We are a week away from the official NBA All Star break, and while some teams in the East are starting to blossom, others are wilting away with injuries. In a conference that has zero depth this season, let’s take a look at who is on the rise and which teams might hold some great value for your NBA picks?
Also take a look at our Western Conference Rankings.
- Miami Heat (32-14 SU, 22-24 ATS, 1st in East standings)
While they have been atop the Eastern Conference power rankings all season, the Heat have been marginal ATS for the first half of the season. This is something that if you don’t know already, you should be sure to learn quickly, as they could cost you quite a bit come the second half of the season.
The Heat get juiced more than any other team this season, and while there should be a few Western Conference contenders, the East at this point looks like a small speed bump. Yes, the Knicks and Pacers are good, (I’ll get to them in a minute) but Miami is the clear-cut favorite.
- New York Knicks (Up one spot, 31-16 SU, 26-21 ATS, 2nd in East standings)
While they aren’t quite back to 100% healthy, the Knicks are starting to re-establish themselves as the East’s 2nd best team. The Bulls are hurting and the Pacers aren’t quite there yet. While they continue to play well SU, their scorching hot ATS record from the first third of the season is gone. They had one last spurt covering several in a row, but an outright loss to the Wizards last night has taken care of that streak. New York has a stretch of tricky games to close out February, so I’d be careful if you want to bet them ATS.
- Indiana Pacers (Up two spots, 31-19 SU, 28-22 ATS, 3rd in East standings)
Indiana is on a tear right now, winning five in a row SU and ATS, one of those wins coming against Miami. It seems no one can stop the Pacers after they won three games in a row in as many nights. They also get a chance to play New York right after the All Star break. I actually think the Pacers continue on this streak a little unless the NBA odds makers juice them up to double figures. They close out before the break playing Toronto, Brooklyn and Charlotte, so watch their lines closely.
- Chicago Bulls (Down two spots, 29-19 SU, 20-28 ATS, 4th in East standings)
With one fell swoop the injury bug came in and plagued the Bulls this past week, much like it did on the fateful April evening last year. Carlos Boozer was already out and just came back from a hamstring injury, when a nagging foot injury sidelined Joakim Noah, an elbow injury sidelined Kirk Hinrich, and now Marco Belinelli has a sprained ankle. Noah and Hinrich both don’t have timetables for their return, as it seems more and more likely it won’t be until after the break. Chicago plays tonight against the Nuggets and tomorrow in Utah on a back to back, and closes out their games before the break against San Antonio at home, and Boston on the road. They might be fade material in all but one of those games.
- Brooklyn Nets
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Boston Celtics