Eastern Conference playoff odds: Predictions, picks to reach NBA Finals 2024

Anything can happen in the NBA Playoffs. What seems like a clear picture of the contenders in a conference — and the NBA championship odds — can completely change five games into the first round.

Case in point: the Eastern Conference, where the odds and best bets on BetMGM have changed dramatically in just two weeks. The onus is on bettors to stay on top of the NBA odds and identify value within the fluid Eastern Conference Finals futures board.

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Remember when the 76ers were favored to beat the Knicks and the Bucks were projected to advance past the Pacers? New York opened the playoffs with +1200 odds to win the East and +4000 odds to win the NBA Finals! Indy was +2500 for the Eastern Conference Finals and +10000 to win it all!

Now both New York and Indiana sit just one win away from knocking out Philly and Milwaukee, two of the top three favorites to represent the East when NBA championship odds first opened at the start of the postseason.

WATCH: 2024 NBA Playoffs live on Sling

And anything can happen with Cleveland and Orlando, two superb defensive teams that have seesawed through the first round with home-team Ws.

Let’s take a look at BetMGM’s latest NBA championship odds, specifically diving into the Eastern Conference Finals odds, best bets, and top values.

Eastern Conference playoff odds: Predictions, picks to reach NBA Finals 2024

Team Odds
Celtics -200
Knicks +450
Pacers +1100
Cavaliers +1200
76ers +1600
Bucks +2500
Magic +8000
Heat +50000

Eastern Conference Finals winner: Best bet

Boston Celtics (-200)

The Celtics have been the best bet to come out of the East all season, so hopefully you haven’t waited until now to pull the trigger on these juiced-up odds.

Ranked in the top three in offensive and defensive rating the entire campaign, Boston is on the verge of beating the Heat despite a relatively poor series from team MVP Jayson Tatum. 

The Celtics went a collective 9-4 this season against the Knicks, Pacers, and Cavaliers, the three teams behind Boston on this board. The Celts also went 37-4 at TD Garden, so home-court advantage throughout the playoffs will be huge for them. 

Only 19 other teams in modern NBA history have gone 37-4 or better at home. Of those, 14 made it to the conference title game that year and 11 won conference championships. With the East as banged up as we’ve ever seen it in early May, it sure feels like the path to the championship is lined with green. 

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Eastern Conference Finals winner: Top value bets

Indiana Pacers (+1100)

At the onset of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, the Knicks served as Sporting News’ best value bet to win the East (+1200) and also the most intriguing of all teams on the NBA championship odds (+4000). Now New York has shortened drastically, and the Pacers have emerged as the best value on the board. 

Indiana just keeps managing to shock the NBA universe. Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner, and company blitzed the East in the Play-In Tournament, finished the season as the top scoring team in the Association, and now sits one win away from a series win over the perennial-powerhouse Bucks. 

Even if it’s a modest bet, the Pacers seem like a squad worth putting something on. They battled the Celtics well during the regular season, winning two of five head-to-head matches (the Cavs and Knicks only managed one win over Boston this season). With that in mind, Indy also makes for a fine ECF hedge.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (+2000)

The Cavaliers might be slogging through Round 1 against the Magic, but they still seem like they have better odds to make the Finals than oddsmakers appear to be giving them. Cleveland has a tremendous defense, solid rebounding, good three-point shooting, and experience. 

Donovan Mitchell, when healthy, is one of the best pure scorers in the NBA. Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are a brutal twin-tower duo for unhealthy opposing front courts to face in a best-of-seven. Max Strus demonstrated an ice-in-the-veins playoff mindset during Miami’s epic Finals run in 2023. 

The Cavs have also been a perennial thorn in Boston’s side, with Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Caris LeVert seemingly always hitting big shots against the Celts regardless of venue. Since the start of the 2022-23 season, Cleveland has actually gone 4-3 against Joe Mazzulla’s squad. 

The Cavs’ NBA championship odds have already shortened from +2000 to +1200 between the end of April and the beginning of May, so the value is diminishing seemingly by the day. Act now if you want a piece of Cleveland’s action.

Eastern Conference Finals winner: Best long shot

Milwaukee Bucks (+2500)

If Milwaukee can somehow pull off a best-of-seven win over the Pacers — and then get Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo back against the Knicks or Sixers — how can the Bucks not be viewed as a tremendous long-shot bet? Even if it’s just a lotto-ticket wager, +2500 seems too good to pass up. 

NBA playoff bracket 2024

NBA Playoffs bracket

(Sporting News Illustrations)

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