami Heat, but let’s see who else t favored to top the 2018-19 NBA Eastern Conference.
Odds to Win 2018-2019 Eastern Conference
Boston Celtics -160
|Philadelphia 76ers +200||
Toronto Raptors +800
|Milwaukee Bucks +2500||Washington Wizards +2500||Indiana Pacers +2500|
|Miami Heat +5000||Detroit Pistons +5000||Chicago Bulls +10000|
|New York Knicks +10000||Charlotte Hornets +10000||Cleveland Cavaliers +20000|
|Orlando Magic +20000||Brooklyn Nets +40000||Atlanta Hawks +40000|
The Boston Celtics are the biggest favorites at -160 to play in the NBA Finals next season and there are several reasons why the bookies are pretty sure about the most successful franchise in the league history. Last season, the Celtics were defeated by LeBron James’ Cavaliers in seven games, despite playing without two best players Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, so the Celtics’ displays was a huge surprise. The rookie Jayson Tatum was a true leader averaging 18.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in the playoffs, showing he could be a massive star in the future, while Al Horford was a big factor on both ends of the court, but the major thing was Brad Stevens’ system.
The 41-year old super talented head coach showed some genius tactical setups against each opponent in the playoffs, using the most of his players. He believed in young guns, so Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown all played on the highest level throughout the playoffs. With healthy Uncle Drew and Gordon Hayword at his best, Brad Stevens should lead the Celtics to their 22nd conference title, the first since 2010. A full weaponry should make Celtics’ fluid basketball even better, but there are some teams in the East who would like to take advantage of LeBron’s departure.
The Philadephia 76ers are at +200 to reach the NBA Finals and some young lions from the City of Brotherly Love look ready to roar. Joel Embiid is a magnificent force in the paint, recording 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 63 games last season with 48.3% from the field, although his minutes were quite limited. The rookie Ben Simmons impressed everyone with his maturity, while the numbers are showing how big his impact was on the Sixers’ game – 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists. However, Embiid’s proneness to injuries could easily ruin the Sixers chances to win the Eastern Conference title, but with a bit of help from Dario Saric and J.J. Redick, they could go pretty far.
The Toronto Raptors are at the third spot of the bookmakers’ list with +800 odds to play in the NBA Finals, and after a 4-0 loss to the Cavaliers in the last year Semi-Finals, the Raptors will need some changes. Even the first spot at the end of the regular season wasn’t enough, so the head coach Dwane Casey had to leave, and his successor Nick Nurse will have a tough assignment to bring the first Eastern Conference crown to Toronto. Interestingly, the Raptors are in the race to get Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs, and it could mean that DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry will leave Toronto in a trade. With a current roster, it seems like the Raptors lack the talent in order to become the dominant force in the East. Their president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri admitted he would like “to swing for the fences and move DeRozan or Lowry in such a deal”, but we’ll see if Kawhi Leonard is willing to move to Canada this summer.
The Milwaukee Bucks, the Washington Wizards, and the Indiana Pacers are all at +2500 to win the conference title, and one of these teams could be a dark horse next season, particularly the Bucks with a remarkable Giannis Antetokounmpo in the team. The Greek Freak is improving in giant steps, and he should have a huge support from Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker, while the addition of Brook Lopez should give them more options in their offense. Although the Bucks look like a long-distance shot, the bettors should consider them as an option, but also track eventual trade rumors for Jabari Parker who could leave Milwaukee.
The Wizards still rely on John Wall and Bradley Beal, so if they want to challenge the NBA Finals, some changes in the roster should be a must. This duo definitely needs some help in the paint, while on the other hand, trading Bradley Beal is another option for the Wizards. From this point of view, I cannot see the Wizards on the top of the East, or even the Pacers, who are led by the 2018 Most Improved Player Award winner Victor Oladipo, who had an excellent season after leaving the OKC Thunder. The same story is with both, the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons, who are at +5000 odds, as they lack a true leader who could guide them through the playoffs.
The New York Knicks are at +10000 odds (offered by BetDSI Sportsbook), and they will miss the budding superstar Kristaps Porzingis at the start of the season due to a knee injury. However, the head coach David Fizdale has huge expectations from a young Letonian. ” I’m going to challenge him to be an MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, and I will always try to put him in a position of success,” said Fizdale about his best player, but Porzingis will need a massive support from his teammates to even reach the playoffs. Likewise, it seems like the Knicks will wait for the summer of 2019 to make some trade moves, so their fans will probably have to wait for another season.
Similar to the Knicks, the remaining six teams will have a mountain to climb to finish in the top eight, including the Chicago Bulls, so it wouldn’t be strange to see those guys tanking the next season.
The Pick: Boston Celtics (-160)
Additional Pick: Milwaukee Bucks +2500
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