The NBA saw a massive shake up last week when the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell — and the betting world has adapted to reflect the new basketball landscape.
The trade, which devastated Knicks fans who were hoping to bring the 25-year-old to Madison Square garden, now creates a solid roster in Cleveland that can potentially compete in the Eastern Conference, while further relegating the Knicks to the middle of the pack.
The Nets, meanwhile, have reportedly remedied their tumultuous offseason, as Kevin Durant has rescinded his trade request and agreed to return to Brooklyn for the coming season. That comes in addition to reports that Kyrie Irving will also be back at Barclays Center.
So, who is likely to emerge as the 2022-23 Eastern Conference champion?
Eastern Conference race
The Boston Celtics are favored to return to the NBA Finals again, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, with +270 odds (meaning gamblers would win $2.70 for every $1 wagered). Boston has largely kept their core group of players intact, with Jason Taytum and Jalen Brown leading the way again into the coming season.
The Milwaukee Bucks, led by former-MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, boast the second best odds at +330 to emerge as the Eastern Conference champs (meaning gamblers would win $3.30 for every $1 wagered).
That leaves the Brooklyn Nets as the third-most likely team to emerge victorious in the Eastern Conference with +360 odds ($3.60 for every $1). Gamblers will need to believe that the troubled offseason is truly behind them if they are to believe in the Nets — but, if Durant, Irving and Ben Simmons are bought in and playing well together, they will surely be a serious powerhouse.
After the Mitchell trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers odds increased to +1800 on FanDuel ($18 for every $1), which bettors should seriously consider, as the team already boasts significant talent with Darius Garland as his backcourt partner, and Evan Mobley holding down the paint.
The New York Knicks, meanwhile, are stuck in the bottom-half of Eastern Conference teams most likely to win the East at +7500 odds ($75 for every $1). It remains unlikely that the Knicks would make a deep playoff run, but their newly-signed point guard Jalen Brunson, along with returning stars like RJ Barrett and Julius Randle make the high-pay-off with longshot odds an intriguing prospect for true believers.
Brooklyn Nets win totals
According to DraftKings, the Brooklyn Nets win total over/under for the coming season is 49.5 wins — meaning gamblers can bet on whether the team will win 50-or-more games, or 49-or-less games over the course of 82 contests.
Last season, while dealing with injuries, mid-season trades and Kyrie Irving’s prolonged vaccine-related absence, the team won 44 games. The season prior, which also saw many injuries, the team won 48 games.
If Brooklyn can remain healthy, and their stars remain happy, 50 wins is not out of the realm of possibility at Barclays Center — though detractors may want to consider betting on the under, as there always seems to be some problems brewing in that locker room.
New York Knicks win totals
Across the East River, FanDuel has set the win total over/under for the Knicks at 39.5 wins. That means bettors can gamble on whether the team will win 40-or-more games, or also whether they will win 39-or-less.
Last season, the team won 37 games and missed the playoffs — marking a significant disappointment after the 2020-21 season, when they won 41 contests and saw postseason action.
With another year for their young core (RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes) to develop, the addition of Jalen Brunson, and continuity on their coaching staff with the return of Tom Thibodeau, gamblers should seriously consider betting on the over.
That being said, they are still the Knicks, so…