Who will rep the East in the NBA Finals this year? Will Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks finally get over the hump? Will the Big 3 from the Brooklyn Nets deliver a berth in the NBA Finals? How about Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers? According to oddsmakers, the Brooklyn Nets are the consensus favorites to win the Eastern Conference ahead of the Bucks and the 76ers, and you can back the Nets at -112 odds.
DraftKings recently updated its NBA futures board and recalibrated the odds for the Eastern Conference.
If you follow the money, it’s a three-way race among the Nets, Bucks, and 76ers. Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat are listed fourth-overall on the futures board. The Heat are the defending Eastern Conference champions after they got hot in the postseason and advanced to the 2020 NBA Finals. The LA Lakers ended the Heat’s magical run by edging them out in the 2020 NBA Finals.
|2021 NBA Eastern Conference Odds
|New York Knicks||37-28||+4000|
The Nets are the current consensus favorite to win the 2021 NBA championship. DraftKings lists the Nets at +240 odds. The Milwaukee Bucks are the second-highest team on the board from the Eastern Conference and are at +750 odds to win the East.
Brooklyn and Philly Throwdown
The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have been neck-and-neck for the last few months. The 76ers hold down the top spot in the Eastern Conference thanks to a five-game winning streak.
The Nets dropped two in a row and played inconsistently after they lost James Harden to a hamstring injury. As soon as Kevin Durant returned to action, Harden went down. The Nets shut down Harden for the rest of the regular season to save him for the playoffs.
Both the 76ers and the Nets have seven games remaining. The Nets have a tougher road, whereas the 76ers face a much easier schedule, including multiple games against the worst teams in the league. The final games matter because they will determine the #1 seed in the East and lock up home-court advantage for the remainder of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
If Harden returns to the lineup without any complications, the Nets have the inside track to win the Eastern Conference. Bettors are hopeful and continue to bet big on the Nets, who are currently -112 odds despite Harden’s health concerns.
Bucks … Finally?
The Milwaukee Bucks posted the best record in the NBA for the past two seasons, yet choked in the playoffs. They locked up the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs in two consecutive postseasons, yet never made it to the NBA Finals.
The Bucks flew under the radar this season while the Nets garnered most of the attention from bettors, fans, and the media.
The Bucks offer up tremendous value at +350 odds to finally win the Eastern Conference. The Greek Freak is on a mission to lead the Bucks to the promised land. They added Jrue Holiday specifically for the postseason as a feisty two-way player. The Bucks will rely on Holiday to shut down their opponent’s top scorer in the postseason, something they lacked the previous two postseasons.
The Bucks also bolstered the bench with veteran big man Bobby Portis (11.4 ppg, 7.4 rebounds) and backup shooting guard Bryn Forbes (9.9 ppg). Forbes shoots an impressive 44.3% from downtown.
The Bucks are fresh off a big win over the Nets in one of the most exciting games in the second half of the season. Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 49 points, outgunning Kevin Durant, who dropped 42 points in the loss.
Fuhgeddabout the Knicks?
The New York Knicks blew everyone’s collective minds with an inspiring season. The Knicks currently occupy the #4 seed in the East, holding off the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat.
The Knicks are a long shot at +4000 odds to win the Eastern Conference, but save your money. They lack postseason experience. After all, they haven’t been to the postseason since 2013. The Knicks could be a long-shot pick to win the East next year, but this season, they’ll have “happy to be here” vibes after seven-straight disastrous seasons.