The 2019-20 NBA season is set to begin exhibition play over the next three weeks before officially tipping on October 22. As last year’s playoffs proved, any team can win the NBA Championship, and with some much big-name player movement, the path to the NBA Finals has never been more cluttered.
Here’s a look at the Online Sportsbooks favorites to win the Eastern Conference title this NBA season:
Milwaukee Bucks +140
The Bucks move into the No. 1 spot in the East thanks to Kawhi Leonard’s defection from Toronto to Los Angeles. Milwaukee has the best player in the NBA in Giannis Antetokounmpo, which is a good start, and won’t face much push back in the Eastern outside of a handful of contending teams.
Beyond the “Greek Freak”, Milwaukee marches out a very similar lineup as last season when the club won a league-high 60 games, with Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, and new addition Wesley Matthews able to score the ball from the perimeter. The Bucks also ranked among the better defenses in the East and have plenty of size up front to clog the paint.
Philadelphia 76ers +200
Philly fans have been trusting the process for a while now. Is this the season in which it actually produces? The Sixers have a talent-rich roster thanks to “The Process”, headlined by big man Joel Embiid, who emerged as an elite force in the NBA last season. Ben Simmons is back at point guard, with Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris rounding out the backcourt, and new center Al Horford gives this team some need veteran grit around the hoop.
Depth is the biggest issue with Philadelphia, coming off a 2018-19 in which the team received only 31.7 points per game from the bench. Backup guard Trey Burke could be the answer off the pine, having scored almost 12 points per game for the New York Knicks last season.
Boston Celtics +700
The Kyrie Irving experiment in Beantown is over. Perhaps the All-Star guard, who spent plenty of time on the injured list, was more of a distraction to this Celtics squad, which still has some very talented players and added a go-to scorer in Kemba Walker. Walker is coming off a career year in which he lit it up for 25.6 points and nearly six assists per night.
Joining him in the backcourt is gritty guard Marcus Smart and versatile tweener Jayson Tatum, framing forward Gordon Heyward and new center Enes Kanter. Boston has solid options off the bench in Jalen Brown and rookie Carson Edwards, who could be an explosive scorer give his production at Purdue.
Indiana Pacers +1,000
Indiana sits ahead of the Brooklyn Nets (+1,200 with no Kevin Durant until 2020-21) and the defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors (+3,000) in the Eastern Conference pecking order. The Pacers return electric guard Victor Oladipo from a knee injury that ended his 2019-20 campaign and expect more progress from the likes of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
Indiana is a very well-rounded team offensively after adding scoring depth with former Milwaukee point guard Malcolm Brogdon and former Phoenix forward TJ Warren. That should make the Pacers a dangerous team considering they ranked No. 1 in defense in 2019-20, giving up just under 105 points per game.