NBA Eastern Conference Futures Betting
The NBA All-Star break signals the start of the regular season’s stretch run toward the playoffs and it has already started with a bang. Monday night’s blockbuster trade between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks that centered on Carmelo Anthony heading east will radically change the complexion of both these teams. It remains to be seen how it will impact their chances to compete with the elite teams in their respective conference, but in the case of New York it is most likely a step in the right direction.
Focusing just on the Eastern Conference, Boston and Miami have positioned themselves as the ‘teams to beat’ through the first 50+ games of the season. Heading into Tuesday night’s games the Celtics are 40-14 on the season and the Heat are 41-15. They have a two-game lead over Chicago (38-16) and a 5 ½ -game lead over Orlando (36-21). Atlanta (34-31) is 6 ½ games off the pace and the ‘new look’ Knicks are 12 games back at 28-26.
Moving forward, it is time to examine where the value lies in the current future odds for some of these team’s chances to win the East this season. Bookmaker has Miami as the odds-on-favorite at 11/10. The big three in South Beach seemed to have found their groove and have an excellent chance to fine-tune their game to an even higher level over the remainder of the season. One possible concern for the Heat are their three regular season losses to the Celtics in three tries. While this may have little or no bearing on what happens in the playoffs, it basically drains what little value their current odds already had.
Boston is the second favorite at 13/8 and probably offers the best value for a safe bet. This season’s team actually looks better than the one that went to the finals last year as the lapses in play that plagued the Celtics during their 2010 regular season run have been few and far between this season. Like an old dog that tends to get revitalized when a new dog comes on the scene, Boston appears to be much more motivated with Miami on its tail.
Chicago, led by the spectacular play of Derrick Rose, has been able to keep pace with the two top dogs and are actually 2-2 combined against them this season. The Bulls will get Joakim Noah, who missed the last two months with a thumb injury, back this week and remain poised to stay in the race for the No.1 seed in the East until the bitter end. They may offer the best value of any team in the conference at 7/1.
The big question mark in the East is where will New York wide up in this picture with Anthony joining Amar’e Stoudemire in the starting lineup. The Knicks also added Chauncey Billips and Anthony Carter, but had to give up Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari to seal the deal. The net effect should produce a team that will be much more competitive down the stretch. New York is listed at 15/1 to win the East and offers some new found value as a moderate longshot. It will probably take some time for all these new faces to gel, but if everything goes right for the Knicks, they could begin the postseason with a quite a head of steam.