- BetOnline has updated odds on what teams will miss and make the postseason in the NBA’s Eastern Conference
- The Orlando Magic (-550) and Brooklyn Nets (-370) are heavy favorites to fill the last two remaining spots in the East
- Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls (+450) are the best bet to sneak into the dance
With more than half the NBA season in the books, oddsmakers consider the following Eastern Conference teams as locks to make the postseason: Milwaukee, Toronto, Miami, Boston, Indiana and Philadelphia.
That leaves nine clubs to compete for the final two playoff spots, although let’s be honest: the Hawks, Knicks, Cavaliers and Wizards are playing for ping-pong balls at this point.
Let’s examine the rest of the bubble teams on BetOnline and see what franchises are the best bets to make or miss the postseason.
NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF ODDS
|Team||Make Playoffs||Miss Playoffs|
|New York Knicks||+4000||-15000|
ORLANDO MAGIC AND BROOKLYN NETS
Despite each squad sitting six-games under .500, the Magic (-550) and Nets (-370) are overwhelming favorites to fill out the Eastern Conference’s playoff bracket.
In the midst of a four-game losing streak, Orlando should be buyers at the deadline despite losing power forward Jonathan Isaac to a season-ending knee injury, however, Aaron Gordon’s name has popped up in trade rumors recently.
Aaron Gordon is back in the dunk contest ??? pic.twitter.com/9fV2S1SS2v
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 30, 2020
Prior to the season, we recommended the Nets at +220 to miss the postseason. While Kyrie Irving’s leadership has been every bit as poor as expected, Brooklyn is still three games clear of Chicago for the last playoff spot.
Bottom line is that the Nets and Magic will likely both make the dance, so the real question is which club will finish seventh and avoid a Bucks team that is currently 41-6 and looking to become the third franchise in NBA history to win 70 or more games.
CAN THE BULLS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?
Given the Pistons (+1000) lost Blake Griffin to a season-ending knee injury and that the Hornets (+1200) lost eight-straight contests before recording a win over the lowly Knicks on Tuesday, both clubs would seem to have little chance of making the postseason.
Almost by default that leaves the Bulls (+450) as the best bet to fight their way back into a playoff spot. The only problem is that they’re now 1-19 against teams with winning records after a 115-106 overtime loss to the Pacers on Wednesday night.
The only players in franchise history to have multiple 20-point game streaks of at least 15 games?
Zach LaVine & Michael Jordan. pic.twitter.com/yLZpbQF9h7
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 29, 2020
Chicago will also be without Lauri Markkanen for four-to-six weeks with a pelvic injury, adding another chapter to the Finland native’s miserable third season. However, Zach LaVine has a legitimate chance to play his first All-Star Game in front of the home crowd after averaging over 25 points per game this season.
Better yet, let’s hope the two-time dunk-contest champion joins Aaron Gordon in this year’s competition in what would be a rematch of the 2016 battle that LaVine won in triple overtime.
First in dunks (69) and sixth in three-pointers (153) among NBA guards this season, the 24-year-old could lead Chicago to its first playoff berth in three seasons if Bulls GM Gar Forman decides to get some help at the deadline.
Well, either that or Kyrie continues to alienate his Brooklyn teammates.