The NBA Playoffs are back as action tips off Saturday afternoon. The 2023 season may be the most wide-open the league has ever been and thus there is a ton of value in the futures betting market. As such, our friends at FanDuel have you covered with Eastern Conference Winner odds. Below we continue our NBA odds series with an Eastern Conference Winner prediction and pick.
Here are the Eastern Conference Winner odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Eastern Conference Winner Odds
Milwaukee Bucks: +110
Boston Celtics: +170
Philadelphia 76ers: +440
Cleveland Cavaliers: +1800
New York Knicks: +4200
Miami Heat: +10000
Atlanta Hawks: +10000
Brooklyn Nets: +24000
Chicago Bulls: +24000
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While a number of teams could mathematically win the Eastern Conference, we’re going to keep our prediction piece focused on the top four teams. Unlike the Western Conference which is very much up in the air, the East feels much more solidified. Throughout the season, Milwaukee, Boston, and Philly established themselves as clearcut contenders while Cleveland lurked in the background as a dark horse.
Why The Bucks Could Win The East
With 58 wins, Milwaukee finished with the best record not just in the Eastern Conference, but in the entire NBA. Two years removed from their 2020-21 NBA Championship run, the Bucks return as clear-cut favorites to cut down the nets yet again. Not only are the Bucks favorites to win the East, but they are also favorites to win the Finals at +240. While that doesn’t scream “value” there certainly exists an argument that getting Milwaukee at plus odds is a bargain. After winning the Finals in six games back in 2020-21, the Bucks looked like a potential dynasty thanks to Giannis being in his prime.
The Greek Freak continued to grow his game in 2021-22 but a late injury to Kris Middleton became too much to handle. Still, Milwaukee battled eventual-Eastern Conference champions Boston and many argued the Bucks would have won that series if they were healthy. While Middleton still doesn’t look like his former self, Milwaukee received huge jumps in production from guard Jrue Holiday and big man Brook Lopez. Holiday put together his best offensive season since 2018-19 as he averaged 19.3 PPG and 7.4 APG while nailing a career-high 2.4 threes per game. Along with Lopez (1.7 threes and 2.5 blocks per game), the Bucks feature arguably the most well-rounded team in the NBA. With arguably the best-supporting cast Giannis has had, the Bucks are rightful favorites.
Why The Celtics Could Win The East
Boston looked like the best team in the NBA during the first half of the season as they won 21 of their first 16 games. They never completely fell off as the Celtics finished with the second-best record in the league with 57 wins. Still, Boston felt vulnerable in the second half of the year. Coupled with Milwaukee’s ascension to the top of the conference, a lot of the early-season hype around the Celtics died off.
Personally, I would advise against jumping ship on the Celtics. The reigning Eastern Conference champions still feature arguably the best duo in the league via Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They surround those two with a plethora of strong defenders who can all shoot, pass, and defend. Boston’s roster flexibility allows them to match up with anyone and play any style of basketball. Additionally, their 3-1 record against Philly and 2-1 record against Milwaukee bodes well for their chances of getting out of the East,
Why The 76ers Could Win The East
With the likely MVP leading the way, the 76ers took a huge leap after a disappointing finish to the 2021-22 season. Philly won 54 games during the regular season – the most during the Embiid era and a number that would’ve slotted them into first place in the West. While they battled Milwaukee and split the season series 2-2, three losses to Boston leave me with a lack of confidence in their ability to get past the second round. Additionally, James Harden’s nagging injury could be a huge detriment to any potential deep run as it remains to be seen how his aging body holds up for an entire postseason.
Why The Cavaliers Could Win The East
Cleveland may sit comfortably behind those top three in terms of odds but make no mistake – Cleveland could make a run. I would feel much better about the Cavaliers if the Celtics awaited them in the second round considering they won three of four matchups against Boston this season. Still, they split the series against Milwaukee and possess all the ingredients you need for a deep run. In addition to boasting the top defense in the league, the Cavaliers feature two elite guards and two versatile bigs.
Final Eastern Conference Winner Prediction & Pick
While chalking may not be a fun way to gamble, it’s how you make money. Milwaukee was the best team in the league during the regular season and that should continue through the playoffs.
Final Eastern Conference Winner Prediction & Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (+110_
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