Could Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks finally get the job done after coming up woefully short of their on-court and sportsbook betting championship hopes the last few seasons?
Could the revamped Philadelphia 76ers or young and hungry Boston Celtics get past either of the aforementioned favorites or could a Toronto Raptors team that seems to be getting overlooked, rise up to challenge for the Eastern Conference crown?
Last but not least, could the reigning conference champion Miami Heat repeat as conference champs in their bid to win it all this coming campaign?
With the start of the 2020-21 NBA regular season weeks away, it’s time to take a look at the value-packed online betting odds to win the Eastern Conference title. Better yet, you’re going to get my top five picks to cash in against the NBA Futures odds to win the East.
The upcoming campaign will be the NBA’s 75th season. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the regular season has been reduced from its normal 82 games to 72 games, beginning on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The playoffs are tentatively set for its usual 16-team format beginning on May 22. In other NBA Covid-19 news, the Toronto Raptors plan to play their 2020–21 home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fl, because of border-crossing travel restrictions imposed by the Canadian government.
2021 NBA odds to win the Eastern Conference
Brooklyn Nets +225
Milwaukee Bucks +250
Boston Celtics +500
Miami Heat +500
Philadelphia 76ers +625
Toronto Raptors +800
Atlanta Hawks +3300
Indiana Pacers +3300
Washington Wizards +4000
Orlando Magic +4600
Charlotte Hornets +5600
Detroit Pistons +8500
New York Knicks +8500
Chicago Bulls +14000
Cleveland Cavaliers +14000
Top Five Picks: NBA Odds to Win the Eastern Conference
No. 5 – Boston Celtics
Being the truth-teller that I am, let me get started by saying that Boston had one of the most underwhelming offseasons of any team in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics lost versatile swingman Gordon Hayward, veteran big man Enes Kanter and backup point guard Brad Wanamaker while acquiring veteran center Tristan Thompson and veteran point guard Jeff Teague in free agency. Then the Celtics selected sweet-shooting guard Aaron Nesmith and heady point guard Payton Pritchard in the first round of the draft. Overall, I don’t think the Boston Celtics improved. They missed out on active rim-protecting big men like Nerlens Noel, Steven Adams, and Hassan Whiteside. After reaching the Eastern Conference finals in three of the last four years, I don’t see it happening for the young C’s in 2021.
No. 4 – Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee added veteran combo guard Jrue Holiday. But, the Bucks failed miserably in their bid to add sweet-shooting forward Bogdan Bogdanovic. I believe that is going to cost dearly. Opponents have figured out the way to beat Milwaukee is to close off the lane for Giannis Antetokounmpo and make someone else beat them. Unfortunately, the addition of Holiday alone won’t be enough to help Milwaukee get past several teams that all look like they’ve improved. That makes the Milwaukee Bucks my No. 4 pick to win the Eastern Conference in 2021.
No. 3 – Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia had a huge makeover and I believe it could catapult the 76ers to the top. Yes, even if they are my No. 3 pick to win the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers brought in former Rockets GM Daryl Morey to makeover their roster. And that’s just what he did. First, Morey hired a well-respected head coach in Doc Rivers. He is going to help the Sixers and their young stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons reach their full potential.
The Sixers parted ways with Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and Alec Burks. But they made some nice offseason additions by signing active veteran big men Dwight Howard and Tony Bradley to back up Embiid. Philadelphia also added some quality perimeter shooters in Seth Curry, Danny Green and first-round draft pick Tyrese Maxey. I’m also expecting some improvement from impressive second-year swingman Matisse Thybulle. In general, I love Philly’s makeover. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sixers really challenge for the conference win even though I have them as my No. 3 NBA pick to win the east.
No. 2 – Miami Heat
After stunning everyone to win the Eastern Conference Finals last season, Miami returns 12 of the 15 players. The Heat re-signed still effective point guard Goran Dragic, veteran power forward Udonis Haslem, and underrated big man Meyers Leonard. Miami did lose versatile veteran forwards Jae Crowder, Solomon Hill, and Derrick Jones Jr. But, I love their additions of veteran guard Avery Bradley and veteran forward Moe Harkless in free agency. The Heat also made a good pick by selecting athletic big man Precious Achiuwa with the 20th overall pick in the draft. With Jimmy Butler, sweet-shooting guards Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson leading the way, I think it’s quite possible Miami repeats. Even if oddsmakers have Miami listed as the fourth overall favorite to come out of the east.
No. 1 – Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are prohibitive favorites for a reason. Although I’m concerned with how things will play out in Year 1 of their new era. Still, the Nets will have superstar forward Kevin Durant back in action. He missed the entire 2019-20 campaign while recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon.
Durant will join a healthy (for now) Kyrie Irving. That will give the Nets what should be one of the top duos in the entire league. That’s not all though. I absolutely love swingman Caris Levert (18.7 ppg) and his unlimited potential. Or maybe you missed his epic 51-point outburst against Boston in March? In 10 games after the league’s ‘re-start’ last season, Levert averaged 23.1 points per game.
There’s more. Brooklyn also has another All-Star caliber guard in veteran Spencer Dinwiddie (20.4 ppg). He’s going to be an important player when Irving eventually has to miss time. Brooklyn also has a mobile young center in Jarrett Allen (11.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg). He’s a capable backup rim-protector and rebounder extraordinaire in veteran Deandre Jordan and some quality depth in perimeter performers like Joe Harris, Landry Shamet, and veteran forward Jeff Green. On paper, the Nets should probably win the Atlantic. However, I’ll admit that Kyrie Irving’s strange persona and past unwillingness to help his younger teammates improve, could derail Brooklyn’s championship hopes!