- The NBA is set to return with a new playoff format before the end of July to complete the 2019-20 NBA season
- The Brooklyn Nets are heavy favorites at -250 to be the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference
- Read below to find out your best bets for the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference
The NBA is looking to return before the end of July to complete the rest of the basketball season. The format is quite different considering the abrupt end to the NBA regular season, but that does not mean the fringe teams aren’t going to get their chance to compete in the playoffs.
In the current Eastern Conference odds, the Brooklyn Nets are -250 favorites to finish in the eighth seed. This comes to a surprise to most bettors as the Nets are currently seventh in the East and narrowly ahead of the Orlando Magic.
Which Team Will Be The 8th Seed in the East?
Odds taken June 7, 2020.
Can Nets Hold The 7-Seed?
Before the NBA postponed the regular season due to COVID-19, the Nets had won three games in a row. That was almost three months ago and now the Nets will have to return to play without their two superstars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Kyrie Irving suggested on the NBPA conference call today that it’s possible he could join the Nets in Orlando this summer — as an inactive player supporting his teammates, sources said. Irving had season-ending shoulder surgery on March 3. https://t.co/MKrfaGQhwy
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 6, 2020
The Nets have been without Durant and Irving for almost the entirety of the regular season, so not having them play in Orlando won’t change the game plan. However, their eight-game schedule before the playoffs won’t be a cakewalk. The Nets will have to play the Los Angeles Clippers twice, Orlando Magic twice, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, and Portland Trail Blazers.
Without Durant and Irving, the offensive load will be on the shoulders of Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie. LeVert got into a scoring groove averaging 23.0 points a game from the beginning of February to the postponement of the regular season in March.
As much as the scoring from LeVert and Dinwiddie will be important, the defensive and rebounding output from DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen will be huge in this eight-game stretch. In games against the Clippers, Celtics, and Magic these two big men will be key in minimizing their opponents’ scoring efforts.
Home City Magic
The Orlando Magic currently hold a 30-35 record, just half a game behind the Nets in the East. The oddsmakers believe the Nets will slide down to the 8-seed, which more than likely means the Magic will finish in the seventh spot.
Orlando Magic got home field advantage through the playoffs pic.twitter.com/U5Xwm8Obpp
— Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) June 3, 2020
The Magic will technically have home court advantage when play resumes, but that doesn’t mean much with little to no fans in the stadium. However, the strength of their schedule will give them an advantage to sneak past the Nets into the seventh spot.
Orlando will play Brooklyn twice, Boston twice, Sacramento, New Orleans, Indiana, and Philadelphia. The Magic have done well playing with their depth all season and will probably have the return of Jonathan Isaac in the postseason.
Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier have been the two-headed monster leading the offensive attack for the Magic. Moreover, Markelle Fultz, Aaron Gordon, and Terrence Ross have done a great job adding to Orlando’s versatility by complimenting their top two scorers all season.
At this point, the Magic have the depth and firepower to jump the Nets in the standings. Although the value is not very good for the Nets, they have the best chances of finishing eighth in the East. The likelihood of the Wizards getting into the top eight is very low at this point.
Best Bet: Brooklyn Nets (-250)
Will the 9th Seed Win a Play-In Tournament Game?
Odds taken June 7, 2020.
Will The Wizards Make a Push?
The Washington Wizards are currently ninth in the East and are five and a half games behind the eighth seed. The Wizards have a very tough eight-game schedule, playing Milwaukee twice, Boston twice, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Phoenix, and the Lakers.
Although Bradley Beal has pledged his allegiance to Washington at this point, I do not believe this will be the year they will make the playoffs. They would need to shrink the margin to four games between them and the eighth-placed team to get into the play-in series and with their upcoming schedule that does not look very doable.
Some Eastern Conference teams are planning for the possibility of John Wall returning to the Washington Wizards lineup in Orlando ?
Via @IanBegley pic.twitter.com/8UF6HV1tEs
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 3, 2020
Even with the potential return of John Wall, competing with the Lakers and Bucks will be very difficult for this young Washington squad. Take the safer bet and wager on there being no play-in series with the ninth seed not even getting a chance to win a game.
Best Bet: No (-125)