- The Milwaukee Bucks are a massive -180 favorite to win the Eastern Conference in the NBA’s return to play at Disney World in late July
- The Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors are the best value picks to come out of the East
- See the full board of odds to win the conference in the story below
The Milwaukee Bucks re-opened as odds-on -180 favorites to win the Eastern Conference after the NBA announced their return and format.
The 22-team format will feature 13 teams from the Western Conference and 9 teams from the Eastern Conference, with hopes of games starting July 31st. Teams will play eight regular-season games to finalize seeding, before regular a 16-team playoff to determine the NBA Champion.
Are the Bucks all but a lock to reach the Finals in the Disney World environment – or will another team be able to make a run?
Odds to Win 2020 NBA Eastern Conference
Odds taken June 4th
Bucks Deserving Favorites
The Bucks were the NBA’s most dominant team for much of the season before the COVID-19 stoppage, with MVP-lock Giannis Antentokounmpo leading the charge. Milwaukee is the class of the Eastern Conference, with their 53-12 record and historic offensive numbers speaking for themselves.
The Bucks were equally impressive on the gambling side of things, going 36-29 (55.4%) ATS, which was good for 5th-best in the NBA.
The Bucks beat the Thunder BY 47 POINTS tonight:
3rd win this season by 40+ pts (tied for most in NBA history)
9th team in NBA history to record 3 40-pt victories in a season
Currently, their pt differential is at +12.8, which would be the highest in a season in NBA history pic.twitter.com/e1lPf5h4om
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 29, 2020
With the talent and depth on the roster, Milwaukee is poised for a deep run in the playoffs. The East has a handful of quality teams who pose a threat, but anything short of a Conference Finals appearance from Giannis and the Bucks would be a major-disappointment.
They blew a 2-0 lead in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, and overcoming that in 2020 has to be top priority for Milwaukee.
Heating Up In Florida
The Heat have flown under-the-radar, but at 41-24, Miami is certainly a threat in the East. A dynamic core of youth and balance, the Heat brings it on both ends of the court every night.
Veteran All-Star Jimmy Butler leads the charge, with Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Kendrick Nunn forming an electric cast around him. The Heat lead the NBA with a 38% 3PT-percentage and were 2-0 against Milwaukee, holding them to a season low-89 points in the second meeting.
Remember that night Bam Adebayo basically locked up the entire Milwaukee Bucks roster ?
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) May 14, 2020
Miami has tremendous leadership in Pat Riley, and what was once thought to be a move to appease LeBron James, has turned into the NBA’s second-longest tenured head coach in Eric Spoelstra.
Miami is raw but extremely dangerous, and surely capable of competing at both ends of the floor with the Eastern Conferences’ elites. The biggest drawback for the Heat could be their lack of experience, but a 4-0 record against Toronto and Milwaukee assures me they won’t be intimidated come playoff-time. Miami currently sits at +850 to win the East, and could hold tremendous value down the stretch if they can emulate their exciting style of play when the league resumes.
Under the Radar Up North?
The defending NBA Champions and often forgotten Toronto Raptors see themselves in a familiar position again in 2020. The Raptors haven’t missed a beat since the departure of Kawhi Leonard, posting a 46-18 record, good for 3rd best in the NBA this season.
A team-focused approach has worked wonders for the Raptors once again this year, and Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry are legitimate NBA All-Stars, more than capable of leading the Raps on another deep run.
1 YEAR AGO TODAY was GM 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals!
Pascal Siakam made 11 consecutive shots & finished with 32 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST as the Raptors beat the Warriors 118-109. pic.twitter.com/wekzNvB5v4
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 30, 2020
Toronto was also a stellar 23-9 on the road this season, leaving me to wonder why their record, championship pedigree, and road dominance has led them to have odds as high as 8-1 to win the East. The Raptors proved they’re more than capable of a championship run last season, and even without Leonard, still possess enough talent to be a legit title contender out of the East.
Pick: Miami Heat at +850 Too Good to Pass Up
With all this said, only one team can advance to the NBA finals to represent the Eastern Conference, and for me it’s Miami. The juice is too much to pay on the Bucks, and Boston, Toronto, and Miami have all shown they can compete with Milwaukee.
Miami has proven themselves against the elites of the East, and play an exciting and effective brand of basketball that can definitely lead them to success in the playoffs. The value at +850, combined with a more level-playing field, gives me hope that the Heat can get hot at the right time, and make a legit run at a title.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.