- BetOnline has updated odds on what teams will make the postseason in the NBA’s Eastern Conference
- The Toronto Raptors (+400) and Brooklyn Nets (+220) are sneaky bets to miss the playoffs
- Trae Young and the ascending Atlanta Hawks (+220) could earn a spot in the first round
The Eastern Conference has been the NBA’s red-headed step-child for what seems like a quarter of a century. And with LeBron starting his second season out West and Kevin Durant still sidelined, it once again has far fewer superstars and less teams capable of winning it all.
However, that also makes the East a bit more unpredictable, with a handful of squads competing for the final few playoff spots. Let’s examine the postseason odds at BetOnline and see if we can find any slam-dunk values on the board.
NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF ODDS
|New York Knicks||+600||-800|
How weak is the East? The Raptors lost the consensus best player in the league and are still viewed as heavy favorites to make the postseason.
In a post-Kawhi world, Pascal Siakam in now the top dog in the North after making a huge leap in his third year. The 25-year-old forward averaged 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds en route to winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
Pascal Siakam shoo-in to get max or near-max contract deal, says Woj https://t.co/nz1p3wbSAb
— Hoops Culture (@Shonen_lord) October 14, 2019
Franchise point guard Kyle Lowry will be back for two more seasons after inking a one-year, $31-million extension last week, but one has to wonder how much the 33-year-old warrior has left in the tank.
If Lowry loses a step and Siakam can’t make another jump while facing increased defensive attention, there’s at least a chance Toronto gets off to a sluggish start and decides to sell Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol’s expiring contracts at the trade deadline.
At +400, I’m willing to place a bet on the defending champs missing the postseason.
With Durant’s Achilles injury expected to keep him out the entire 2019-20 season, one has to wonder just how much Brooklyn really improved over the summer.
The Nets essentially swapped out point guard D’Angelo Russell for six-time All-Star Kyrie Irving, who should be plenty motivated after a disastrous season with the Celtics.
Math vs. feel: Kevin Durant logs on for an impromptu analytics debate https://t.co/ABpktvUgHd
— Shobhit (@shob2811) October 15, 2019
The key for Uncle Drew will be finding a rhythm with 25-year-old Caris LeVert. After missing 42 games with an ankle injury, the budding star led Brooklyn in scoring (21 points per game) in their first-round loss to the Sixers.
However, with Kyrie’s questionable leadership qualities and checkered injury history, there’s plenty of reason to believe a team that only won 42 games last season won’t get that much better. I’m comfortable betting “No” at +220.
If Brooklyn and/or Toronto were to miss out, the young, high-flying Hawks could land in the postseason.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year runner-up Trae Young looked like the second-coming of Steph Curry after the All-Star break, averaging 24.7 points and 9.2 assists. Drafted 14 picks after Young in the 2018 draft, 6-foot-7 shooting guard Kevin Huerter also showed promise in his first season, shooting 38.5 percent overall from three-point land.
6️⃣0️⃣ seconds of Trae Young dropping dimes. He’s elite. pic.twitter.com/tOg71kBWde
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) October 8, 2019
Big man John Collins put up 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game after returning from an ankle injury last season, and could become a star in his third year in the league.
If first-round draft picks De’Andre Hunter (no. 4 overall) and Cam Reddish (no. 10) can make an impact in year one, Atlanta could soar into the playoffs a year earlier than everyone expects.