Training camps have begun and tip-off is less than a month away, so it’s time to preview the upcoming NBA season. With all the movement in the offseason it is likely that some new teams will rise to the tops of their divisions. Let’s take a look at the Atlantic Division. – All odds according to Pinnacle Sportsbook, although other places like Bodog offer online NBA betting on these props as well.
Boston Celtics (+500 to win Eastern Conference, +1154 to win NBA Title) Last year: 50-32, 1st in division– The Celtics were the only Atlantic Division team to make it to the postseason last year, and should win it again this season and lock up a top-four seed in the postseason. Boston proved to be inconsistent all season long before making a run to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. The core of this team remains the same but the main difference with this year’s team is the depth down low. The Celtics added veterans Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal to help out an injured Kendrick Perkins. This will allow the Celtics to take advantage of Miami’s weakness and defend against Orlando’s strength come playoff time. Age and health can be a concern but the Celtics offer good value to win the Eastern Conference and the NBA Title, given their playoff experience. – Prediction: 47-35, 1st in division.
New Jersey Nets (+5000 to win Eastern Conference, +10041 to win NBA Title) Last Year: 12-70, 5th in division – A Carmelo Anthony trade would change everything, but even without him, expect the Nets to be a much improved team. Even though they didn’t land a star free agent, the Nets acquired a few quality players in Anthony Morrow, Troy Murphy, and Travis Outlaw. New Jersey also made out well in the draft with Derrick Favors and Damion James. The combination of the newcomers and the duo of Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, this team will be able to put forth a strong starting five and could triple its win total from last year. Though they are still a few years away from title contention, don’t be so surprised if they snag the eighth seed in the conference. – Prediction: 39-43, 2nd in division.
Philadelphia 76ers (+7500 to win Eastern Conference, +16131 to win NBA Title) Last Year: 27-55, 4th in division– This team has the potential to reach the postseason. Elton Brand, when healthy, can average a double-double. But he’s only played in 113 games in the past three years. Andre Iguodola proved in the FIBA Championships that he is a great player, but one that is probably better as second or third option, not a team’s main scoring threat. The 76ers have a lot of young talent in Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, Louis Williams, and Evan Turner. If everyone stays healthy, and this team of youngsters can learn to play together, then expect an improvement over last year. – Prediction: 36-46, 3rd in Atlantic Division.
New York Knicks (+2800 to win Eastern Conference, +6252 to win NBA Title) Last Year: 29-53, 3rd in Atlantic Division – The Knicks landed one big free agent, but it won’t be enough to contend for the division. Amar’e Stoudemire is a great player, but he might not be as effective without a great point guard like Steve Nash. The loss of David Lee also hurts. The Knicks have a lot of young talent in Anthony Randolph, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler. In a few years this team could improve, especially with those rumors circulating about Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, but this year’s team doesn’t have enough talent to make it to the postseason. Think of Stoudemire being in a similar situation to which Chris Bosh just got himself out of. – Prediction: 32-50, 4th in Atlantic Division.
Toronto Raptors (+12000 to win Eastern Conference, +30245 to win NBA Title) Last Year: 40-42, 2nd in Atlantic Division – The Raptors lost two of their best players in Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu. It’s unclear who their main scoring threat is and if they will ever be able to stop any team on defense. The Raptors have solid rookie big men in Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi, but this team is a long way off from even thinking about the postseason. – Predicition 20-62, 5th in Atlantic Division.
Overall-This is one of the weakest divisions in basketball, but the Celtics offer good value and are really the only team worth betting. The Nets and 76ers are true long shots that have a chance to sneak into the postseason but it is not likely they will get past the first round.
Remember that you can get winning NBA picks from the best basketball handicappers out there. Also our NBA odds page will feature live point spreads on all the NBA betting action the entire season, a must have tool for NBA bettors this season.