The Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the NBA has a stacked competition. Out of the five teams in the division, four of them seem poised to contend in the NBA playoffs.
With lots of talent in the division, it’s up to the Brooklyn Nets to deliver. The Philadelphia 76ers aim for another run at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks will keep their playoff hopes on the mark. The team that appears to be relegated is the Toronto Raptors.
However, they were the last team of the division that became NBA champions in 2019.
It’s a high-stakes division where exciting basketball is played. This article will be an in-depth guide for the teams and how they shape up for this upcoming season.
The 2020 Atlantic Division saw a race for the lead that came to the wire. The Philadelphia 76ers ended in first place, as they ended one game above the Brooklyn Nets. The Sixers’ record was 49-23, while the Nets finished with a 48-24 win-loss mark.
In third place, you found the New York Knicks. They finally decided to become a decent basketball team and brought a show to MSG.
Funny enough, it wasn’t the offense, but the defense that put on a show as Tim Thibodeau restored the order at the basketball mecca. PF Julius Randle headlined what was the best season in ages for the orange and blue. He won Most Improved Player in the process.
Another postseason team followed, as the Boston Celtics had an up and down season, but managed to get to the NBA playoffs.
The 36-36 record was their worst since the 2015-2016 season. Injuries to then PG Kemba Walker and SG Jaylen Brown diminished their offense. This caused the Celtics lots of trouble.
The only team in the Atlantic Division that didn’t qualify for the playoffs was the last team on this side to be NBA champions. The Toronto Raptors appear to be in some sort of rebuild mode.
Fifteen of the 22 players that the Raptors used in 2021 are 26 years old or younger. They were a work in progress, and only PF Pascal Siakam averaged more than 20 points per game.
For these five teams, we can segment the outlook for the 2021 season in three categories, which are as follows:
Both the Sixers and the Nets will fight, once again, for the divisional glory. The difference is this time—the Nets are the ones favored by the odds. With a healthy big three consisting of PG Kyrie Irving, SG James Harden and SF Kevin Durant, no one should be able to stop them.
The big three played only eight games together in the regular season. Hence, they couldn’t build any chemistry. The three of them are a massive mix of offensive prowess. They have role players to join the frenzy as well.
With a full offseason to recover and get to know each other on the court, it’s the Nets division for the taking. If they don’t shine, head coach Steve Nash may be in the hot seat.
The Sixers will try, though. Philly is in a weird situation, where they are a rock-solid team with a massive star in their hands with C Joel Embiid. An MVP contender last season, the issue with Embiid is he can’t stay healthy.
If the Nigerian star can manage a full, healthy season, Philly’s aspirations grow exponentially. These hopes also rely on what they do with PG Ben Simmons.
Once a brilliant prospect, Simmons’ progression has been pretty much non-existent in the last three years. Simmons stands now in the eye of the hurricane. He is a prolific passer, a great defender, but a dreadful shooter.
If he is not dunking, he is missing wide-open looks, and might not be compatible with Embiid anymore. Still, having a top Head Coach like Doc Rivers entering his second year at the helm, Philadelphia is a team to watch.
Both Boston and New York have changed their roster in order to build a better season. For the Knicks, it comes as a second season under Thibodeau, and the progress is there.
Also, bringing back big names like PG Derrick Rose is crucial. He and star signing PG Kemba Walker will get the backcourt going at Madison Square Garden.
They will make the rest of the team better, including Randle, who wants to confirm himself as a top player in the Eastern Conference.
Don’t forget the offensive talent that is SG Evan Fournier. He has six consecutive seasons averaging 15 or more points per outing.
Now he will be one of the main scorers in a playoff team who desperately need buckets. The defense is there, and the offensive side has been addressed by the Knicks. A good season awaits.
Boston will always be a good team, but it’s not clear if they improved. Switching Kemba Walker for PG Dennis Schroder is a bit of a downgrade. But, the Celtics added depth, which is important.
The duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will ball out, but they can rely on Schroder, PG Marcus Smart, and SG Josh Richardson to help out. The problem with the Celtics is their frontcourt. C Al Horford is aging, and rumors are that they are looking for a trade to ship him out.
C Enes Kanter is the only reliable asset in the frontcourt, and he is not an all-world player. He is a good rim protector, and that’s pretty much it.
Toronto does not stand a chance. Only two players are trustworthy commodities. SG Fred VanVleet and PF Pascal Siakam. They lost their captain PG Kyle Lowry, and the talent is really scarce.
They have a potential playmaker in SG Gary Trent Jr. but he is a work in progress. The addition of PG Goran Dragic is not one to be marveled by. At 35 years old, he has been declining for a while.
Right now, Toronto needs to acquire top picks, and for that, they need to lose games. Even if they don’t want to, their talent is not enough to buy them a solid record. For the Raptors, a subpar season at best is what you can expect.
The first thing you need to do is scroll around different websites and shop lines for the NBA division odds. The more you shop, the more lines you see, and then you can decide where to bet. Shopping lines help you get more profit.
Three factors to consider when betting on futures are the odds, handles, and percentage of bets. The odds tell you what you win, or need to risk, based on a $100 bet.
For example, the Nets are at -227. This means you need to risk $227 to get a $100 profit. As for the Sixers, who are listed at +300, a $100 wager gives you a $300 return.
Next is the handle. This shows you the percentage of total bets a team is getting to win the division. This is the total amount bet.
If the Knicks have a 5% handle, it means 5% of all the money wagered on the NBA Atlantic Division winner is going for New York.
The last thing is to look at the percentage of bets. This represents the number of bets—not the amount—that each team receives.
For instance, let’s say the Sixers have 48% of all bets. This means 48% of the bets made are going for Philadelphia, but not that 48% of the money goes to them.
Once you shopped around and find the lines that best suit your bet, it’s easy to wager on divisional winners.
1. Log into your account at the sportsbook you chose.
2. Direct yourself into the NBA betting tab.
3. From the drop-down menu, click on ‘Team Futures.’
4. Select ‘Division Winner’ option.
5. Click on the team you like.
6. Submit your bet from the bet slip window that pops on the right side of the screen.