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NBA East Playoff Picture Odds: Are Wizards Worth Betting?

NBA East Playoff Picture Odds: Are Wizards Worth Betting?
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While the NBA Western Conference playoff chance is going to be intense, the Eastern Conference is a little more cut-and-dried. Three teams are vying for two spots in the East and one of those teams has some serious work to do.

The Brooklyn Nets own the No. 7 spot in the East, with the Orlando Magic sitting half a game behind at No. 8. The Washington Wizards are 5.5 games back of Orlando with eight games remaining in the regular season.

With the 2019-20 NBA season set to relaunch July 30 in Orlando, breaks down the best NBA betting tips for the East contenders.

RELATED: NBA West Playoff Picture Odds & Tips

Odds to Make Eastern Conference Playoffs

Team FanDuel Odds to Make FanDuel Odds to Miss
Orlando Magic-3000 +1300
Brooklyn Nets-3000 +1200
Washington Wizards+1400 -3500

Note: Odds current as of publication. Compare the latest NBA odds here.

Wizards Worth Considering

Clearly, the Nets and Magic have the advantage. They are firmly in front of the Wizards in the chase for the two final playoff spots up for grabs.

But the Wizards aren’t as out of it as it may seem. Under the NBA restart guidelines, any No. 9 seed within four games of the No. 8 qualifies for a play-in tournament. If that happens, the No. 9 advances to the NBA Playoffs if it beats the No. 8 team twice. The No. 8 can advance with a single win over the No. 9.

There is reason to back the Wizards in NBA futures betting and fade the Nets. While the new NBA regular-season schedule hasn’t been revealed, projections are out there as to what the matchups may be.

Orlando is 8-7 vs. those likely projected opponents. The Wizards were a respectable 7-7 while the Nets were a poor 4-7. Not counting two games vs. a powerful Bucks team, Washington was 7-3 vs. the rest of the field.

If the Magic can vault the Nets for the No. 7 seed – which I think is very possible – and the Wizards climb to within four spots of Brooklyn in the standings, those teams would face off. Washington beat Brooklyn twice in February. Each game was in D.C., each was decided by six points.

Another reason to find value in the Wizards: Not only have they had success vs. the teams they’re playing (not counting the Bucks), most of the teams on their schedule won’t be playing for their postseason lives.

Of the eight games the Wizards are slated to play, only two are vs. playoff-hungry teams. The Nets and Magic each have five such games.

Jonathan Isaac was averaging 12 points per game in 32 games before going out with an injury in January.
Jonathan Isaac was averaging 12 points per game in 32 games before going out with an injury in January.

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Here Are The Picks

The Magic should be stronger after this extended break, especially if Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu come back from knee injuries. The season would have been over for those two players without this long hiatus. If healthy, they would offer a big boost for a team that needs frontcourt depth.

The Nets had a good run without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but any momentum they had is gone. For several other reasons as well, I like the Magic to jump the Nets and get the No. 7 seed in the East.

It’s hard to rely on a Wizards team that didn’t get it done for much of the season. But a fresh restart and an advantageous schedule, in addition to the past success vs. the Nets in a possible 8/9 showdown, gives enough reason to use the East as a low-risk, high-reward platform.

Back the near-sure-thing Magic with FanDuel and throw some money on the big underdog Wizards too.

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