Eastern Conference Playoff Race, Latest Odds Predictions and Picks

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 8:55 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019 8:55 PM UTC

With less than a dozen games left on the regular season, we take an overarching look at the Eastern Conference playoff race.

<p>Bucks and Raptors battling for top spot as it stands, the Milwaukee Bucks remain ahead of the pack. Sat atop the Eastern Conference with a 53-18 SU record they are three wins ahead of the Toronto Raptors (50-21 SU), and seven wins ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (46-25 SU). Given the commanding lead the Bucks have over third-placed 76ers, it’s really coming down to a two-horse race to the finish line between them and the Raptors. <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4423&amp;book=BetOnline" target="_blank">BetOnline</a> tips the Bucks at +200 while the Raptors are nestled on a +250 price tag <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/to-win-conference/futures/" target="_blank">to win the Eastern Conference.</a></p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Daily &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#NBA&lt;/a&gt; Eastern Conference playoff race: &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/CaKYZG1PD2\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/CaKYZG1PD2&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/PompeyOnSixers/status/1107254309505372161?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;March 17, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>For the 76ers to leapfrog to the top of the pile and come good on their +400 price tag to win the Eastern Conference, both the Bucks and Raptors would have to tank down the stretch. Or simply just not come out to play at all. Somehow it’s hard to imagine that happening when the triplet continue to show good form down the stretch. Granted the Bucks and Raptors are neck-and-neck with a 6-4 SU mark in their last ten games while the 76ers are a slightly better 7-3 SU in their last ten games and riding a five-game winning streak, but Philadelphia might have left it a little bit too late to apply the pressure. So long as the top tandem continues to maintain the gap, the 76ers won’t be able to close it.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;With LeBron James no longer present, the Eastern Conference playoff race is shaping up to be must-see TV for the NBA and its fans.&lt;a href=\"https://t.co/lR96WCG78d\"&gt;https://t.co/lR96WCG78d&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Daniel Lubofsky (@D_Lubofsky) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/D_Lubofsky/status/1108044250573242368?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;March 19, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>The Road Ahead Taking a closer look at the schedule will give us some insight to the road ahead for both the Bucks and the Raptors</p><p>The Bucks have only four road games and seven home games, which is advantageous to their Eastern Conference bid seeing as they are a healthy 26-6 SU at home this season. Two games are against divisional rivals Cleveland – the Bucks are 13-1 SU this season against the division. Eight games are against Conference rivals where they are the leaders with a 35-9 SU record against the field. Consider as well four of those (two against Atlanta Hawks and two against Cleveland) mark clashes with the league’s worst teams this season.</p><p>The most important takeaway is the meaningful games against current playoff contenders include inter-Conference clashes with Houston, LA Clippers and Oklahoma City – all of which are at home. Hence, advantage Bucks. Three intra-Conference clashes include the Philadelphia 76ers on the road and Brooklyn Nets at home and away. With five of these significant games taking place at home, things do look very promising for the Bucks.</p><p>The Raptors look ahead to six road games and just five home games in their last 11, which does put the pressure on somewhat. Toronto is 21-14 SU on the road this season, but they are also just 6-6 SU in their last 12 road games. That said, they face the eliminated New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls in two of those away games. As well, they will square up against the soon-to-be-eliminated Minnesota Timberwolves on the road. Indeed, the toughest road test will be the clash with Oklahoma City tonight on the road, marking the first of a back-to-back date with the Thunder this week.</p><p>Seven games feature intra-Conference rivals, which bodes well for the Raptors as the bulk are middleweights to lightweights and the Raptors are a strong 30-14 SU against the field. While seven games feature playoff hopefuls, five of which feature conference rivals.</p><p>NBA Betting Verdict: All in all, it is more likely that the top of the table in the East will hold true to the playoffs. It’s hard to see anybody dethroning the Bucks from their lofty perch., which makes them our choice NBA pick at +200 to win the Eastern Conference with BetOnline. Of course, the Raptors and 76ers could put up a fight but the gap might just be too big to close and only if the Bucks were to somehow lose steam it could happen.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/" target="_blank">real intense race</a> is at the bottom of the pile, between the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards –all of which are effectively in the battle for the last seed and separated by a handful of wins either way. It goes without saying the Detroit Pistons (35-34 SU) and Brooklyn Nets (37-36 SU) are also mired in the battle. They are not yet assured of a playoff berth and there is still the matter of positioning to determine as well in the standings when all is said and done.</p>
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