NBA Eastern Conference Odds & Best Bets

Doug Bonjour
@DougBonjour
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2024

As expected, the Boston Celtics have separated themselves as favorites to win the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

The Milwaukee Bucks are in the mix too, but a few others have tightened the gap atop the standings.

With the All-Star break in the rearview mirror and the unofficial second half in full swing, here’s our look at how the East shakes out.

Read on for our 2024 NBA Eastern Conference best bets.

NBA Eastern Conference Winner Odds 2024

NBA odds used for these Eastern Conference best bets are from Wednesday, Feb. 21, and courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Boston Celtics (+115)
  • Milwaukee Bucks (+300)
  • New York Knicks (+700)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (+900)
  • Philadelphia 76ers (+1200)
  • Miami Heat (+1300)
  • Indiana Pacers (+3500)
  • Orlando Magic (+7000)
  • Atlanta Hawks (+15000)
  • Chicago Bulls (+30000)
  • Washington Wizards (+80000)
  • Toronto Raptors (+80000)
  • Detroit Pistons (+80000)
  • Charlotte Hornets (+80000)
  • Brooklyn Nets (+80000)

NBA Eastern Conference Winner Best Bet

Boston Celtics (+115)

The Celtics began the year with championship aspirations, and for the most part, they’ve played to expectations. Their 43-12 record is comfortably the NBA’s best.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are a dynamic one-two punch, and Kristaps Porzingis has brought another dimension to their frontcourt. They’re supported by quality veterans like Jrue Holiday, who won a title with Milwaukee.

The Celtics are first in scoring differential by a considerable margin (plus-10.1), and they’re the only team to rank top five in both total offense and defense.

It’s championship or bust in Beantown.

[pick id="173068"]

NBA Eastern Conference Favorites

Milwaukee Bucks (+300)

Adrian Griffin’s hiring was met with acclaim, including from star Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the Bucks wound up firing the first-time coach after just 43 games despite having one of the NBA’s top records at 30-13.

The Bucks quickly pivoted to Doc Rivers, hoping he’d bring more stability and defensive acumen to Milwaukee. The problem is, it hasn’t really helped.

The Bucks are just 3-7 since Rivers took over, and their defense remains a mess.

As chaotic as things have been, one would think the Bucks (35-21) will put it together at some point. With Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, they’re too good not to. Right?

[pick id="173069"]

New York Knicks (+700)

The Knicks (33-22) are in good hands with Jalen Brunson, but injuries have become a concern. So much so that Taj Gibson and Jericho Sims have drawn starts in recent games.

Donte DiVincenzo and Isiah Hartenstein are both expected back after the All-Star break, while Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson could return sometime before the postseason.

If the Knicks ever get healthy, their depth could make a difference in a long series. But first things first.

NBA Eastern Conference Contenders

Cleveland Cavaliers (+900)

Led by Donovan Mitchell, the Cavaliers own the second-best record in the East at 36-17.

They have shown impressive resolve in overcoming lengthy injury absences from Darius Garland and Evan Mobley. Despite that, skepticism remains about how all their pieces will fit together in the postseason. Just look at their 9-1 odds.

At the very least, their second-ranked scoring defense (109.2 PPG allowed) is a big plus.

[pick id="173070"]

Philadelphia 76ers (+1200)

Will Joel Embiid return? That is all that matters.

The 76ers (32-22) did well to add Buddy Hield and Kyle Lowry at the deadline, but they’re going nowhere if Embiid can’t make it back from a meniscus injury. They’re just 6-14 this season without the reigning MVP and scoring champion in the lineup.

If you’re optimistic about his health, there is some value here at 12-1 odds.

NBA Eastern Conference Sleepers

Miami Heat (+1300)

Many will remember what the Heat did last season when they snuck into the playoffs via the play-in tournament and advanced all the way to the Finals as a No. 8 seed.

What’s stopping them from orchestrating a similar run?

The Heat (30-25) have been a bit streaky, but they do have one of the NBA’s most clutch performers in Jimmy Butler. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro help complete a formidable trio.

[pick id="173071"]

Indiana Pacers (+3500)

The Pacers wisely targeted Pascal Siakam with emerging superstar Tyrese Haliburton.

Still, as dynamic as they look on paper, the Pacers don’t seem like legitimate threats to go deep into the playoffs.

They’re similar, in a sense, to last year’s Kings: proficient offensively but woefully inefficient on defense.

Opponents are averaging 122.3 points, the third-most in the NBA. The Pacers also rank last in shooting defense (50.3%).

Past NBA Eastern Conference Winners

2023: Miami Heat

2022: Boston Celtics

2021: Milwaukee Bucks

2020: Miami Heat

2019: Toronto Raptors

2018: Cleveland Cavaliers

2017: Cleveland Cavaliers

2016: Cleveland Cavaliers

2015: Cleveland Cavaliers

2014: Miami Heat

Author

Doug Bonjour

Doug covered college and prep sports in Connecticut for more than a decade, including stints as the UConn women’s basketball and UConn football beat reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media. During his time reporting on the 11-time national champion Huskies, he covered three NCAA Final Fours. He also has written for the Associated Press and New York Times.

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