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Celtics Now +600 to Win Eastern Conference Post All-Star Break; Heat Fade to +800

Quinn Allen

by Quinn Allen in NBA Basketball

Updated Apr 14, 2020 · 9:53 AM PDT

Jayson Tatum dribbles
Jayson Tatum and the Celtics are now the 2nd favorite to win the East at +600. Photo from Erik Drost (Wiki Commons)
  • Boston now has +600 odds to win the Eastern Conference, just second to the Bucks who are at -140
  • The C’s were at +775 in early February ahead of the trade deadline, but have since overtaken the Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors & Philadelphia 76ers
  • Does any team offer value to beat out Milwaukee for the Eastern Conference title?

With the second half of the 2019-20 NBA season beginning Thursday, we look ahead at the race in the East, with a number of teams fighting it out in the top half of the conference.

The Bucks have a comfortable 6.5-game cushion in first spot on the Raptors, while the Celtics have started to play better lately, showing value as a possible contender.  Boston is 8-2 in their last ten contests.

2020 NBA Eastern Conference Odds

Team Odds
Milwaukee Bucks -140
Boston Celtics +600
Philadelphia 76ers +650
Toronto Raptors +700
Miami Heat +800
Indiana Pacers +2500
Brooklyn Nets +4000
Orlando Magic +6600
Washington Wizards +6600
Atlanta Hawks +15000

Odds taken Feb 20th

The latest Eastern Conference Odds have Milwaukee at -140, while the C’s are at +600, followed by Philly at +650. The Miami Heat, who added Andre Iguodala & Jae Crowder, have faded to +800 after going 8-9 in their last 17 games.

Toronto, who went on a 15-game winning streak before the All-Star break, comes in at +700.

Can the C’s Compete With Milwaukee?

Boston enjoyed a torrid streak to end the first half, winning eight of their last ten contests before the All-Star break.

Jayson Tatum is having an outstanding year, leading the team with a career-high 22.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Kemba Walker, who replaced Kyrie Irving in the offseason, has been the perfect replacement, putting up a solid 21.8 points and five assists. Boston have four players who are averaging at least 17 points per night, giving them a wide array of different guys who can contribute.

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They’re a solid team on both sides of the ball, sitting fifth in the league with a 112.9 offensive rating and a 106.1 defensive rating, third in the NBA. The long-term goal for the second half will be to try and catch Milwaukee, who they’re currently eight games behind.

But as of right now, catching the defending champion Toronto Raptors should be the target. Boston is just 1.5 games behind the Raps.

Toronto Is the Real Deal

The Raptors were not considered a contender before this season began after losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

Fortunately, Pascal Siakam has turned into one of the brightest budding stars in the league, leading the team to second place in the East. Nick Nurse has so many different guys who play their part and that’s been a huge reason for their success.

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Kyle Lowry is a gritty player on both sides of the ball who is one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA. Fred VanVleet is building off his impressive campaign last season with a career year. Norman Powell is putting up huge numbers. Depth guys like Terence Davis and OG Anunoby are providing Nurse with a lot of stability and production off the bench.

Toronto isn’t at the top of many categories, but across the board, they’re a very solid team that can hurt their opponents in the paint and from long range. The Raptors and Heat are the only two teams in the association to have five different players averaging at least 15 points per contest.

Miami Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

With Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo leading the way, it’s been an exciting year down in South Beach. But they did go on a cold spell before the break, winning just eight of their last 17 games. After enjoying such an unexpectedly hot start to the year, they were bound to lose some games.

It’s best that it happened before the break though because Miami had time to re-group. Erik Spoelstra’s team can now get down to business as the second half proceeds.

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They’ve been a pleasant surprise this season, with rookies Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn giving the Heat impressive output on a nightly basis to compliment the productivity of Butler and Adebayo. Miami continues to shoot the ball very well from downtown, ranking second in the league with a 37.8 three-point percentage. The addition of Jae Crowder will definitely help as well, giving them a big body in the paint who should put up around 10-15 points per night.

Milwaukee Is Best Bet

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have been the most unstoppable team in the league this year. With the Greek Freak’s ridiculous 30 points per game and 13.5 rebounds, no one has been able to stop Mike Budenholzer’s team.

They’re outscoring their opponents by 12.1 points per game, which puts them on pace for the highest point differential in NBA history.

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With a 6.5 game lead over Toronto currently, I don’t see the Bucks slowing down. However, I do believe the Raps will finish in second, followed by Boston in third, Philly in fourth, and Miami in fifth spot.

But as for the Eastern Conference title, it’s a safe bet to go with the 46-8 Milwaukee Bucks.

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