The NBA season is officially underway, with each team already having a few games under their belt. The standings as they appear now are more than likely going to be very different come the end of the 72-game season. We have seen some teams jump out to a fast start, while others are slow coming out of the gate, but as history has shown us, especially in the NBA, the cream has a way of rising to the top. 8 teams will make it into the playoffs out of the Eastern Conference, but you have to say that only a few of that batch have a real shot at representing the East in the NBA Finals. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the favorites and their odds to win the Eastern Conference in the 2021 NBA Season.
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Brooklyn Nets (+250)
The Nets ended last season with a 37-35 record that fell well short of expectations. The problem for the Nets was that they lost Kevin Durant to the season with an Achilles injury. He is back and ready to go this year though, as he and Kyrie Irving look to dominate the Eastern Conference. The Nets basically stood pat in the offseason, doing little more than adding some bench depth. This, though, is the Durant/Irving show, and if they can both stay healthy, this is a team that has the potential to go all the way. They are off to a 2-1 start to the season, but it might take a minute for Durant to get his legs back.
Milwaukee Bucks (+260)
We have seen what this team is capable of in each of the last 2 regular seasons, but it has been their failings in the postseason that have hurt them. The Bucks made some changes this past offseason, but it is the long-term signing of Giannis to a supermax deal that was the best news for Bucks fans. Milwaukee went 56-17 last season, but they looked lost in the bubble, especially when the playoffs rolled around. They are off to a 1-2 start this season, but no one is hitting the panic button. Lots of ball still to come and plenty of time for the Bucks to get rolling.
Boston Celtics (+550)
The Boston Celtics made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season before going down in 6 games to the Miami Heat. This is a team that is certainly good enough to make another run, but there is one area of concern, which is the loss of Gordon Hayward to free agency. They did bring in Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson, but will that be enough to cover for the loss of Hayward? The Celtics won their opening game of the season, but they have lost 2 in a row to fall to 1-2. Again, still very early.
Philadelphia 76ers (+550)
Before we talk about Philly, it is worth noting that last season’s East winners, the Miami Heat, are sitting just behind the Celtics and 76ers on the board. They are definitely worth a look at +600. The 76ers had a disappointing year in 2020 and need to bounce back. They have made some changes, including moving Al Horford out, that makes them look much more balanced on paper. They are also one of the teams in talks to being in James Harden, so keep an eye on that.
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