Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference
Before we breakdown each individual division and spot the contenders, pretenders and longshots according to the oddsmakers, it’s worthwhile to make a note of the overarching backdrop at NBA futures betting markets. That is, the Western Conference is leaps and bounds favoured over the Eastern Conference to produce the ultimate champion.
BetOnline serves up early NFL Finals Lines with the Western champion tipped at -400 odds on the ML while the Eastern champion trails at a staggering +320 futures bet on the ML. One of the main compelling reasons for this betting outlook is simply recent trends. Going back to 2008 (or the last 11 championships), the Western Conference served up seven champions to the Eastern Conference’s four. Whittling it down further, the Golden State Warriors have won three of their last four NBA Final appearances, including two straight.
Granted it was a duopoly between the Warriors and Cavaliers of the NBA during that period, something that is unlikely to be replicated this season with the departure of LeBron James to Los Angeles. The Warriors yet again are up there in contention to emerge as the Western Champions this season, but it is as certain as the sun is to rise in the morning the Eastern Championship is up for grabs. Watch this space…
So without further ado, let’s get cracking with the division future winning betting odds courtesy of BetOnline as of Sunday February 24, 2019 and talk NBA picks to consider.
Atlantic Division – Toronto Raptors have this division practically sewn up according to NFL betting experts. That sentiment is underscored by their strong stance atop the division and complemented by a whopping -550 on the ML to clinch the Atlantic Division. With just a little over 20 games left on the season, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics could give the Raptors a run for their money down the stretch, particularly in this jam packed week ahead. However, with NBA futures odds of +700 on the ML, respectively, to win the Atlantic Division it’s a bit of a longshot bet on either of this pair to emerge as divisional champions. Consider the Raptors are on formidable form in their last ten games (8-2) while the 76ers and Celtics are a modest 6-4 each and trailing by six and seven games, respectively. (Form stats based on form ahead of Sunday February 24, 2019).
Betting Tips: To bet on the Raptors to clinch the Atlantic Division is an almost sure bet, but with a price tag of -550 there is little profit to be had. Avid Raptors’ fans might fancy a tickle on the outright championship betting markets instead: futures for the NBA Finals where the Eastern Conference winner is tipped at +320 to hoist the trophy. Thinking here being the East could potentially break the West’s domination of the Championship, and, by that same token, why not consider the Raptors as the Eastern representative for your NBA picks?
Central Division – Milwaukee Bucks have a veritable stranglehold on their division, backed by -2500 odds in NBA Division Winner betting markets. One could argue there is little value in betting on their divisional odds to clinch unless one has silly money to bet with. So that pretty much tells the tale of this section. Or does it?
For underdog bettors, there is a bet to consider in this section. That is the Indiana Pacers, who trail by a handful of games to the Bucks. As a potential longshot for the upset in this division with a price tag of t +1400 odds on the ML to clinch the Central Division the Pacers do strike an intriguing pose. Admittedly, that’s not a bet for the fainthearted as many NFL experts have the Milwaukee Bucks down (along with the Raptors) as the top seed in the Eastern Conference this season.
Betting Tips: To sum up, the Bucks are most likely to clinch the division and as such the quintessential smart bet. Pacers do strike an attractive pose for the upset but it’s a longshot bet on the NBA odds. Best angle to consider here if you are a diehard Bucks fan is to look at the outright NBA Futures odds to win the NBA Championship where the Bucks are a tasty +900 bet. Conversely, you could play it safe the same angle mentioned with the Atlantic Division. Look beyond the divisional odds towards the early NFL Finals lines where the East to serve up the ultimate winner is trading at +350 futures odds. With this bet for your basketball betting picks you’re covered for all the teams representing the East and right now is a good time to weigh in on this market because it’s only going to shorten on the NBA odds board as we get closer to the playoffs.
Southeast Division — Of all the Eastern Conference divisions, the Southeast is the most competitive in NBA Division Winner betting markets. Hence, offering the most betting angles. As it stands, it’s a three-horse race between the Charlotte Hornets (+150), Miami Heat (+225) and Orlando Magic (+275). This triplet, separated by merely a game or two in the win column, is by no means the only betting option as the Washington Wizards (+800) and the Atlanta Hawks (+10000) have a theoretical shot to make a run down the stretch, albeit a longshot if the NBA odds were any indication.
Betting Tips: Neither team has a significant edge nor a massive advantage over the field that would make it the smart bet. Well, save, perhaps one of the triplet which leads the pack right now. Going on current form, Orlando make for a tempting tickle for your futures bets, while going on simple investment/maths (return on your bets), the Wizards’ NBA futures odds at +800 on the ML are deliciously tempting.
Northwest Division – The Denver Nuggets are not only the surprise package of this division, but they are also the favourites to clinch it according to BetOnline oddsmakers with a -150 price tag currently on offer on the NBA futures odds board. Still, there’s a way to go before all is said and done and it must be said that Oklahoma City Thunder (+200) and the Portland Trailblazers (+600) are giving them a run for their money, if recent form is to be an indicator. By the odds, it’s clear Oklahoma has the significant betting edge over the Trailblazers. It’s also worth mentioning the Utah Jazz. Although they are tipped at large +1400 odds to clinch the divisional title, they’re theoretically still in contention, but, admittedly, a lot would have to go their way for this to be a winning NBA pick.
Betting Tips: the Nuggets are in the driver’s seat at the moment, but can they handle the narrow terrain as the season winds down. There are those that are of the opinion the Thunder are the smart bet at their attractive +200 odds to overtake the Nuggets down the stretch in this nerve-wracking battle for divisional honours.
Pacific Division – The Golden State Warriors are the team to beat, not only in the Pacific division but also in the outright NBA Championship Winner market, where they are priced at -250 to win a third straight title. There is no need to wax lyrical about the formidable Warriors, their record in recent years speaks for itself which is why they are the choice basketball pick in many NBA betting circles.
This is a winning mentality franchise. Betting against the Warriors is no mean feat, evinced by their whopping -15000 odds to clinch the Pacific Division. If you’re just coming to the party, this is a division to avoid betting on. No team has a realistic chance to overtake the Warriors.
Betting Tips: At the current price on the ML, betting on the Warriors to win the Pacific Division offers no value (return on your investment is paltry, unless you have silly money to play with). As such, the smart bet is to back either the Warriors to win a third straight title at -250 on the ML in NBA futures, or, to be a bit less specific, go to the NBA Finals line where the Western Conference to win the NBA Championship is priced at -400; thereby covering more bases with your NBA picks in the eventuality of the unthinkable upset.
Southwest Division – The Southwest Division is compelling as it offers up a couple of realistic possibilities to consider for your NBA Division Winner betting thrills. Houston Rockets are the runaway favourites at -400 to clinch the divisional title, but the San Antonio Spurs are nipping at their heels and strike a tempting pose at +400 to overtake the Rockets at top spot. Suppose the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks are in the mix, trailing by a handful or so in the win column. It would take a lot to go their way down the stretch for their longshot odds of +1600 and +2000, respectively, to cash out though.
Betting Tips: The strength of the Rockets this season lies mainly in its one-man army James Harden. (Or does it? The Rockets just put up a statement win over the Warriors without Harden, Hmmm.) The question most NBA bettors have been deliberating over this season is whether Harden can hold up over the course of the season and through the playoffs. A win over the Warriors at this crucial stage is nothing to scoff at, but is it enough of an endorsement for your NBA picks? The Spurs do put forward a strong case as contenders in the Southwest Division too. It’s a right toss up.