Time Out: Atlantic Division Checkup

By Alex H.

On Friday, BettingSports.com took a look at how defending NBA champions the Miami Heat and the rest of the Southeast Division has fared against bookmakers’ preseason expectations so far this season. Today we move on to the Atlantic Division, starting with the surprising New York Knickerbockers.

New York Knicks

Having exceeded bookmakers' expectations during the first half of this season, the New York Knicks have plenty to celebrate.

SU: 32-18 (19-8 home, 13-10 road)

ATS: 26-24-0 (15-12-0 home, 11-12-0 road)

O/U: 23-25-2

The biggest move on the NBA futures between the start of the season and the All-Star Break belongs to the New York Knicks.

The Manhattan side shocked almost everybody with its early season offensive output and its long winning streaks. Although the Knicks have cooled off somewhat of late, the Knicks remain one of this season’s biggest surprises. In fact, were it not for the Lakers’ woes, New York would be the biggest story of the season so far.

The Knicks opened the year with odds of 18/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 40/1 to win the NBA title. Today, those odds have shifted to 7/1 and 14/1 respectively. The Knicks have gone from seventh to second on bookmakers’ lists to win the East, and 13th to fifth to win it all.

The Atlantic Division – which has the best winning percentage (.517) of any Eastern Conference division – was expected to be a tight race. The Knicks opened with 7/2 odds to win the division, behind both Boston (6/5) and Philadelphia (3/1). Bettors taking that action could be smiling come the end of the season.

Brooklyn Nets

SU: 31-22 (19-10 home, 12-12 road)

ATS: 24-27-2 (12-15-2 home, 12-12-0 road)

O/U: 23-30-0

Brooklyn may not have enjoyed the same success as New York in terms of betting futures, but the Nets remain in the picture.

The relocated Nets began the season with odds of 12/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 33/1 to win the NBA championship. Those numbers ranked the side fourth in the East and ninth in the league. Today, the team’s odds of winning the East have lengthened to 16/1, ranking the Nets sixth. Odds of winning the NBA title though remain at 33/1, which drops the team to 10th place.

At just 2.5 games back of New York, the Nets are still in with a shot of winning the Atlantic Division, something odds makers were skeptical of at the beginning of the year. Brooklyn was 9/2 to win the division, ranking fourth out of five. Bettors may get the last laugh on this one.

Boston Celtics

Injuries are having a huge impact on the Boston Celtics this season.

SU: 28-24 (20-9 home, 8-15 road)

ATS: 22-27-3 (15-13-1 home, 7-14-2 road)

O/U: 25-26-1

Boston began the season a year older and with a lineup that featured some patch-up work (mainly replacing Ray Allen). Yet bookmakers were keen to bestow short odds on the Celtics this year. Despite struggling straight up this season – something that could become even tougher with the absence of Rondo, Barbosa and Sullinger – the Celtics have been treading water in terms of the NBA futures.

Boston opened the season with odds of 7/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 14/1 to win the NBA championship. Today, the Celtics are 9/1 to win the East – dropping from second-place into joint third – and 18/1 to win the NBA – falling from fifth to seventh. In all honesty, these odds might even be a little favorable thanks to the side’s popularity with public bettors.

One thing is all but certain though; bettors taking the Celtics at 6/5 to win the Atlantic Division (the top mark) will be disappointed come April.

Philadelphia 76ers

SU: 22-29 (16-13 home, 6-16 road)

ATS: 24-27-0 (15-14-0 home, 9-13 road)

O/U: 26-25-0

A poor season has seen Philadelphia become one of the biggest losers on the NBA futures list. The Sixers – having finished last season strong and traded for Andrew Bynum – were a popular Atlantic Division pick. The side opened with 33/1 odds of winning the NBA title (9th). Those odds have lengthened to 200/1 (joint-19th) after Bynum’s absence and a string of poor results.

Things aren’t much better in terms of the Eastern Conference either. The Sixers opened at 15/1 to win the East (6th) but those odds have fallen to 100/1, putting the team in joint ninth place. The teams falling below the Sixers (Detroit, Orlando, Washington, Cleveland, Charlotte) makes for a tell-tale list of haplessness in the NBA.

Toronto Raptors

2013 Slam Dunk Contest winner Terrence Ross and the Toronto Raptors have bettered bookmakers' early season expectations.

SU: 21-32 (14-13 home, 7-19 road)

ATS: 28-24-1 (15-12 home, 13-12-1 road)

O/U: 27-26-0

Finally, Toronto may be propping up the Atlantic Division but the Raptors have achieved some success on the NBA futures boards.

With odds of 100/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 200/1 to win the NBA championship, the Raptors may be level with the Sixers at this moment in time, but unlike the Sixers, the Raptors are trending upwards.

The Canadian side began the season with 125/1 odds to win the East and 250/1 odds to win the NBA. Nobody expects anything from the Raptors, but it’s good to know the side hasn’t been a complete wreck this season.