For the last eight years, LeBron has guided his Eastern Conference team to the NBA Finals, winning the championship on three occasions. Now that he’s moved to the Los Angeles Lakers to add to his Hall of Fame resume, the Boston Celtics have emerged as the favorites to make it to the finals, per Forbes. But, there’s a sense of optimism among many teams in the east, particularly those in the Atlantic Division, that they can now have a shot at the championship, most likely taking on the eternally powerful Golden State Warriors to do so.
As a show of how optimistic all of the top eastern teams are, the Philadelphia 76ers traded for All-Star forward Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves, joining the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to form their new big three. The trade cost the 76ers a 2022 second-round pick, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and Robert Covington while they also received Justin Patton, as reported by ESPN.
But, do the 76ers, adding another All-Star to their line-up, enhance their odds of coming out of the Eastern Conference as NBA finalists, or is there simply too much competition to contend with right now?
Toronto Raptors going all-out
After taking the Toronto Raptors to the peak of the Eastern Conference with a 59-23 record, Dwane Casey’s team inevitably fell to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason. Following this, the Raptors opted for a change at head coach after Casey’s seven-seasons of building which culminated in this franchise-record season. Casey’s firing came just two days before he would be named the league’s coach of the year, according to the New York Times. So, with the job handed to Nick Nurse, people expected the team to drop off, somewhat, this season.
But, something that has seemingly helped the Raptors to take that extra step forward and look to capitalize on the James-less conference is the high-risk trade for Kawhi Leonard with the San Antonio Spurs, sending fan-favorite DeMar DeRozan the other way. It was the story of the summer, with many analyzing its long-term implications but, for this season at least, the Raptors have a player who has greatly benefitted from a change of scenery, per The Sportster. At the 15-game mark, Leonard averaged 24.2 points, 1.7 steals, 6.5 defensive rebounds, and 2.4 turnovers per game through 11 starts.
Boston star unfazed by Butler move
From the start of the season, the Boston Celtics have been the favorites from the Eastern Conference to go on to the NBA Finals. When healthy, they are one of, if not the deepest team in the NBA, making them the conference’s most formidable foe for the Warriors. With an 8-6 start, they’re off of the pace set by the Toronto Raptors, but in the NBA, as long as a team makes it to the playoffs, they can overcome their regular season record to come out on top.
Star point guard of the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving, was posed the question as to how the Jimmy Butler trade impacts the battle in the Atlantic Division. With the Philadelphia 76ers on 9-7 at the time, it could be seen that one new star player might take them past the Celtics. But, at this stage in the season, Irving simply responded: “Who cares, honestly? It’s still so early,” as reported by Celtics Wire.
Did the Butler trade influence the Atlantic Division?
The Boston Celtics boast a remarkably talented and deep team, and the Toronto Raptors are tearing away from the rest of the Atlantic Division, so it would be understandable for neither team to be overly fazed by the Philadelphia 76ers trading for another star player. As deliberated by the NBA Blogtable, experts see the deal as tightening the group, but not enough to push Philly into being true contenders just yet.
The Philadelphia 76ers were a dark horse to make it to the NBA Finals from the start of the season, lining up just ahead of or alongside the Milwaukee Bucks. As of November 15th, with the trade done and dusted, Betway has the 76ers at +400 to win the conference, with the Celtics at +187.50 and the Raptors at +150. While it was, without a doubt, a huge trade in the NBA, in the eyes of the experts, it’s still not enough to push the 76ers ahead of the Celtics or the Raptors as leading contenders for the Eastern Conference.
It may, however, set the wheels in motion for the 76ers to become a super-team next summer, potentially paving the way for them to lead the conference over the next couple of seasons. As explained by Fadeaway World, the Sixers could make a move for pending 2019 free agent Kyrie Irving, should they play their cards right.
If this were to happen, it would be difficult to see any other team coming close in their star power. Only time will tell if the Butler trade has been as influential as it has been suggested, and it may be that it takes until the next year or so before the full effects are seen.
Reasons for Bucks to Be Cheerful Despite Conference Final Defeat
The Milwaukee Bucks missed out on a potential first NBA Finals appearance since back in 1971, after Mike Budenholzer’s team lost out to the Toronto Raptors in Game six of their Eastern Conference Finals. However, there is plenty of reasons for fans at the Fiserv Forum to be confident ahead of the 2019/20 season, with many already installing them as the favorites for the NBA Championship.
With the Raptors having gone on to become the first Canadian team to ever with the NBA title following their series win victory over reigning champions the Golden State Warriors, it is believed that only a small number of changes would see the Bucks once again compete on the biggest stage. Should the Bucks be able to attract the players in which they need during the upcoming 2019 NBA draft, they could well go one step further in 2020, with Head Coach Mike Budenholzer and his men sitting pretty in the betting odds from many of the leading betting apps.
Many had predicted the Bucks to push the Raptors a lot harder than they eventually did during the Eastern Conference Finals, with Giannis Antetokounmpo having lead the team to a series of impressive wins on the road, under the guidance of former Coach of the Year award winner Budenholzer. While they were unable to rediscover such form in their 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Raptors, the rest of the NBA will have certainly taken notice of the Bucks, meaning that they have the potential to be major contenders once again in 2020.
Having looked like a one-man team following the exploits of Antetokounmpo last season, the Bucks well and truly turned things around this year, improving significantly upon their 20th place ranking when it came to defense. Elsewhere, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez all stepped up to the plate in a major way, while even rookie Donte DiVincenzo showed his promise, having shot just 37% from three throws during his time at Villanova.
Coach Budenholzer will undoubtedly look to where things went wrong, however, with his team having led their series against the Raptors 2-0 at one stage, only to see their season unravel before their eyes. Antetokounmpo was among the favorites for the league’s MVP award after helping the Bucks to a 60-win season, however, the future of the Greek forward remains unclear.
Antetokounmpo recently qualified for a five-year supermax contract extension worth a massive $247.3 million, however, this deal cannot be formalized until next year. Should the Bucks be able to once again mount an NBA title challenge, the Greek superstar could well be convinced to stick around in Milwaukee.
The Bucks strengths turned into weaknesses during the Eastern Conference Finals, which ultimately cost them. As a result, Milwaukee is likely to look to improve upon their roster when it comes to wing defense especially, with the likes of Keldon Johnson, Lugentz Dort, Matisse Thybulle having all been linked with moves over recent weeks.
The Bucks’ 2019 season is likely to feel like something of a failure at this point, however, due to where they started the year, coach Budenholzer has every reason to be proud of his players. While we will never know what would have happened against a Golden State Warriors team who were decimated by injuries during their series defeat to the Raptors, those in charge at the Fiserv Forum will now have their attention firmly placed on what to do in order to ensure that the Bucks remain in a position to compete with the very best in which the NBA has to offer.
A Look Ahead In The NBA Playoffs
As the regular season enters its final days, there are still as many questions as answers when it comes to how the playoffs will shape up. Only one playoff game is set in stone in either conference, so unlike some years, these final matches are of vital importance. Let’s see what is in store.
Three crucial games in the Eastern Conference
The sixteenth playoff spot is a direct battle between the Detroit Pistons, who are currently at 40-41 and the Charlotte Hornets on 39-42. For the sports betting fraternity, those looking to make the best use of free bet offers from their online bookmakers might find the constantly shifting odds a little difficult to keep up with. Right now, those looking for a safer bet but at shorter odds are backing the Pistons, as all they need is to either beat the Knicks in their last regular season game or for the Hornets to lose to the Magic and they will be through. The Hornets, on the other hand need a little help from fate, as both a win for themselves and a loss for Detroit is what is needed in order for them to scrape through.
Those two games are, therefore, the ones that will be truly under the microscope, but there are other factors at play in working out the final seedings. Seeds one to five are now established, and we know the Celtics will face the Pacers in round one. Beyond that, however, much depends on the result of the games mentioned above, and also how the game between the Heat and the Nets pans out.
The Heat are no longer in contention, but they can still affect the playoffs. If they win and if Detroit make the playoffs, the Nets will be seeded seven. A win for the Nets, on the other hand, will guarantee a sixth seed berth and will mean they face the third seeded Philadelphia 76ers.
Seeding in the Western Conference down to the wire
The eight teams from the Western Conference have been set in stone with almost boring predictability for some weeks. However, who will play whom in the playoffs is still far from clear, even at the eleventh hour, and if the deadlock is not broken, we could end up in the convoluted world of NBA tiebreaker rules.
There are four games that will be instrumental here, and these are as follows:
- Nuggets at Jazz
- Rockets at Thunder
- Timberwolves at Nuggets
- Jazz at Clippers
If the Nuggets win games 1 and 3 above, they will be guaranteed number two seeding, while the Jazz need to win either game 1 or 4 to finish at least fifth seed. If the Rockets lose and the Blazers win their final two games against the Lakers and the Kings, then the Blazers are guaranteed the number three seed.
Prepare for some classic playoff games
While it might be a case of the usual suspects, the open field as far as seedings are concerned shows just how tightly fought these playoff games will be. Settle back and enjoy, as this year, the NBA is set for one of the most thrilling conclusions to the season in memory.
Basketball Betting Basics – Everything you need to know
Basketball is a very common game in every part of the world. This game is played and watched by many people making it again one of the games that people bet on. Many people will bet for basketball as fun and others will bet for it as a way of making some income. Whether you want to bet either to make money or as a way of having fun, then this is the right game for you.
Basketball betting is not a complicated thing and can be done by anybody as long as you understand the game well. What you need for you to start betting on basketball is very little, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t start this great venture if you like betting. While betting on basketball is such an easy task you will need to be equipped with some basics before you start betting on the game.
This guide will help you with some basics about what you need to know when betting on basketball games. Following are some basics on basketball betting.
Use spread betting
This is a popular way of betting to many basketball betting players. It is also called line betting; simply it is a form of handicap betting. If you have checked on any bookmaker that offers basketball betting, you will have seen some games that are listed in a manner such as the one below.
VS Boston Celtics -5.5 VS Los Angeles Lakers +5.5
This implies that if you place your bet on Celtics to beat the spread, they should win the game by more than 6 points. But if you bet lakers to cover the range, they should lose the game by 5 or fewer points, and if they win, it should be outright.
Know the teams
When it comes to basketball betting, you should know your teams very well. This means that you shouldn’t place on any team that you find on the list just because they have good odds. If you don’t know a team, you should do some research about it before you place your hard earned money on it.
Make sure you get their statistics on how they have performed on the last matches. Make sure the team you are betting for is a strong team that most probably will perform according to your expectation.
It is also much recommended to bet on popular teams as they are hardly beaten and you will take less time looking at their history. There are several teams on the platforms that are new, and it can be difficult to predict about them. Make sure you avoid such teams to get high returns and avoid loses.
Choose your betting site well
As of late basketball, betting has been very popular, and many betting sites are offering the service. However not every website that you will find when browsing is worth using. Some sites are scammers with poor odds and others may end up disappearing with your money even if you win which can be very frustrating.
Choosing a reliable site will determine your success to a large extent. You should ensure the site you choose offers the best odds, and they are licensed by the responsible authority so that you can be sure of payment when you win. Make sure you get enough information about a platform before you can open an account and deposit your money.
While there are many scammers in the market, there are also some trustworthy sites that you can use to bet and get guaranteed about the security on your money. An excellent example of a reliable website that you can use for basketball betting is Wetten.com. The site offers the best services, and you will never regret joining it. You can even bet on Games of the German Basketball-League BBL.
Bet on totals
Another great tip when it comes to basketball betting is betting on total points. This will not only be a simple way of betting, but it will also reduce losses. Betting on totals means predicting the total points to be scored. This shouldn’t be a complicated thing as you only have some few considerations to make your final prediction on the range of total points to be scored.
In many of the NBA matches the total points will range between 180 and 220 points while in European and college basketball matches many of the total points lies between 120 and 160 points.
After having your average points, you will need to consider how many times the team has gone above or below that points. If you find it has either gone above that points so many times than it has gone below the points, then you may need to adjust your prediction. Also considering the last meeting between the two teams will help you to predict the total points easily. Use the average of the previous matches between the two teams to get the outcome of the game.
Public opinions affect the betting world to a great extent. If many people have goodwill in a particular team, they will bet on it making the odds to be lowered. This doesn’t guarantee you that the team is strong enough and it will win, but it’s only that many people are supporting it. Make sure you avoid betting on those teams completely and if you do bet lesser. Stake your cash on teams that you understand well and you know they are strong enough to win but not just because many people support them.
You need to do a good follow up before you can bet on a team to win. Have the reasons behind the winning or losing of a specific team before you stake on them and avoid people opinions. This way you will never go wrong, and you will always get high returns from your betting.
If you want to boost your returns from basketball betting, then you need to equip yourself with the essential tips before you start betting. Ensure you choose the best betting platform to avoid frustrations in the process. A reliable basketball betting company will never let you down, and you will always be smiling.