The NBA regular season has reached the halfway point heading into the second weekend in January with most of the 30 teams playing at least 41 of their 82 games. Intertops online sportsbook has recently updated its NBA futures, including the odds to win each of the six individual divisions titles.
There is quite a bit of value betting individual division futures at this time of the year since the odds are tied to the regular season results and not the playoffs. With half the season in the books, you already have a good handle on which teams have the best shot to win its division along with any other legitimate contenders.
One of the more interesting division races on the board right now is the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division. This is a three-team race between the Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Boston Celtics. The Brooklyn Nets are still technically in the race as longshots followed by the New York Knicks, who are way off the pace.
With a record of 31-12 in its first 43 games, Toronto is the clear frontrunner to win the Atlantic. However, I would have to question the value in its -278 odds to go on and win the division title. The Raptors currently have a 3.5-game lead over Philadelphia with Boston just another game back. All three teams have won seven of their last 10 games to keep things tight, so the race should remain competitive through the end of the season.
Toronto should be favored to win this race given its current form, but anything can still happen from now until early April. The risk/reward in the inflated -278 moneyline to win $100 is just too high to add any real value to this futures bet.
The futures odds that the 76ers or the Celtics win the division are set at +375 for each team. You could flip a coin between the two, but I would give a slight edge to Boston right now. The Celtics have had their issues at 25-15 in their first 40 games, but they continue to move in the right direction. The biggest plus with this team is the experience. Boston has veteran players that know how to win games when there is something on the line.
The Celtics are in pretty good shape when it comes to the early head-to-head results against the other top two contenders in the division race. They started the season with a win against Philly at home and a loss to Toronto on the road. Boston added to its series lead against the Sixers with another win at home on Christmas Day. The final two games of this series will be played in Philadelphia later in the season. The Celtics evened the series against the Raptors with a win at home in mid-November. These two will meet again in Boston on January 16 and then wrap the four-game series up in Toronto on Feb. 26.
The biggest issue with the 76ers closing the current gap with Toronto while also holding off the Celtics is their inability to consistently win on the road. They have been one of the best home teams in the league at 18-3, but their current record on the road stands at just 9-12. Toronto is 14-8 on the road with Boston going an even 10-10. If these trends continue in the same direction over the second half of the season, it would be next to impossible for Philly to close that current gap.
Rounding out the futures list in the Atlantic is Brooklyn at +30000 with a record of 21-22 followed by the Knicks at +100000 odds with just 10 wins in their first 41 games.