The 2021-22 NBA season commences on Oct. 19, 2021; the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference outright futures betting picks are now available at Basketball Insiders. According to oddsmakers at BetOnline, the Brooklyn Nets are the favorites (+110) to advance to the 2022 NBA Finals. Ranking second, the Milwaukee Bucks have +425 of making it back, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers (+850) and Miami Heat (+1200).
Last season, the 76ers finished 49-23 (.681), ranking first overall in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia defeated the Washington Wizards in five games in the first round of the playoffs. However, the 76ers were upsetted by the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Conference Semifinals. The 76ers entered that series as heavy favorites. Losing at home in Game 7 of any playoff series is always the worst. Featured below are the updated 2022 NBA Eastern Conference title odds from BetOnline.
2022 NBA Eastern Conference best bets
The Nets are heavy favorites (+110) to advance to the 2022 NBA Finals. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden are more energetic and healthier now than they were last season. On Aug. 3, Brooklyn’s front office signed Patty Mills to a two-year, $12 million contract. The Nets also signed Cam Thomas and James Johnson. Then, they acquired Jevon Carter from the Phoenix Suns. Moreover, on Apr. 15, 2021, LaMarcus Aldridge retired abruptly after experiencing irregular heartbeats.
On Sept. 3, the seven-time All-Star announced that he would unretire after being medically cleared to play. Will he play the entire season? That’s the question. In the 2020-21 NBA season, the Nets lost 115-111 in Game 7 of overtime versus the Milwaukee Bucks in the Conference Semifinals series. They are expected to win at least 47 games in the upcoming season. Similar to other teams across the league, injuries are a major factor. As great as Durant is, the two-time NBA Finals MVP cannot win this team a chip on his own. Keep these points in mind before placing bets.
The Milwaukee Bucks made it to their first NBA Finals since the 1973-74 season. But, they didn’t stop there. They won their second title in franchise history in six games against the Phoenix Suns. It was their first championship victory since the 1971 NBA Finals. The Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets in four games in that finals series.
Plus, considering the team finished 46-26 (.639) last season, watching the Bucks win it all was a big surprise. Under head coach Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks ended their 2018-19 season with a record of 60-22 (.732), and the team finished 56-17 (.767) in the following season. Though, the team failed to qualify for the NBA Finals.
In the offseason, on Aug. 6, they re-signed Bobby Portis. Next, guards George Hill and Rodney Hood were signed. Additionally, forward Semi Ojeleye was later signed. One day later, Grayson Allen was traded by the Memphis Grizzlies to the Bucks for Sam Merrill and cash. If Milwaukee makes it back to the NBA Finals, there is a great chance they’ll play the Lakers in 2022. Having said this, oddsmakers are doubting this particular scenario. All eyes are on the Nets. On the flip side, this could work out in the Bucks’ favor. When the pressure is off, certain teams perform better.
Much is unknown about the 76ers right now. The most NBA enthusiasts can do this season is speculate. As insinuated above, the 76ers had a disappointing conclusion to their season in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Oddsmakers projected a future 76ers-Nets Eastern Conference Finals matchup. Almost everyone was expecting a final showdown similar to that level of excitement. Fortunately, the Bucks-Nets series did not disappoint. Though, had they fired on all cylinders against the Hawks, one cannot help but wonder if the 76ers would have advanced to the NBA Finals.
In the offseason, the 76ers selected Jaden Springer 28th overall and Charles Bassey 53rd overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. Undrafted free agent Aaron Henry was also signed via a two-way contract. On Aug. 3, the organization re-signed Rayjon Tucker. They also signed Andre Drummond, Georges Niang and Danny Green in early August. On top of re-signing Tucker, they re-signed Furkan Korkmaz, Joel Embiid and Grant Riller agreed to a two-way contract.
Anyways, no one can avoid the elephant in the room. Ben Simmons’ future is up in the air right now in Philadelphia. Oddsmakers are not sure where he will end up. Per multiple sportsbooks’ trade destination odds, the San Antonio Spurs are the favorites to trade for the three-time All-Star. However, the guard also has favorable odds of signing with the Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves or remaining with the 76ers. One person’s prediction is as good as anyone’s guess.
The Miami Heat are a trustworthy dark-horse contender. They played the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 NBA Finals. They have +1200 odds of winning the Eastern Conference. During the offseason, the Heat re-signed Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Dewayne Dedmon and Duncan Robinson. On the same day, the Toronto Raptors traded Kyle Lowry to the Heat for Precious Achiuwa and Goran Dragic. Plus, they re-signed Jimmy Butler a day later. Not to mention, in September, both Marcus Garrett and Caleb Martin were signed to two-way contracts. The Heat are one of the few Eastern Conference teams that are capable of competing with the Nets and Bucks.
Another dark-horse team is the Atlanta Hawks. They were good enough to challenge the 76ers in last season’s Conference Semifinals series. Therefore, what’s to say they don’t make it back this season? During the 2021 NBA Draft, the organization selected Jalen Johnson 20th overall and Sharife Cooper 48th. Then, on Aug. 5, the team re-signed Solomon Hill. One day later, Atlanta re-signed Trae Young, John Collins and Lou Williams. On Aug. 7, the Hawks acquired Delon Wright as part of a three-team transaction. To add to the list, they re-signed Clint Capela and signed Gorgui Dieng. After finishing 41-31 (.569), at minimum, they are a decent playoff team. They could get hot in 2022.
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