3 Way Race To See Who Is The Best Team In The Eastern Conference



The NBA season is winding down with most teams having 12 games or less and the Eastern Conference title race is going to come right down to the wire as the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers are only separated by three games. According to BetMGM Sportsbook, the Bucks have the best odds to win the Eastern Conference at +130 followed by the Celtics at +150, and the 76ers coming in at +500. Now that online sports betting is legal in the state, New England area fans can support the Celtics by checking out Massachusetts sportsbooks for the best offers when signing up for an account.

The three teams importantly each have one game remaining against each other this season. The trio of games will be vastly important in the Eastern Conference title race and playoff seeding. 

Outside of those two games for each team, however, the Sixers have the toughest remaining schedule this season with games against the Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, and Miami Heat left. According to Tankathon.com, the Sixers’ .551 strength of schedule is the toughest remaining across the league. 

The Boston Celtics have the ninth toughest schedule across the league, outside of their games against the Bucks and Sixers, they also have a notable matchup with Sacramento Kings remaining but overall have a manageable schedule.  Unsurprisingly with their odds to win the conference, the Bucks have the easiest schedule of the three and the 17th hardest the rest of the way with games against the Nuggets and Grizzlies remaining.

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

By their schedule remaining alone, it’s quite easy to see that the Bucks have a significant advantage over both the 76ers and Celtics. While the strength of the schedule can give us a good idea of what each team faces ahead of them, it’s not a perfect predictor either 

The 76ers currently are the hottest team in the NBA winners of eight of their last 10 games though they did suffer a tough loss on Monday night to the Chicago Bulls 109-105 in double overtime which will significantly hurt their chances of winning the Eastern Conference. That being said, Milwaukee is still leading the pace going 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Boston Celtics have struggled a bit as of late and are 5-5 in their last 10. 

Beyond the Sixers sitting three games back, the next closest team in the conference is the Cleveland Cavaliers who at 45-28 is seven games behind the Milwaukee Bucks. While the Cavaliers are all but eliminated from a chance to win the conference championship, they’ll be a tough team to beat in the playoffs as they are 29-8 at home in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. 

The exciting end of the season in the Eastern Conference is a juxtaposition of what is happening in the Western Conference as the Denver Nuggets at 48-24 are sitting comfortably in the lead of the conference, four games up with 10 games remaining on their schedule. 

The last Eastern Conference No.1 seed to win the NBA Title was the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. The Cavaliers are also the last No.1 seed out of the East to make it to the NBA Finals. Additionally, the last No.1 seed out of the Eastern Conference that wasn’t a LeBron James-led team to make the NBA Finals was the 2008 Boston Celtics. The Western Conference’s No.1 seeds have had a little bit more luck since 2008, with nine making the NBA Finals and six winning it all. 

Overall, the last few weeks of the NBA season are setting up to be a fun and furious race to the finish line, especially in the Eastern Conference title race. That being said, no matter which teams come out on top to finish the regular season, each of the Eastern Conference’s top three teams in the Celtics, Bucks, and 76ers are vying to be legitimate NBA Title contenders.

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