Updated Odds to win NBA Eastern Conference 2011
At the All-Star break, the race for the top record in the Eastern Conference is a tight battle. The top three squads are separated by a total of just two games.
Here’s a look at the top four favorites and a live long shot to reach the 2011 NBA Finals from the East.
1. Miami Heat (-120)
After a slow start, Miami is starting to put things together with its talented trio of stars. The Heat have gone 32-7 since a 9-8 mark to open the season. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are both in the top four in the league in scoring. After the break, Miami will try to secure the home court advantage for the conference playoffs. The Heat are tied with Boston for the top record in the East. The club will get to play 16 of its final 26 contests at home.
2. Boston Celtics (+200)
A veteran Celtics squad has registered a 40-14 record entering the break. Boston’s star trio of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett have combined to average 51 points per game this season. With two conference titles in the last three years, this group is used to winning in the postseason. This could be an advantage against Miami in the playoffs. Boston is 3-0 against the Heat so far this season. While Miami will get to play most of its remaining games at home, the Celtics will have to play 17 of its last 28 outings on the road.
3. Orlando Magic (+550)
After losing just 23 games in each of the last two regular seasons, Orlando has already dropped 21 contests this year in 57 efforts. A huge trade earlier in the year has yet to pay any real dividends for the team heading into the All-Star break. While star center Dwight Howard is averaging a career-high 22.8 points per game this season, his supporting cast has lacked overall consistency.
4. Chicago Bulls (+800)
Under new head coach Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls are 38-16 at the break. After posting .500 records in each of the last two years, Chicago has made some significant strides this season. If it were not for a couple of key injuries, the club would probably have the top record in the conference. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah have missed a combined 54 games in the 2010-11 campaign. With a couple of key frontcourt players on the shelf, guard Derrick Rose has stepped up in the backcourt to play at an MVP level for the squad.
HIGH ROI POTENTIAL PICK
New York Knicks (+3500)
After being limited to 33 or fewer victories in each of the last six years, New York has already won 28 games this season in 54 contests. Free agents Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton have brought some excitement back for long suffering Knicks fans. The duo have combined to average 43 points per game this season. New York is also getting some strong production from a couple of emerging young players. Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are each averaging 16 points per outing this season.
Odds to win Eastern Conference at All-Star break
– Atlanta Hawks +3000
– Boston Celtics +200
– Charlotte Bobcats +15000
– Chicago Bulls +800
– Detroit Pistons +20000
– Indiana Pacers +10000
– Miami Heat -125
– Milwaukee Bucks +10000
– New York Knicks +3000
– Orlando Magic +550
– Philadelphia 76ers +15000