NBA Eastern Conference Betting Preview
Chris Sheridan previews the NBA Eastern Conference for the upcoming season, including picks for MVP, Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year.
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NBA futures odds: Eastern Conference Betting Favorites
The defending Eastern Conference champs have a scandal on their hands. The Brooklyn Nets have a lame-duck coach, Steve Nash, whose two best players openly called for his firing over the summer. The New York Knicks failed to acquire Donovan Mitchell, and will be middle-of-the pack again. The Milwaukee Bucks have pretty much everyone back, but they did not address their need for backcourt scoring. The Sixers have James Harden for a full season, but when was the last time he was great?
Only 10 victories separated the No. 1 seed, the Miami Heat, from the No. 10 seed, the Charlotte Hornets, when last season was complete. This is what we call parity in the grouping also known as the Eastern Conference, and we have not seen the same Eastern team go to consecutive NBA Finals since the Cleveland Cavaliers did it in 2018.
So what we have here, gambling opportunity-wise, is a wide-open field in which nearly every single one of the top teams has a critical flaw. Some of this will undoubtedly be addressed at the trade deadline in February, but the odds we see then and the odds we see now are going to look vastly different.
We have already shared the Cleveland Cavaliers predictions, odds & picks for 2022-2023 NBA season, who were the team that did manage to acquire Mitchell from the Utah Jazz.
So today we look elsewhere around the East to pick out NBA bets today that have the best chances of hitting, especially when NBA futures odds are quite long. NBA bet tips: This is because one sports gambling strategy that works particularly well is going for long odds in the futures market or trying to hit a multi-team parlay with just one or two unlikely results, which boosts the payoff exponentially.
So let’s begin with the team that right now offers the most value in terms of winning the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat. It was a quiet offseason for Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra, who retained free agents Victor Oladipo, Udonis Haslem, Dewayne Dedmon and Caleb Martin and drafted Serbian Nikola Jovic with the 27th overall pick. This gives them basically the same roster that finished 53-29 to finish first in the East before they were eliminated in the playoffs by Boston as Jimmy Butler missed one shot and Max Strus missed two in the final 16.6 seconds of a 100-96 loss in Game 7.
That was an epic finish, and perhaps the bookmakers need to go and rewatch the tape? Because right now they have Miami as the +800 fifth choice to win the East, which is a strange place for a defending conference No.1 seed with no major roster additions to become acclimated. Miami is +2000 to win the championship, with nine other teams listed with shorter odds, including the Lakers, who won 33 games to Miami’s 53.
Go figure, eh?
Well, this is why we have preseason sports gambling columns. And since we hold Erik Spoelstra in higher regard than Doc Rivers here at the home office, we do not necessarily hate the Sixers’ odds of +650 to win the East, but we like Miami’s better.
And then we have the defensing East champs, the Celtics, who just lost their coach, Ime Udoka, in a scandal related to an affair he was reportedly having with the secretary of general manager Brad Stevens, a married woman. When the woman’s husband found out and sent doorbell camera footage to the Celtics, Ukoda was cooked. He has been suspended for the season, and the head coaching job now falls to Joe Mazzulla, who somehow is the +1200 third choice to win Coach of the Year. He has an awfully talented team, but he will need to have the personality skills to placate All-Star Jaylen Brown, who is well aware that he was offered to Brooklyn over the summer in a Kevin Durant trade proposal.
Boston made two great offseason additions in acquiring Malcolm Brogdon from Indianapolis and signing free agent Danilo Gallinari, but Gallo suffered a season-ending injury in Eurobasket. Boston has not yet found a replacement for the outside shooting he was expected to provide (Blake Griffin is NOT that guy). Also, starting center Robert Williams will miss up to three months at the start of the season due to knee surgery. With the Idoka thing causing a season-long distraction, we are not high on these guys.
That pretty much covers the top four teams from last season, so as we did in last week’s Western Conference predictions, we want to highlight five individual wagers that are worth flyer consideration for NBA future bets. So let’s have at it...
NBA Most Improved Player 2023 Odds, Predictions & Pick
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls, Most Improved Player: In case you missed it, Lonzo Ball told the Chicago Bulls last week that he cannot run or jump without pain, and he underwent his second surgery of the calendar year on Wednesday. This is going to thrust Caruso into a starting role, which is tailor-made for a Most Improved candidacy. Betway has him on the board at +8000 for Defensive Player of the Year, and you should see him pop up soon on the MIP list. Keep an eye out for him being added in the days ahead.
NBA MVP Betting 2023 Odds, Predictions & Pick
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers, Most Valuable Player (+8000) Take this one to the bank: You will not see these odds stay at +8000 for very long. As we noted in our Cavs column, Cleveland had a combination of size and speed that very few teams could match up with, and they now have a former All-Star and a featured scorer who could elevate them from the 44 wins they had last season to something approaching 57 or 58 … or maybe even more. This Cavs team is a sleeping giant if they stay healthy, and Mitchell at +8000 is shocking. Other players with those same odds include Paul George and DeMar DeRozan, who are complimentary players, not alpha dogs.
Washington Wizards odds to make playoffs
Washington Wizards to make the playoffs (+340) They are currently in Japan playing the Golden State Warriors in a pair of exhibition games, and they started rather cold in their first contest as Kristaps Porzingis went 0-for-6 on 3s and Rui Hachimura was 0-for-4. But do not let that fool you. They added Monte Morris and Will Barton in a trade with Denver, they are going into Year 2 with Kyle Kuzma on their roster, they have a superstar in Bradley Beal and they added the quintessential veteran glue guy, Taj Gibson, in free agency. They are a play-in team at the very least, but remember that play-in teams must actually make the playoffs for this bet to pay off. Still, +340 is enticing.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2023 Odds, Predictions & Pick
Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers, Defensive Player of the Year (+3000) This is always a tricky one to forecast, but one constant is that voters like blocked shots, and Allen averaged 1.3 per game last season, which put him in the top 15. Allen has not played more than 56 games in any of the past three seasons, but if he stays healthy, improves his steals per game from 0.8 and increases his blocks average to something around 1.8 or 1.9, you will be happy if you made a preseason wager on him for this award at +3000.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year 2023 Odds, Predictions & Pick
Cameron Thomas, Brooklyn Nets, Sixth Man of the Year (+15000) Let’s assume that Ben Simmons still cannot hit a jump shot. That means the Brooklyn Nets are going to make him a defender, and opposing defenses are going to key on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. So who will have the mismatch when the ball is moving properly in half-court sets? Well, Thomas was MVP of the 2021 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, then averaged 27.4 points and 4.2 assists last summer but lost the MVP vote to Sacramento’s Keegan Murray. The Nets need a scorer off the bench, and this guy scores. His line is +15000, which is most definitely flyer-worthy. He may end up being more valuable to the Nets than Joe Harris.