No team has emerged as dominant in the NBA’s Atlantic Division. Does that make it open to an underdog winning the division?
As most teams approach the 20-game mark in the NBA, the Atlantic appears to be the weakest division this year. The Toronto Raptors are the current front-runners, however at just 11-7 they have not posted any kind of significant lead. Accordingly, with both the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks not far behind, one of those two teams may be the one to back in the Atlantic Division’s futures market.
As we head into December, Boston are a mere one game behind the Raptors at 10-8 on the year. Recently the Celtics took a road-win away from the Miami Heat, a pretty good victory given that Miami are leaders of the Southeast Division. That they put up a 10-point spread in the game is all the more impressive and perhaps it shows that the Celtics are going to put their recent road problems behind them.
New York are just 8-10 on the year, but in a division without a dominant team that kind of record is enough to keep them in striking range. Heading into December, the Knicks are just three games back of the Raptors in the Atlantic, certainly a lead that could be surmounted in a small time frame. While not much is expected of New York the betting odds on Carmelo Anthony’s team appear to be very redeeming: 11 to 1 to win the Altantic is currently available on the Knicks with 888Sport. When you consider that one reputable firm, Betway, price the Knicks at 13/2 to win the Atlantic, the value on 11 to 1 is highlighted.
As the Raptors play below expectations, Boston and New York, despite not playing well themselves, have stayed in the Atlantic Division race. Historically, Toronto is a franchise that has underachieved in the NBA quite miserably and that alone is a good reason to bet against them.
Between New York and Boston, the Celtics, who have an excellent coach in Brad Stevens, are starting to shorten significantly in the futures market. Boston were +325 (11/4) with 888Sport about five weeks ago and their current odds are now +250 (5/2) with the same firm. That does show that some are starting to believe in this team and the time appears to be now to get behind them.
2.5 pt win on Boston in the Atlantic Division at +250 (5/2)
0.5 pt win on New York in the Atlantic Division at +1100 (11/1)