NBA Odds: Bet Celtics or Raptors to win the Atlantic Division?
With what appears to be three playoff teams, the Atlantic Division is absolutely the most competitive division in the NBA this season. The Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are all Top 5 teams in the Eastern Conference. FoxBet has the Raptors winning the division at -143, the Celtics winning at +120 and the 76ers at +1000.
The Raptors are the favorites for a reason. Not only are they the defending champions, they have looked remarkable all season and currently have a one-game lead as of this writing over the Celtics. This is all without star player Kawhi Leonard, who left for the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason. The Dinos recently had a team-record 15-game winning streak. They also had their biggest margin of victory in franchise history, a 127-81 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Both Kyle Lowry, an All-Star, and Fred VanVleet are Top 20 in the NBA in assists per game. While VanVleet is Top 5 in steals per game. The team will have a lot to prove in the playoffs, despite being defending champions, as many seem to doubt them. Even though the Raptors are the second seed in the Eastern Conference, they are +2000 on FoxBet to win the championship, below the 76ers and Celtics.
The Celtics and the 76ers are both solid bets to top the Raptors in the division. Boston is as capable as anyone of having a big win streak and capitalizing on a Raptors rough patch. With one of the best coaches in the game in Brad Stevens, this team is going to be exciting to watch as the season comes to a close. Jayson Tatum is red-hot and Top 15 in field goals made in the entire NBA. Kemba Walker and Tatum are both Top 20 in three-pointers scored league wide.
The 76ers are even farther behind the Raptors and probably not worth the betting risk at long-shot odds. The 76ers are always a huge threat to any team when they play healthy and when Joel Embiid can be fit and motivated. He really does seem to be the X-factor on this squad. Then again, he’s currently not healthy and will miss a week.
Ben Simmons is ranked No. 1 when it comes to steals per game and total steals, with a total of 115 steals this season. But he’s currently out too and will miss at least another few weeks. Turnovers do seem to be an issue also, with three players ranked top 20 in turnover percentage, Furkan Korkmaz, Tobias Harris and Al Horford.
This team is very talented and certainly possess the ability to make a strong surge near the end of the season. It's interesting that they have the best odds in the division to win the NBA title, despite being third place at the moment. Oddsmakers clearly expect Embiid and Simmons back healthy for the playoffs.
The Raptors have defied odds and prediction all season, and I simply cannot see them failing at this point in the season. I expect them to finish this out and top the division at the end of the season.
James Allen / March 2nd 2020