The most blockbuster NBA trade of the year went down at the deadline with the Nets and 76ers swapping superstars — James Harden for Ben Simmons — and a few other pieces. After the deal, it's worth re-picking 2022 Eastern Conference futures. Are the Nets still the team to beat? Or is Philly now in the driver's seat? Or neither? There's a lot to cover so make sure you read this for up-to-date NBA betting advice!
First thing is first, let's see how the current conference title betting odds are looking over at Canada's best sportsbooks. Here are the top-5 teams most favoured to represent the East in the 2022 NBA Finals:
Pre-blockbuster trade, the Nets were favoured to take the East so nothing has changed there. However, the deal did help the Sixers move up the betting ladder. With Harden now at the helm, the top NBA betting sites have moved Philadelphia over Miami and Chicago in the betting pecking order. Now that we know the bookies' reaction to the superstar swap, let's talk about our reaction — as in who we're betting on to win now that the conference has been re-set.
Best Bet To Win 2022 NBA Eastern Conference
Before we dish out our best bet to win the 2022 Eastern Conference, we should preface by saying a lot can change from now until the conference championship series begins in May. That can include a season-crushing injury or loosened COVID restrictions, for instance. So our pick(s) below is based on currently available information. With that said, here's which teams are earning our money:
Bet Nets Or Sixers?
We're going to be upfront and say we're not nearly as optimistic about Brooklyn as the bookmakers that have them pegged as conference front-runners. That team has way, way too many question marks that give us a pause. Let's get to them, shall we?
One, can Kevin Durant even stay healthy? He's on the injured list right now (and for the foreseeable future), but there's no guarantee he'll last for a deep playoff run. Bettors forget he's been in the league for 15 years (and longer if you count all the mileage from postseason games). He's been injured on and off for three years running now so there's ample evidence to question Durant's durability.
Two, the Kyrie Irving conundrum. Due to New York City vaccine mandates, he's only joining the team for road games. Unless the city of New York relaxes its COVID restrictions, that's a hindrance to the Nets in the playoffs. Irving is the team's second-best player and only opponents win when he's on the court half of the time in a 7-game series.
Three, can Ben Simmons be trusted in the playoffs? Maybe playing with Durant and Irving (half of the time) takes the pressure off him offensively, but Simmons has regularly choked in crunch time. Time after time again so much that it HAS to be wearing on him mentally.
So as you can guess, we are indeed fading the Nets here. Instead, we're jumping on the 76ers bandwagon. Joel Embiid is the leading candidate for MVP and now he has a prolific scorer in Harden accompanying him on the floor. Philly has continued to win sans Simmons but should receive an immediate boost from Harden's presence. We love Philadelphia's betting value at +300, which we're hammering home!
Don't Overlook The Heat
Getting lost in the Simmons-Harden hoopla is that there are other Eastern Conference contenders besides the two teams that swapped the players. Those contenders include the reigning NBA champions, Milwaukee, and the 2020 Eastern Conference winners, Miami. Between those two, we like the Heats' odds more than the Bucks.
Whereas the Nets and Sixers have to "re-gel" on the court with the new additions, no such problem exists for the Heat. Jimmy Butler has established himself as the alpha male of that team and everyone else — from playmaking Kyle Lowry to sharpshooting Tyler Herro — knows their role. We like that consistency a lot, especially compared to the aforementioned teams who, more or less, will have to learn how to play with each other on the fly.
Laying two bets, one on Philly and the other on Miami makes a lot of sense here. One has high upside despite unfamiliarity (76ers), while the other is steady and reliable (Heat).
How To Bet On NBA Futures?
Want to bet on NBA futures — not just Eastern Conference, but perhaps the West or the NBA Finals? You can do so easily at one of the bookmakers listed below. They have futures bets now and all the way through the playoffs. Though, the odds will adjust as the season wears on. So if you want to lock in the odds we mentioned at the start, then time is of the essence and you'll want to visit these bookmakers right away!
While you're at it, look into the lucrative bonus offers currently available at these sites. The table underneath this paragraph has details on what bonuses are currently running. To redeem your bonus — and the hundreds of dollars in free play that comes with it — hit one of the "play now" buttons below.