NBA Futures: 2021-22 Atlantic division odds, preview and best divisional bets: Raptors may surprise

Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors atlantic division
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I'm an NFL handicapper here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email
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The new NBA season is right around the corner. In less than a week the 2021-22 campaign will get started, and we can’t wait. The Atlantic division has become a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference with the creation of the Nets’ super-team, and that’s what we’ll be breaking down today. Brooklyn is one of the favorites to win a title, while the 76ers, Knicks, Celtics, and Raptors are all hoping to contend as well. There are no doormats or weak links in this division, so it should be a ton of fun.

Here at Pickswise we’ve got a ton of great content coming for the new NBA season. Just yesterday, I took a look at the Western Conference. Be sure to keep an eye on our NBA news tab for all of our latest articles. But for now, let’s break down the Atlantic division:

Brooklyn Nets

Odds to win division: -280
Win total: 56.5

We’ll start off with the team that’s widely expected to win the Atlantic division. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether Kyrie Irving will actually play for the Nets this season, but they’re still the clear favorite either way. That’s what also having Kevin Durant and James Harden will do for you. The superstars understandably get most of the attention, but Brooklyn also has a lot of talented guys around them. They’ve got Blake Griffin and sharpshooter Joe Harris returning from last year, and also added seasoned vets Patty Mills and Paul Milsap this offseason. The roster is truly stacked. All the talk right now is about Irving, but if there’s any team well equipped to weather this kind of storm, it’s this one.

Philadelphia 76ers

Odds to win division: +360
Win total: 50.5

The 76ers are the only other team oddsmakers give a reasonable chance of winning the Atlantic division. They did win it last year after all. Philly has some drama of their own going on, as the Ben Simmons saga continues with no end in sight. Simmons has now reported to Philadelphia, although he could seemingly be traded at any time. Simmons has avoided any contact with the organization or his teammates this offseason, and it’ll be very interesting to see how he gels with Joel Embiid on the court after their very public falling-out. It should be highly entertaining if nothing else. The 76ers mostly opted to run it back with the same group from last year, although they did add Andre Drummond to give them a competent backup center behind Embiid for once. For new contributions, they’ll be hoping for a big step forward from 2020 first-round pick Tyrese Maxey in his second year.

Boston Celtics

Odds to win division: +1000
Win total: 46.5

The Celtics used to reign supreme over the Atlantic division, but not anymore. Boston has fallen on hard times a bit the past couple of seasons, and they now find themselves a somewhat distant third behind Philadelphia and Brooklyn. The franchise saw a good amount of disruption this offseason, as Brad Stevens shockingly announced that he would be stepping down as head coach and transitioning to a front-office role. They traded away Kemba Walker, re-acquiring Al Horford in the process. Other new additions include Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson.

New York Knicks

Odds to win division: +3000
Win total: 41.5

The Knicks were one of the league’s most pleasant surprises last season. New York caught everyone off guard by making the playoffs in the first year of the Tom Thibodeau era. They were a fun team to watch, a scrappy group of underdogs who played relentlessly hard on defense. The Knicks fell to the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, but the season was an undeniable success. New York returned most of last year’s group, adding Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier while losing Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock. Thibodeau caught everybody by surprise last year, now will he be able to follow it up in his sophomore season in the Big Apple?

Toronto Raptors

Odds to win division: +5000
Win total: 35.5

While the Knicks were one of the league’s most pleasant surprises, the Raptors were one of the league’s biggest disappointments. It looked like a consistent winning culture had been established in Toronto even after Kawhi Leonard left, and then they completely fell apart last year. To be fair, they had a lot of bad injury luck. The Raptors will enter a new era of basketball this season, as long-time team leader Kyle Lowry departed to go to the Heat. Toronto used the fourth overall pick on Scottie Barnes, who they’re hoping can be an immediate contributor. They also added Goran Dragic to help replace Lowry as the veteran point guard.

Atlantic division best bet: Raptors over 35.5 wins

Despite the sudden regression, there are reasons for optimism in Toronto this season. There’s not too much of a drop-off from Lowry to Dragic at this stage of their careers. They were bit by the injury bug last year and just about every single one of their starters missed 20+ games. Getting a full season out of Gary Trent Jr will be great after they traded for him late last year. And Barnes by all accounts has star potential. With Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and more, there’s still a lot of talent here. They’re going to surprise some people, just like the Knicks did last year.

Atlantic division winner: Brooklyn Nets

I’m not rushing to bet the Nets at -280, but I don’t see anybody else winning the division either. The 76ers are going to be a bit of a mess with their current situation, and I’m not expecting the Celtics to suddenly soar to the top without Stevens. People forget that Simmons played at a really high level last regular season, and if they trade him or he doesn’t play it’s really going to hurt. New York overachieved last season and even though I’m bullish on Toronto, they likely aren’t going to push Brooklyn. The Nets could easily win the division even if Irving doesn’t play a game for them this season. They should be borderline unstoppable if they stay healthy.

2021-22 NBA season preview

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