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Current 2022 Eastern Conference NBA odds & betting picks

The NBA All-Star game has come and gone and it was a good one. Entering the second half of the season, both conferences look to be wide open for the taking. There are three to four different teams that could win their respective conference and a bunch more that anyone could make an argument for.

In a league that has been dictated by dynasties in recent years, it’s very uncommon to see both conferences up in the air this late into the season. A couple of years ago, the Warriors and Cavaliers ruled their respective conferences, but that’s no longer the case.

Here are our favorite bets in the Eastern Conference.

Milwaukee Bucks / Brooklyn Nets (+270)

The Bucks and Nets are favored to win their conference for good reason.

The Bucks are the defending NBA Champions led by Giannis Antetokounmpo who continues to be a top five player in the league. After Anteokounmpo’s sharp development, the Bucks did a phenomenal job of surrounding him with talent that complimented him. Not only do the Bucks employ Antetokounmpo who puts his mark on every game he plays in, but they surround him with talent like Jru Holiday and Khris Middleton who can score when he is doubled. The Bucks have turned into a solid organization after so many years of struggles.

The Bucks have been criticized this season for seemingly walking through the regular season. They sit in fifth place with a record of 36-24. The defending champions are much better than they have played thus far this season and should definitely be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time. It’s not easy for a team to repeat the magic that they found the previous year, and the Bucks are living breathing proof. Of course the Bucks will make the playoffs, but it’s not likely they’re the top seed entering.

The Nets for the last three years have been favorites to win the Eastern Conference but still haven’t managed to do so. On paper, with talent like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and new acquisition Ben Simmons look like they could be an unstoppable force beyond the Eastern Conference. Durant has struggled to stay healthy for long periods of time, Irving has his off the court issues that always seem to bite the team, and Simmons hasn’t played a minute of basketball since June of last year. For as dominant as the Nets could be, they have by far the most amount of question marks in the NBA.

The Nets are the eighth seed as of the All-Star break, highlighted by a crazy 11 game losing streak just a few weeks ago. When Ben Simmons takes the floor for them, his ability to play in transition and play lockdown caliber defense fits perfectly with what the Nets need. It’s also rumored that the city of New York may lift it’s vaccine mandate and allow Iriving to begin playing home games again. With all of that being said, it’s very possible that the Nets can catch fire heading down the stretch to end the year. But the rest of the regular season should be more about building chemistry with Durant, Irving and Simmons. They should be favored strictly due to the talent that they run out onto the floor, but +270 with Bovada seems a little low for a team we haven’t seen do it.

Philadelphia 76ers (+380)

On February 2, the Sixers were +900 to win the East. It looked to be a lost year amid the Ben Simmons hold out situation, without Simmons the team was just not good enough to compete with the Nets, Bucks, Heat or Bulls. The Sixers were playing surprisingly good basketball prior to the trade deadline where their odds to win the East began to get lower and lower. After the Sixers ridded themselves of an ugly divorce with Simmons, everything seemed to change. All of a sudden, the subtraction of Simmons and addition of Harden skyrocketed the defending Eastern Conference champions to third favorite behind the two teams mentioned above. Joel Embiid has been playing MVP-level basketball, and second year guard Tyrese Maxey has given the Sixers the spark they needed in a dampened situation. The addition of James Harden will certainly take the Sixers to not good enough, to a legitimate title contender immediately.

The Sixers are third place in the Eastern Conference as of the All-Star break, they hold a record of 35-23 and have seemingly solved their road woes from previous years. With Harden working in tandem with Embiid and Maxey the Sixers not only got better but they got deeper. Harden moving into the starting lineup, pushes the never-before point guard Maxey to play his natural position at the 2 creating a domino effect on the rest of the team. Getting the Sixers at +380 may turn out to be a steal, but this is a team that has never managed to get out of the second round of the playoffs. Despite being favorites last year against the fifth seeded Hawks, the Sixers choked away a 3-2 series lead. This team is reminiscent of a Sixers team from just two years ago where they acquired Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris at the deadline, for as stellar of a team as that was they would go onto lose in the second round of the playoffs to a white hot Raptors team that would win the championship that year. In short, for as good as the Sixers look to be on paper, these odds might drop yet again once the trio of Harden, Embiid and Maxey take the floor together every night. It’s not without risk as this is a team similar to the Nets that are no stranger to being favorites and not doing the job.

Miami Heat (+500)

Under Erik Spoelstra, the Heat have always been very good. Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry have played extremely well together in their first season together. While Adebayo and Butler are no strangers to this success, the addition of Lowry has been a game changer by the current leaders of the Eastern Conference. The Heat are 38-21 thus far this season and took lead of the East right before the All-Star game. To get the current leaders at (+500) with Bovada seems strange, but that’s not to any fault of the Heat. The East suddenly got much more scary at the trade deadline as both the Sixers and Nets both ridded themselves of toxic situations and are much better equipped to make a run down the stretch.

Chicago Bulls (+1500)

The Bulls might be the best bang for your buck of all the teams to take the crown of Eastern Conference champions. They have led for the majority of the season and have been carried by DeMar DeRozan who is all of a sudden an MVP candidate. DeRozan is on pace to set career highs in field goal percentage, three point percentage, free throw percentage, and points per game in his first season with Chicago. DeRozan has been the steal of this past offseason and should he continue playing at his current level will keep the Bulls in contention down the stretch. The Bulls are (+1500) are one of the biggest long shots with the betting sites among contending teams to win the East, but might be worth throwing a few dollars on strictly because of what we saw in the first half of the season.

The unofficial second half of the season starts Friday and it looks like the Eastern Conference might come down to the wire. There are certainly some interesting cases to be made, but it looks like it should be a fun stretch run.

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