NBA Eastern Conference 2022-23 Season Previews, Picks, and Predictions

NBA Eastern Conference 2022-23 Season Previews, Picks, and Predictions

This was a tumultuous NBA offseason. 

There was Brooklyn Nets' superstar Kevin Durant requesting a trade and then taking it back. The Utah Jazz traded Rudy Gobert for five players and five draft picks. The Atlanta Hawks traded Danillo Gallinari and three first-round draft picks to the San Antonio Spurs for Dejounte Murray. James Harden then restructured his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers to be more team-friendly.

The process of digesting and integrating these player movements into my models and coming up with some best bets was more challenging than I can recall in recent seasons. But, I like these NBA betting opportunities quite a bit.

Who Will Win the Atlantic Division?

Even without suspended coach Ime Udoka, the Boston Celtics have remained a rock-solid favorite at +110 to win the Atlantic Division. 

However, I have found significant value in betting the 76ers to win this division at +320 at Caesars Sportsbook.

The Sixers are third in the markets behind the Nets, who are priced at +200 at Caesars. This will be a three-team race as the Toronto Raptors (+1100) and New York Knicks (+8000) are in the so-called rebuilding season.

Who Will win the Central Division?

The Milwaukee Bucks are the favorite at –305 as offered by BetRivers with cheaper prices posted at FanDuel (-260) and PointsBet (-250). 

Still, my No. 1 rule for futures betting is never to bet a favorite, especially one like the Bucks at such a steep price. 

In the Central, though, the wild card-type team is the Chicago Bulls priced at +700 at BetRivers and Caesars because they have the roster depth combined with one of the best defensive units in the NBA that is required to take down a juggernaut like the Bucks.

Who Will Win the Southeast Division?

The Miami Heat are the favorites at -160 as offered at Caesars. The Heat announced over the weekend they had just agreed to a $130 million contract extension with Tyler Herro, who received the Kia sixth man of the year award for the best reserve in the NBA. 

The Heat won 53 games last season and nearly earned their way to another NBA Finals appearance when Jimmy Butler missed a shot in the waning seconds in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Heat drafted Nikola Jovic, who is 6-feet-10 and is considered one of the best international players in this year's rookie class. Miami is hoping he will offset some of the loss from P.J. Tucker, who went to the 76ers as an unrestricted free agent. 

So, if the Heat can remain healthy, this is a team that can return to the Eastern Conference Finals and contend for the NBA title. But at minus money, I cannot see any value in betting them now.

I don't see any teams providing value in this division. The Charlotte Hornets (+1350), Washington Wizards (+3000) and Orlando Magic (+20000) are long shots. The Hawks at +200 at BetRivers is attractive, but if I am going to give up my money to a book for the better part of eight months with no interest being earned on that deposit, then I need to be certain that what I do bet on will offer a solid return on investment.

For a pizza money-sized bet, how can you not take a big-time flier on the Magic offered at +20000 to win the division as offered at PointsBet? I did just that.

What Will the Eastern Conference Playoff Picture Look Like?

I see the 76ers, Bucks, Heat, Nets, Hawks, Celtics, Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers making the playoffs in the East. 

The favorite to win the Eastern Conference is the Celtics at +275 as offered at BetMGM. 

The fact that the Celtics are the top team to win the East reflects how strong and competitive the division is expected to be. 

Based on that fact, I like the 76ers to win the Eastern Conference at +700 odds, which is offered at that price at several sportsbooks.

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