The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have officially begun jockeying for playoff positioning. With a 76ers win and a Celtics loss yesterday, Philadelphia has now moved ahead of Boston for both the Eastern Conference second seed and the Atlantic Division lead. The Celtics have 10 games left in the season and the 76ers have 12, and they will play for the final time in the regular season on April 4.
Let’s take a look at how the swing in the standings has affected NBA championship odds for both teams.
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Celtics NBA Championship Odds: 76ers Take Division Lead
Check out NBA championship odds on DraftKings:
Philadelphia is riding an incredibly hot Joel Embiid to an eight-game winning streak, and that run has pushed the 76ers to 48-22 — one game up on the Celtics in the loss column and just two back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the East. Meanwhile, the Celtics have recovered a bit from a cold stretch, but they are still only 5-5 in their last 10 games, while Philadelphia and Milwaukee have continued their winning ways.
That said, Vegas has not fully bought into this 76ers run, as Philadelphia (+450) is still well behind Boston and Milwaukee to win the East (+155 and +145, respectively). The Celtics are also -250 to win the Atlantic, and the 76ers are +200. The Bucks to win the championship at +330, followed closely by the Celtics at +340 and the Suns at +475. Even the Nuggets — going through a rough couple weeks themselves — remain ahead of the 76ers, sitting at +800 to Philadelphia’s +1000.
The 76ers are not really even in the ballpark of Milwaukee and Boston on DraftKings to finish with the top seed, as they are +1200 compared to -390 for the Bucks and +400 for the Celtics
The most likely reason for the still-wide gap in the odds for seeding and division is the 76ers’ remaining schedule — a gauntlet of a 12-game stretch that sees them play only teams currently in line for the Play-In Tournament or better. The worst team on their slate is Chicago, against whom the 76ers play two in a row this week. The Celtics and Bucks have a much more favorable schedule to close the season.
As for NBA championship odds, a lot is probably coming down to the Celtics and Bucks having history of playoff success. They are the two most recent East representatives in the NBA Finals, whereas Embiid has struggled to make a deep playoff run. That said, he is the MVP frontrunner right now, and no team is playing better than the 76ers. At +1200 to clinch the top seed and +450 to win the East, there is plenty of value in betting the 76ers on DraftKings right now.
For the Celtics, however, value with them seems to be slipping. They are clearly a step behind the Bucks, and with Jayson Tatum falling out of MVP consideration, the 76ers and Bucks would both have the best player in a playoff series against Boston. Until they show better form, the Celtics are a stay-away if betting NBA championship odds.