For what the NBA’s Southeast Division lacks in high-end teams, it could make up for in competitiveness in 2019-20. It is hard to imagine anyone from this division making a true run at a championship this season, as there is a distinct lack of superstars. However, the oddsmakers believe three different teams have a legitimate shot at clinching the division crown at the end of the year. The Miami Heat has been labeled as the favorite, with the Orlando Magic the main contender and the Atlanta Hawks lurking. This could be a lucrative NBA futures wager for bettors who can correctly diagnose which team will rise to the top.
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- Miami Heat -137
- Orlando Magic +178
- Atlanta Hawks +514
- Washington Wizards +9500
- Charlotte Hornets +18500
Southeast Division Odds Analysis
The Heat hasn’t been a juggernaut since LeBron James left, but at least it has remained competitive. There is a lot of optimism heading into the year after Jimmy Butler was added to make the roster formidable. He will join a group that already includes talented guard Goran Dragic, forward Justise Winslow and guard Dion Waiters. The Heat also brought in Meyers Leonard, who is a nice frontcourt piece that has to help fill the void of losing Hassan Whiteside. There are persistent rumors that the Heat could land Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul in a trade. If that happens, the team’s odds of winning the Central will increase.
The Orlando Magic look like they are on the upswing after qualifying for the NBA playoffs last season. Nikola Vucevic has emerged as one of the better players in the division while Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and D.J. Augustin are other nice pieces. Orlando added Markelle Fultz and is hoping the former No. 1 overall pick in the draft can shake off a horrid start to his career and somehow find a way to live up to his vast potential. If that happens, Orland would absolutely be in contention to win the Central, and even if it doesn’t, this team has a nice core that could take a step forward.
The Hawks had some nice moments a season ago and are hoping to find a way into contention for the division crown. Top-5 pick Trae Young lived up to the hype as a rookie, playing particularly well down the stretch. He will lead the way but needs some help if this team is to truly stick with the Heat and Magic. Chandler Parsons and Evan Turner are a pair of veterans who should help, while rookie De’Andre Hunter is aiming to have a quick impact.
It’s doubtful the other two teams in the Central have any shot of winning it. The Washington Wizards still have Bradley Beal, but he has little help because John Wall is expected to miss this season due to injury. The Charlotte Hornets allowed Kemba Walker to leave in free agency, signaling a complete rebuild that could lead to one of the worst records in the NBA this year.
The Miami Heat has the best roster on paper, and if Paul comes in, that will be a big boost to their hopes of winning the Central. However, the Magic showed some nice things a year ago and have basically everyone of consequence returning. There is something to be said for that type of continuity. Orlando doesn’t have the same big names or the prestige of the Heat, but it would not be a surprise to see the Magic come away with the Central Division crown. As slight underdogs, they are the correct pick in the NBA futures odds.
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