The National Basketball Association is made up of 30 teams (29 in the United States, and one – Toronto – in Canada). These 30 teams are split up into two conferences. One is called the Eastern Conference (i.e., the NBA East), and the other is called the Western Conference (NBA West). Each conference, which features 15 teams in total, is further divided into divisions. Each division includes five teams.
The East is broken down into three divisions: the Atlantic, Central, and Southeast. The eight teams that finish the regular season with the best record in the conference qualify for the playoffs. One team makes it out of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, qualifying for the NBA Finals, where it squares off with the lone team to emerge from the West. Bettors are able to wager on who will win each conference and division. We are here to help you understand the odds to win the East and each of its divisions, leading to a big pay day in 2019.
Understanding the NBA East Odds
Before we dive into the East breakdown, we will quickly recap how to read the odds. Below, you’ll see each team name with a plus or minus sign next to it. If the team has a minus sign after its name, the number that follows indicates how much money you would have to wager to win $100. For example, the Celtics have -130 odds of winning the Atlantic – that means you would need to wager $130 to win $100 if the Celtics won their division.
The plus sign, alternatively, shows how much you would win on top of a $100 bet. For example, the Raptors have +280 odds to win the Atlantic. That means if you bet $100 on the Raptors, you’d cash out with $380 if they won the division.
Odds to Win the NBA Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics -130
Toronto Raptors +280
Philadelphia 76ers +300
Brooklyn Nets +15000
New York Knicks +20000
The Atlantic should feature easily the most competitive – and fun – divisional race in the East. This division boasts arguably the three best teams in the conference: the Celtics, Raptors, and 76ers. Unfortunately for hoops fans in New York City, the Nets and Knicks don’t have a prayer while grouped up with this murderer’s row.
Odds to Win the NBA Central Division
Milwaukee Bucks +110
Indiana Pacers +130
Detroit Pistons +650
Chicago Bulls +3500
Cleveland Cavaliers +3500
The Bucks, with new coach Mike Budenholzer (who came over from Atlanta this summer) and emerging star Giannis Antetokounmpo, are the slight favorites to win the Central. But the Indiana Pacers, who gave LeBron James and the Cavaliers a run for their money in the first round of the 2017-18 playoffs, are tight on their heels. The Cavs won this division a year ago but have incredibly slim odds of repeating.
Odds to Win the NBA Southeast Division
Washington Wizards -140
Miami Heat +170
Charlotte Hornets +1200
Orlando Magic +1800
Atlanta Hawks +5000
The Wizards are unquestionably the most talented team in the Southeast – John Wall and Bradley Beal form a lethal backcourt duo. But this team has never managed to turn its talent into sustained success on the court. One has to wonder how Dwight Howard will impact the locker room’s chemistry. If they slip up, Erik Spoelstra’s Heat could snatch the Southeast.
Odds to Win the NBA East Division
Here are each team’s odds to win the NBA Eastern Conference Championship in 2018-19.
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
Analyzing the NBA East Odds
The Celtics are the overwhelming favorite to come out of the East, and they have the second-best odds overall – behind the Golden State Warriors – of winning the 2018-19 NBA championship. This makes sense given the team’s loaded core, which includes Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. All five of these starters should compete for an All-Star spot.
The Raptors, however, should pose a real threat to Boston. Toronto reloaded this summer, sending star DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio in a deal involving Kawhi Leonard. If Leonard’s quadriceps has healed, he could return to form as an MVP candidate. Couple that with the consistent production of Kyle Lowry, and the momentum of a coaching change, and Toronto could be an intriguing bet.
The 76ers have the third-best odds of winning the East. Philadelphia has arguably the conference’s two most exciting young stars: Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The problem, however, is that The Process lost some of its depth this offseason, allowing veteran sharpshooters Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli to sign elsewhere. Markelle Fultz should play a big role in Philly’s success or failure.
If you’re looking for an underdog that could cash out big, Milwaukee is your best bet. Budenholzer is as respected as practically any coach in the league, Jabari Parker is gone (presumably improving locker-room relations), and the Greek Freak has another year of experience and conditioning under his belt. Milwaukee could surprise pundits this year.
Strategy for Betting NBA East Futures
Futures bets are a type of NBA betting line based on an event that will be decided further down the road. For example, this includes the odds to win the division or odds to win the conference, as we’ve mentioned above. There are a few important strategies to keep in mind when you’re betting futures like these. Let’s go over them so you have a better chance at winning your bet:
Note How the Team Finished the Season
Seeing how the team finished the previous year is a telltale sign of how they’ll perform in the coming year (assuming the roster is similar). For example, a young team that won 10 games to the end the season could carry that momentum over. Or a team that lost seven of its last eight games could be foreshadowing even greater struggles. Keep an eye on a team’s momentum of and how it finished the previous season.
Track the Offseason Changes
There’s plenty of movement in the modern NBA, so keep your finger on the pulse of transactions. Some teams will fire coaches and change their entire team philosophy. Some teams, feeling they are on the right track, will merely add to what they have. Monitor the news from free agency as well as the NBA Draft. Teams can acquire key players that can change the course of their season (like the Lakers acquiring LeBron James this summer). Paying attention makes it much easier to predict a team’s outcomes.
Know the Strength of Schedule
Once the annual schedule is released, every team’s strength of schedule gets graded. That’s important to track, because some teams will play easier schedules and some will have harder foes to match up with. For example, the Raptors, Celtics, and 76ers are in the same division, so they’ll play each other more frequently. That figures to be much more challenging than the Wizards playing against lesser competition. Take note of who has an easier or more difficult schedule, as that’s important for betting futures.