NBA Playoffs Seeding: Handicapping the Potential No. 8 Seeds Eastern Conference
by George Monroy - 3/31/2015
The Eastern Conference may be a little light on .500 teams-at the moment there are only five-but the way the playoff structure is set up, somebody from the conference has to make the playoffs no matter how bad their records are. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-seeded teams are all on course to make a postseason appearance while winning less than half of their games this season, and three sub-.500 teams would be the worst playoff output the East has produced in the last 10 years.
The bottom three teams are separated by three wins, and the race for the final playoff spot is even tighter. Boston is currently holding serve with the eighth seed, but there are three other teams within a games reach of the Celtics, and they are all hoping to make a late-season playoff push. Let's take a closer look at the playoff situation in the east and figure out who will grab the final seed in the conference. All odds come from Sportsbook.ag.
Brooklyn Nets : +15000 Eastern Conference odds: The Nets still have a massive payroll to deal with, and making the playoffs is almost mandatory for the squad. Brooklyn fans were promised the world when new ownership took over and the team made the move from New Jersey a few years ago. So far the organization has dealt with nothing but failures and a playoff appearance could be a much-needed confidence booster heading into next season. The Nets trail Boston by half a game but will face playoff-bound teams in seven of their last 10 games of the season. Do not expect Brooklyn to make the postseason.
Indiana Pacers : +7500 Eastern Conference odds: There has been talk that Paul George could return from the gruesome leg injury he suffered over the summer and play in the final few games of the season. Unfortunately for Indiana, George's presence might not change much as any playing time he would receive would be simply to get back into the feel of an NBA game. Indiana is on pace to finish the year with 35 or 36 wins, which is far more than most people predicted after the George injury, and the Pacers could grab the final playoff spot with their light schedule to close out the regular season.
Charlotte Hornets : +25000 Eastern Conference odds: Charlotte is only a game and a half out of the final playoff spot with nine games left on its schedule. The team is not rebuilding and it has the type of roster that should be in the postseason, so heading home for an early summer is a prospect Michael Jordan and the coaching staff do not look forward to. Charlotte will close off the year facing five sub-.500 teams, and the team has a chance to sneak into the postseason with an easy schedule coming up.
Boston Celtics : +1500 Eastern Conference odds: Boston has been one of the surprise teams of the season. Management is clearly rebuilding and there is no pressure on the Celtics to win many games this season, yet Brad Stevens continues to push his players and prove why he was considered a great coach at the collegiate level. Boston gutted its roster and is still on track to grab 37 or 38 wins when it should probably be a lottery team. The Celtics have won eight of 13 but still have six matchups against Milwaukee, Toronto and Cleveland left on its schedule. Holding the eighth spot in the east will be tough.
Prediction : expect Indiana to grab the final playoff spot in the east. The squad is well-coached with Frank Vogel and the helm, and it still has many key pieces from its deep postseason runs over the last three years. Indiana has been a solid ATS team, posting a 38-32-3 overall record and 20-14-2 home mark though 73 games and could be a great betting option during a first-round matchup against Atlanta.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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