The weird, lackluster, non-competitive Eastern Conference. All these adjectives are or have been used to describe the East of the NBA.
Let’s face it, during the last few years, the number of good teams are counted with one hand. We have even seen teams with under .500 records get into the playoffs. It’s been mediocre at best.
This may change drastically this year. Most teams leveled up their rosters, and we can finally—and hopefully—have a more competitive Eastern Conference.
We have some sort of tiers coming into this season. The East offers us the reigning champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the odds-on favorites to win it all, the Brooklyn Nets.
Then, teams that are on a second level, who are stable franchises and projects, looking to get over the hump. The Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers will fall in this category.
After that, it’s a wild conference filled with a plethora of up-and-coming teams with lots of young talent.
But first, let’s take a look at how the team’s odds shape up.
After getting the most stacked roster in the Conference, Brooklyn looked destined to be the first seed. However, after their stars suffered all season with injuries and some extra-court shenanigans—looking at you Kyrie—they settled with a second seed.
The Philadelphia 76ers were the ones to end the regular season on top. This was achieved due to a sensational start by their main man, C Joel Embiid, who was an MVP candidate.
In third place, the perennial playoff contenders the Milwaukee Bucks. With 2X MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks managed to end up third with a 46-26 record.
Those three teams were expected to get top seedings. What followed was mad. The New York Knicks stopped being the laughingstock of the NBA. Under new HC Tim Thibodeau, the Knicks employed a lockdown defense and were able to get the fourth seed.
Another shocker came at fifth, with the Atlanta Hawks. They changed HC halfway through the season, and the form that came out of it was brilliant. Nate McMillan formulated a way to put All-Star PG Trae Young in comfortable situations. Young shined and had a multitude of shooters helping him out.
The Miami Heat was sixth, and it was a rollercoaster season for the then-runners up. A decline in form of players like guards Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro and an injury-filled roster harmed Miami.
One team that disappointed was the Boston Celtics. They ended seventh, with a 36-36 record. Their season was one of the worst in recent memories. Constant injuries to PG Kemba Walker and a season-ending one to SG Jaylen Brown left the Celtics thin and dry.
The last spot was for the Wizards, earned in the play-in tournament. They started the season horribly. Somehow, they managed to even get into the play-in, they showed a lot of heart.
Indiana was ninth. Their team was decent, but injuries and a slim roster were the downfalls for an otherwise very competitive squad.
The tenth place position belonged to the Charlotte Hornets, who found themselves being a competitive team. Plus, they have a potential star in PG LaMelo Ball and an effective scorer like SF Gordon Hayward.
The Chicago Bulls followed in eleventh, with a 31-41 record. Now, the Bulls are a much different squad, but they kept young talent that makes them an exciting project for the future.
The Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and Detroit Pistons finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Detroit actually was the worst record in the league.
But, enough recap, let’s get into the 2021 preview for the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn Nets – Of course, the Nets should be in the first place. The thing is, there is a concern about their focus and health. The big three of PG Kyrie Irving, SG James Harden, and SF Kevin Durant have to manage to play together. If they do that, this team is pretty much unbeatable.
The offensive power they bring is second to none. Their role players, like SG Joe Harris that can also knock threes with ease, is a prime example. It’s by far the most stacked team in the NBA and has too much firepower to behold.
Milwaukee Bucks – Following them, the defending champs should have a great season as well. The trio of PG Jrue Holiday, SF Khris Middleton, and PF Giannis Antetokounmpo have positioned themselves as a powerhouse combo.
They will be the hunted, not the hunters, and it’s on them to handle the pressure.
Miami Heat – There’s a really high expectation for the Miami Heat. SF Jimmy Butler and C Bam Adebayo were a great duo, but now they add perennial All-Star candidate PG Kyle Lowry.
Not only that, but they will keep SG Victor Oladipo, who, when healthy, is a stud. Add depth in the chart like shooters who should have a rebound year like Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, and the Heat is a team to watch.
Philadelphia 76ers -It’s always intriguing when we talk about the Sixers. Philly is struggling with the PG Ben Simmons. The Aussie has developed little since his rookie year. Questions over his on-court chemistry with C Joel Embiid have risen and trade talks are constant.
Embiid has all the talent and the world, but his availability is a problem. He has never played more than 64 games a season, and without him, the Sixers don’t have much.
SF Tobias Harris then becomes the first option, and he is not stellar, he is decent. There’s a massive difference between both levels when you want to compete for their rings.
New York Knicks – The field opens up after that. The New York Knicks acquired box office, PG Kemba Walker, in what is the best Free Agency signing in a while. MSG also has the PG Derrick Rose back, making it one of the best one-two punches at the backfield in the whole conference.
The Knicks signed SG Evan Fournier to ensure some firepower, and names like F Julius Randle and SG RJ Barrett will continue to develop. The Knicks will make some noise not only on defense but also on offense.
Atlanta Hawks – Atlanta will fight for a good spot as well. They kept the shooters to join All-Star PG Trae Young. Guards like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, and Lou Williams can kill you if you’re not careful.
Add low post talent like PF John Collins and rebound machine C Clint Capela. Under McMillan, the Hawks play a fast brand of ball, and they can outscore you with ease if your perimeter defense isn’t sharp.
Boston Celtics -It’s not clear what direction the Celtics are going. As Brad Stevens left his HC job and evolved into a front office. The roster is still up in the air. But we can already presume which will be the starting five. They signed a cheap, good PG in Dennis Schroder.
The backcourt is shared with SG Jaylen Brown, with Marcus Smart coming off the bench for either of them. The SF belongs to Jayson Tatum, who looks poised to have yet another monster year.
On the frontcourt, it’s a double-tower combo of Al Horford and Enes Kanter. However, per the time of writing, Horford is on trade talks. This can change in the near future.
Chicago Bulls – The Chicago Bulls look like a team to watch for the 2021 season. They have talent pretty much everywhere. Lonzo Ball will handle the ball and assist with ease at the PG position. SG Zach LaVine will find himself with new scoring helpers like SF DeMar DeRozan.
They also added a top C in Nikola Vucevic and make this a complete roster. Add hustlers from the bench like Ryan Arcidiacano, Alex Caruso, and Coby White, who should develop further, and the Bulls are a problem.
Washington Wizards – Washington has pretty much a brand-new roster. A deeper squad will ensure a competitive season for the Wizards. Led by all-world SG Bradley Beal, new faces like Spencer Dinwiddie, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and Aaron Holiday will have a leader to rely on. Then, they can do their part effectively.
Indiana Pacers – Indiana is falling off a bit of their usual position, but the thin roster is a big worry. Even though they have five starting talents, the rotation is not ideal. PF Domantas Sabonis is dominant, and new HC Rick Carlisle may make some improvements, but it’s not enough.
Charlotte Hornets – Charlotte might be a problematic team since they gathered good, decent pieces. They have second-year LaMelo Ball with his magical passing and a scorer with plenty of upside like Gordon Hayward.
Their roster has young talent and could be troublesome for the rest of the league on any given night.
Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs filled their roster with big men for some reason, and are thin on every other side of the ball. They brought PG Ricky Rubio to mentor younglings like the guards Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, but man this team is unbalanced.
Toronto Raptors – The Raptors have talents like PF Pascal Siakam or SG Fred VanVleet, but losing their captain Kyle Lowry is a massive hit for a team who is still enduring the NBA Finals hangover.
Orlando Magic – Not much to see in Orlando. They possess some young, promising players like G Cole Anthony or C Mo Bamba, but we are still a few years apart from seeing them being a threat in the East.
Detroit Pistons – It’s rebuilding time. The lower their seed, the better position they can get in the draft, and that is their main focus. For now, let’s just watch what no.1 overall pick Cade Cunningham can do on the court.
Before betting, always shop across different books to get the best betting odds for NBA. This could translate into more money.
There are some factors you should know. The odds are the first of those. The lower the number, the more favored a team is to win. If the number is negative, it’s the amount of money you need to risk to get $100 in return. If the number is positive, it represents how much a winning bet would earn you based on a $100 wager.
After that, you need to know what the handle is. This tells you the percentage of the total amount bet on the NBA Eastern Conference winner each team gets.
Let’s say the Heat has 9% of the handle, this means 9% of all money bet on the Eastern Conference winner is going to Miami.
The last factor to acknowledge is the percentage of bets. This represents the number of bets—not the amount of money—wagered on a team.
For example, the Nets have 82% of all bets, which doesn’t translate to how much was bet. For instance, they could have 65% of the handle, meaning smaller betting amounts are being wagered on them.
Now that you know this, let’s walk you through the process of betting on the NBA Eastern Conference winner.
First of all, go into your preferred sportsbook, and log in. Then, make a deposit. Following that, look for the NBA tab. A drop-down menu appears, and you need to select the ‘Futures’ tab. The Conference Winners option should pop up.
Finally, select the team you’re willing to bet on and hope they deliver once the regular season standings are up.
Don’t forget to check out the betting odds for the Western Conference.