- BetOnline has the Philadelphia 76ers (-130) as the early favorite to win the NBA’s Atlantic Division
- The Boston Celtics (+350) are a strong value despite Kyrie Irving’s departure
- The Brooklyn Nets (+500) are longshots with Kevin Durant expected to miss the entire year
The Philadelphia 76ers are favored to win their first Atlantic Division title in almost 20 years. The Nets have finished first in the Atlantic four times since then and even the poor Knicks captured a division title this decade (2012-13).
Otherwise, the Celtics and Raptors have dominated the division this century, combining to win the Atlantic 13 times in the past 15 years. Will the Sixers finally break through? Let’s look at BetOnline and break it all down.
NBA ATLANTIC DIVISION ODDS
|New York Knicks||+10000|
THE FAVORITE: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Philadelphia opened as heavy favorites to win the Atlantic after re-signing versatile forward Tobias Harris and splurging for 33-year-old power forward Al Horford just minutes into free agency.
General Manager Elton Brand is clearly going all-in on size and defense as he builds around 7-foot center Joel Embiid and 6-foot-10-inch point guard Ben Simmons, who also scored a five-year, $170 million max contract extension this offseason.
— Jonathan Tjarks (@JonathanTjarks) May 9, 2019
While there’s a ton of optimism around the Sixers, their approach seems strangely old-fashioned and out-of-date for the modern NBA where three-pointers rule the day.
With the loss of sharp-shooting specialist JJ Redick and All-Star forward Jimmy Butler, who was arguably the team’s best player in last year’s postseason, Philly is left with no outside shooting and very little depth.
NOT THIS YEAR: BROOKLYN NETS
The Nets arguably scored the coup of the offseason, enticing both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to their long-irrelevant club.
However, in the case of KD, coach Kenny Atkinson is like the kid whose parents buy him a bike in the summer and tell him he can’t open his present until Christmas. Or October 2020, in this case.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 17, 2019
With Durant highly unlikely to play this season, the team basically just replaced point guard D’Angelo Russell with Irving.
Uncle Drew will be extra motivated after his turbulent stay in Boston, but a playoff berth is really all Brooklyn’s new owner can hope for after spending a U.S.-sports-record $2.35 billion for the franchise.
BEST BET: BOSTON CELTICS
Last year definitely didn’t go as planned for the Celtics, who opened last season as a Finals favorite before things quickly unraveled and were subsequently blamed on the aforementioned Irving.
After missing out on All-Star Anthony Davis and basically every other big star, GM Danny Ainge is also starting to draw criticism and Internet snark for failing to convert Boston’s war chest of draft picks into a meaningful chess piece.
— Portal 4 Basketball (@Port4Basketball) August 8, 2019
Both of these things make Boston the ultimate post-hype sleeper. When factoring in chemistry, free-agent acquisition Kemba Walker should be able to fill Kyrie’s shoes.
Kemba, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart will also hit the ground running once the season starts after spending the summer playing for Team USA. As a young, improving team with a smart coach, the Celts could easily win the Atlantic.