- BetOnline has the Miami Heat (-125) as the early favorite to win the Southeast
- The Orlando Magic (+200) could win the division if their young talent keeps improving
- The Hawks (+700) are a sneaky value pick thanks to sharp-shooter Trae Young
Dwayne Wade is retired and it has been six whole years since the franchise’s last championship, but Heat president Pat Riley has done a commendable job in building a fringe Eastern Conference contender that Miami fans will no doubt show up fashionably late to watch.
The NBA’s Southeast Division also features two young improving teams in the Magic and Hawks, and two absolute dumpster fires in Charlotte and Washington.
So, will anyone challenge the Heat for the division crown? Let’s examine the odds at BetOnline.
NBA SOUTHEAST DIVISION ODDS
THE FAVORITE: MIAMI HEAT
Hey, the old guy’s still got it. Credited with bringing LeBron James’ talents to South Beach in the summer of 2010, silver-tongued Pat Riley somehow landed All-Star Jimmy Butler despite having no salary cap space when the summer began.
While the 29-year-old forward has a well-earned reputation as a temperamental talent, Butler showcased an all-around game in the Sixers’ narrow second-round loss to the eventual champion Raptors, averaging 22 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game in the series.
Jimmy Butler is recruiting #Wizards guard Bradley Beal to the #Heat on Instagram. #NBAhttps://t.co/SYn0LaCnKW
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCP) August 16, 2019
In Miami, Butler will be running with ascending talent in 6-foot-7-inch wing-stopper Justise Winslow and 22-year-old big man Bam Adebayo. However, unless the 74-year-old Riley can pull another rabbit out of his hat and pry Bradley Beal from Washington, a Southeast Division title is probably the organization’s ceiling.
ALSO IN FLORIDA: ORLANDO MAGIC
Unlike the entire state of Florida, the Magic are brimming with youth and athleticism. Only turning 24 this September, sixth-year forward Aaron Gordon has improved his outside shooting every season he has been in the league.
His frontcourt mate Jonathan Isaac may be even more promising after reportedly checking into Team USA’s Select camp at almost 7 feet and 234 pounds. The 22-year-old defensive specialist is a nice complement to All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, who re-signed to a four-year, $100 million deal this offseason.
A star-studded Dunk Contest could be in the works for the 2020 All Star weekend in Chicago?https://t.co/1VDDbomgga
— HotNewHipHop (@HotNewHipHop) August 13, 2019
Still, this team is in dire need of a star who can pile up points after foolishly trading Victor Oladipo in 2016 and missing out on Trae Young (by one pick) in the 2018 NBA Draft.
READY TO SOAR: ATLANTA HAWKS
The Hawks are likely a year or two away from flying high, but 7/1 to win the division is intriguing. The aforementioned Young averaged 24.7 points and 9.2 assists after the All-Star break, looking like the second-coming of Steph Curry.
Atlanta jumped up to no. 4 in this year’s draft to select De’Andre Hunter, who put up a team-high 27 points and 9 rebounds to lead the Virginia Cavaliers to their first National Championship, before adding Duke’s Cam Reddish at no. 10.
Trae Young Defends Devin Booker’s Pickup Game Tantrum, No Double-Teaming! https://t.co/kKPCKZQx3d
— TMZ (@TMZ) August 22, 2019
Third-year power forward John Collins also looks like a rising star after averaging 19.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game last year.
With 42-year-old Vince Carter returning for his 22nd NBA season, the Hawks, if nothing else, promise to be one of NBA’s most fun teams to root for.