It’s King James and the Cavaliers’ world, everyone else in the Eastern Conference is just living in it on borrowed time… or so it seems in the NBA betting lines! With less than five games to go for all teams in the 2015-16 NBA regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are guaranteed to lock up the No. 1 seed in East if they can win just one of their remaining three games. The Toronto Raptors (3.5 games behind Cleveland entering Friday) are also assured of locking up the No. 2 seed in the East, considering their closest rivals are the No. 3 Atlanta Hawks, who are 5.5 games behind the Canada-based team .
Betting Look to the NBA East Conference Playoff Race
Anything Goes from No. 3 to No. 6 Seed
The Hawks, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets, placed third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Eastern Standings, are all guaranteed to make the playoffs. The problem, however, is that all these teams are separated by 1.5 games, with Atlanta sporting a 47-32 record and Charlotte having a 45-33 mark. Making matters worse, the Hawks, Celtics and Heat are similarly 7-3 in their last 10 games as we enter Friday. The Hornets aren’t far behind, either, having gone 6-4 in their last 10 outings. Too many scenarios can therefore play out here and it would be mind-numbing to start discussing them right now, so we’ll skip the scenarios (at the moment) and give our predictions later.
Race for the No. 7 and No. 8 Seeds
The Indiana Pacers (42-36 on the season, 7th in the East, 6-4 in their last 10 games and 3-0 in the last three games) look good enough to lock the 7th seed, assuming they can win at least two more games before the season.
The No. 8 seed is down to three teams, the Detroit Pistons (42-37), Chicago Bulls (39-40) and Washington Wizards (38-40), speaking from a mathematical standpoint. But then again, Detroit is three games ahead of Chicago and 3.5 games ahead of Washington, so it will take something special to unseat the Pistons from their current 8th position in the East. Yes, playing vs. Washington, vs. Miami and at Cleveland won’t be easy for Detroit, but the Pistons (7-3 in their last 10) have been pretty good down the stretch, especially at home, so they should be able to fight their way into the postseason games. Plus, the Bulls have lost 7 of their last 10 games, including three of the last four. So, even though Chicago can win out its remaining three games (vs. Cleveland, at New Orleans and Philadelphia), it’s probably too late for the Bulls to make a playoff push. For the Wizards, their magic number is one—if Detroit wins just one of its remaining three games (one of which is coincidentally against Washington this Friday), the team from the nation’s capital will be eliminated from the playoffs. Essentially, the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds should thus go to Indiana and Detroit, respectively.
Playoff Seeding Predictions
- No. 1 Cleveland
- No. 2 Toronto
- No. 3 Miami
- No. 4 Atlanta
- No. 5 Charlotte
- No. 6 Boston
- No. 7 Indiana
- No. 8 Detroit
Potential First Round Matchups
- 1 Cleveland vs. 8 Detroit
- 2 Toronto vs. 7 Indiana
- 3 Miami vs. 6 Boston
- 4 Atlanta vs. 5 Charlotte
Other than the No. 1, No. 2, No. 7 and No. 8 seeds, everything else is a mess and can change, depending on how the No.3-7 seeds play in their remaining game, so be sure to have some wiggle room in your predictions and picks for the NBA playoff seeds.