NBA: Eastern Conference Playoff Odds

NBA: Eastern Conference Playoff Odds

NBA: Eastern Conference Playoff Odds


2010-04-15

The same four teams that held home court advantage in the 2009 Eastern Conference playoffs will do so once again in 2010. Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, and Atlanta have been head & shoulders above the rest of the conference when you consider the entire body of work. Now sure each of these teams has had its peaks and valleys this season, but over the course of 5-1/2 months, they have separated themselves from the pack. The bottom half of the East is intriguing, only in the sense that Miami, Milwaukee, and Charlotte have played their best ball down the stretch and have shown signs of being streaky good, or at least good enough to win a series early. The picture was muddied last week with the Andrew Bogut injury for the Bucks, and seemingly, Orlando, Atlanta, and Boston will be hoping for that matchup in the first round. The Bobcats are making a first ever appearance in the postseason. The #8 spot in the East came down to Chicago, who used a late season push to clinch the seed on the seasonís final night. Hereís a look at each Eastern Conference playoff club along with their odds and reasons as to why they can/canít reach the ultimate destination.


ATLANTA HAWKS

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +2000

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +1000

Reasons they can win: Atlantaís franchise is in growth mode, with the young nucleus gaining more and more valuable experience each passing season. The Hawks won 50 games in a season for the first time in 12 years.

Reasons they can't: The Hawksí combined record vs. the Cavaliers, Magic, and Celtics over the last three seasons is 13-31. Those are obviously the three teams standing in the way of a trip to the finals. They also donít play nearly as well on the road as the ďBig 3Ē.

StatFox Steveís projection: Wonít make it past second round, received favorable matchup in first round vs. Bogut-less Milwaukee club.


BOSTON CELTICS

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +900

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +400

Reasons they can win: This is the most experienced team in the NBA when it comes to playoff success. Beyond the core title group of two years ago, the Celtics have now added Rasheed Wallace to the mix. Games with Cleveland of late have been both intense and competitive, leaving signs of a potential upset.

Reasons they can't: Boston at times this season has looked not so much experienced, but just plain old. Kevin Garnett in particular doesnít seem to have the bounce he did two years ago in the title run. Orlando has been a thorn in the Celticsí side.

StatFox Steveís projection: On VERY THIN ICE in first round vs. Miami. Look for a long series which will eventually doom them in round two should they be fortunate to advance.


CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +10000

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +5000

Reasons they can win: The Bobcats give up the fewest points in the NBA and seem almost too naÔve to understand they shouldnít be winning this many games at this point. They also won 30+ games at home.

Reasons they can't: The only spots in which Charlotte boasts playoff winning experience are at Head Coach, with Larry Brown, and ownership, with Michael Jordan. Opponents wonít be overwhelmed by their youthful exuberance.

StatFox Steveís projection: Wonít be surprised to see Charlotte win a game or two vs. Orlando, only at home, but thatís it.


CHICAGO BULLS

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +30000

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +10000

Reasons they can win: Last yearís dramatic playoff series with Boston in the first round is still fresh in the minds of the Bullsí players still on the roster. The most important one, the player who took the team on his shoulders, is still in place: Derrick Rose.

Reasons they can't: Assuming Chicago makes the 8-team East field, this team doesnít have the scoring punch of the í09 team, ranking higher than only six other clubs in points per game.

StatFox Steveís projection: With Clevelandís penchant for taking care of business early, donít be surprised to see the Bulls out in five games.


CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +150

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: -300

Reasons they can win: Is this finally the year that LeBron gets his ring? It better be according to those who could see James leaving this summer without a title. The pieces are in place, this is the leagueís best team, and the Cavs should be at full strength for the playoffs.

Reasons they can't: Clevelandís postseason memories with James in the fold have always ended in disappointment, most often making it at least a round shy of where expected. There really are no excuses this time for not making the Finals, but Jamesí free throw & outside shooting could stand in the way. Also, the Cavs have had trouble with the Magic.

StatFox Steveís projection: With the conference finals loss from a year ago fresh on their minds, the Cavs take out the Magic then go on to their first NBA title.


MIAMI HEAT

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +8000

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +4000

Reasons they can win: Dwyane Wade. Letís face it, the playoffs are built for the superstars. There are only a couple of players more capable than Wade of putting a team on their back and winning playoff seriesí. Plus, the entire cast has actually played its best down the stretch.

Reasons they can't: Itís very difficult to upset three straight opponents en route to a conference title. Thatís the path the Heat have to take again in 2010.

StatFox Steveís projection: Last spring, the Heat took the Hawks to seven games in the first round. Boston is in for that same kind of challenge this season. Donít be shocked by an upset.


MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +10000

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +4000

Reasons they can win: The Bucks have been undervalued by everyone from oddsmakers to the guy down the street with a passing interest in the NBA all season. As evidence, they covered pointspreads at a near-record pace. Even with the Bogut injury, Milwaukee had one of the top records in the NBA after the all-star break, getting after it on the defensive end.

Reasons they can't: The Bogut injury was both devastating and deflating. He was having the best year of his career. Without him, there is a big void in the middle. With him, there was playoff inexperience and a void in the 3-4 positions.

StatFox Steveís projection: It wonít be nearly as easy of an ouster as experts are projecting post-Bogut, but the Hawks will take them out in a competitive series.


ORLANDO MAGIC

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Title: +600

Sportsbook.com Odds to Win Eastern Conference: +250

Reasons they can win: Iíll admit I was off in predicting a decline by the Magic after the trade for Vince Carter. Heís had a big year and is the offensive playmaker this team has lacked down the stretch of games in recent postseasons. Oh yeah, they also boast the leagueís best big man and can shoot the 3-point shot as well as anyone.

Reasons they can't: Other East teams boast stronger benches than Orlando, and have been more effective on the road than Stan Van Gundyís club.

StatFox Steveís projection: Over the last three seasons, Orlando boasts a winning mark against all other East playoff teams. However, I still believe this is Clevelandís year.

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