NBA Eastern Conference Finals Odds: Can Anyone Take Down the Brooklyn Nets?

Through the first half of the season, a team no one expected is leading the Eastern Conference. Can the Bulls ride their momentum all the way to the Finals or will favorites like the Nets, Bucks or Heat slow them down?
Ryan Kirksey |
Fri, January 14, 1:15 PM EST | 3 min read
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NBA Eastern Conference Finals Odds: Can Anyone Take Down the Brooklyn Nets?

Through the first half of the season, a team no one expected is leading the Eastern Conference. Can the Bulls ride their momentum all the way to the Finals or will favorites like the Nets, Bucks or Heat slow them down?

Today we are looking at who oddsmakers think are the five most likely teams to represent the East in the NBA Finals.

Click Here for Eastern Conference Future Odds

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Eastern Conference Finals Odds

Chicago Bulls (+1200) (Bet $100 to Win $1200)

The recent blowout by the Nets notwithstanding, this seems to be some tremendous disrespect to a Chicago team that has a comfortable two-game lead for the top spot in the East and has solidified their own Big Three as one of the best player groups in the NBA.

It's the new-look offense that has generated much of the success for the Bulls this year. They rank third in offensive rating, second in true shooting percentage, and seventh in fewest turnovers.

They are doing it by zigging when the rest of the league is zagging. The Bulls rank last in the NBA in three-pointers attempted and are instead just annihilating their opponents in the mid-range game. Not surprisingly, their field goal percentage ranks second to Utah by only 0.1%. They lead the league in two-point pullup jumpers attempted with 22.2% of their shots per game. They also lead the league in making those shots at 46.3%

Their offensive style is something other teams will have to gameplan around, but if they can keep homecourt throughout the playoffs, the sky is the limit.

Philadelphia 76ers (+1000) (Bet $100 to Win $1000)

I understand why the 76ers are in this position. They presently rank fourth in the conference, they have won eight of their last 10 games, and they are doing it all without the services of Ben Simmons.

Say what you will about Simmons and his playoff performances and how he is handling this stand-off with the team. The truth is they need his services now more than ever. Of the 64 lineup combinations that have played at least 75 minutes together this season, the Philly preferred lineup of Embiid, Curry, Harris, Maxey, and Thybulle rank just 45th in offensive efficiency.

Of the five teams on this list, Philadelphia looks the weakest to me. They trail the Bulls, Heat, Bucks, and Nets in offensive rating, and even with Embiid, their rebounding rate is 27th in the league this year. They could always catch fire should Simmons return and ignite them on offense and defense, but I don't see it happening this season.

Miami Heat (+650) (Bet $100 to Win $650)

The fact that the Heat sits at 26-15 and just two games out of the number one spot in the conference through 41 games is truly astonishing. Consider: all of Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, and Markief Morris have missed long stretches this season. The Heat have been getting big minutes from guys like Max Strus and Omer Yurtseven and still have maintained an 8-2 record in their last 10.

The reinforcements are coming as well. Butler is a game-time decision Friday and should be back to full strength soon. Adebayo is likely to return next week and even Victor Oladipo is penciling in an early February return.

Through all the turmoil, the Heat have managed to maintain a top-10 ranking in offensive and defensive rating and are also a top-10 team in assist ratio and rebounding rate.

But perhaps the best thing going for the Heat is the schedule. Their 12-4 record at home is top-three in the NBA. But they have played only 16 home games to 25 road games this year. That means the second half of their season will be loaded with home contests which could push the Heat up even higher in the standings.

Milwaukee Bucks (+350) (Bet $100 to Win $350)

Granted it was without Draymond Green and Klay Thompson was limited, but the Buck delivered a statement win when they dismantled the Warriors on national television on Thursday night by a score of 118-99. The Warriors had not given up 118 points to an opponent since December 18th but the Bucks did it even with taking their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter.

The Bucks now find themselves just a half-game back of the Heat the Nets for the second spot in the East and are only missing Brook Lopez to fill out their complete depth chart.

The Bucks are now seventh in the NBA in offensive rating on the year and also find themselves in the top ten for defensive rating, rebound rate, true shooting percentage, and opponent's field goal percentage. Much like with Giannis and the MVP vote, there is tremendous value here with the Bucks at +350. So many things can go wrong for the Nets and the Bulls haven't seen this type of success since Derrick Rose was winning the MVP.

Milwaukee is tested and ready and makes for a tremendous value bet considering where they presently sit in the East.

Brooklyn Nets (+140) (Bet $100 to Win $140)

Despite being a strong favorite to come out of the East, this is an incredibly hard team to read right now. Yes, Kyrie Irving is technically back, but they won't have his services for the remaining three games on their homestand due to his vaccination status. Since he returned to action, the Big Three have only played together three times. His first game back was a mixed bag, the second game was better, but the third was a complete disaster even as they blew out the first-place Bulls.

But that full-strength win against the current team atop the East further solidified the fact that the Nets may be unstoppable when they have all their pieces. The Nets remain "optimistic" that they will have Kyrie Irving as a full-time player at some point in the second half. Until they do, we will likely see the Nets as a good-not-great team that has the potential for much more.

The Nets' offensive rating has held strong all season and now sits at eighth in the NBA. But their defense has taken a hit with all of the lineup permutations over the last two weeks. In their last 10 games, the Nets rank 26th in defensive rating overall. Combine that with a 27th-ranked defensive rebounding rate and the Nets have some things to work on.

But I can assure you all they care about is having their team fully loaded and healthy for the playoffs. If they are trending that direction the rest of the season, they remain the team to beat in the East.

Eastern Conference Finals Odds

TeamOdds
Brooklyn Nets+140
Milwaukee Bucks+350
Miami Heat+650
Philadelphia 76ers+1000
Chicago Bulls+1200

Click Here for Eastern Conference Future Odds

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