NBA Futures: 2020-21 NBA Eastern Conference Predictions, Odds & Preview

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler looks to pass.
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NBA · 1 year ago

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The Eastern Conference may not be top-heavy like the West, but it does boast superior depth. Look no further than the NBA title odds to confirm as much. The Western Conference is home to the top-two favorites in the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, after which comes five East teams in succession: the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors.

Let’s take a look at how an intriguing Eastern Conference might play out in 2020-21.

Eastern Conference title contenders

Milwaukee Bucks (+230) – Giannis Antetokounmpo is the two-time reigning MVP, but he insists that all he wants to do is win. Although the Bucks have done a lot of that in the regular season, so far the playoffs have been their Waterloo during the Greek Freak era. They will make another run at it with Jrue Holiday on board to replace the departed Eric Bledsoe.

Giannis Antetokounmpo playing for Bucks

Brooklyn Nets (+275) – The Nets have to be considered the x-factor in the East this season. They unquestionably have the most talent, but there is a chance that absolutely everything could go wrong. Kevin Durant has not yet played a game in his new home, so it remains to be seen how he will gel with Kyrie Irving. Moreover, Steve Nash has no prior coaching experience.

Boston Celtics (+550) – Gordon Hayward may be gone, but Boston still boasts Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker on the roster. The Celtics also had two first-round draft selections in 2020, using them to take Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard. In the talent department, the C’s can keep up with anyone in the East. Is this the year they put it all together?

Miami Heat (+650) – Miami’s run to the 2019-20 NBA Finals was improbable. Doing the same this time around wouldn’t be as surprising. The Heat not only have that valuable experience under their belt, but they also have basically everyone back in the fold. Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are only getting better, while Jimmy Butler still has a few prime years left.

Underdogs worth a look

Atlanta Hawks (+4000) – To be abundantly clear, the Hawks are probably years away from seriously contending. Trae Young would be a senior at Oklahoma right now, Cam Reddish and DeAndre Hunter are in only their second years, and a lot of new parts must be integrated (among them Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, and Rajon Rondo), but massive improvement should be made.

Trae Young Playing Against Knicks

Washington Wizards (+5000) – Similar to Brooklyn (albeit to a much lesser extent), the Wizards could see their talent produce some stellar results…or it could just as easily all blow up. If they get off to a hot start, Russell Westbrook may be able to enjoy his new scenery and play like an all-star. The Westbrook-Bradley Beal duo supported by Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura makes for potential.

Best bet

Miami Heat (+650) – At lofty odds, I think Milwaukee is too unproven in the postseason and Brooklyn is too much of a conglomeration of individual parts that could combust. Miami is a relative underdog as the fourth favorite in the Eastern Conference and this team really has a better chance than that to go back-to-back. Head coach Erik Spoelstra is a proven winner and he has veteran leaders in Butler and Goran Dragic running the show for a team that is otherwise young and improving.

Pickswise is the home of free NBA Picks and Predictions. Check out our daily NBA Prop Bets, NBA Parlays and NBA Best Bets throughout the entire NBA season.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5+ On Any NFL Pre-Game ML, Get $200 If Your Bet Wins

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any NFL pre-game ML

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Unibet

$100

Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

PointsBet

$800

Get 4x $200 In Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,250

Get a $1,250 risk-free bet

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$500

Get Your First Bet Risk-Free Up To $500

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

DraftKings

$100

Bet $5+ on MLB and get $100 in Free Bets Instantly!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $100 no matter what!

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 in Free Bets With PointsBet's Second Chance

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.