Only the Milwaukee Bucks have shorter odds to come out of the Eastern Conference than the Sixers. That’s what happens when the best player from the team that won it last season (Kawhi Leonard) bolts to Los Angeles.
The Bucks are 3-2 to win the East, the Sixers are a shade over 2-1 according to FanDuel’s numbers from this past week. The precise odds are Milwaukee +150, the Sixers +220.
Of course, the odds to win the NBA title are higher, with the Bucks at +600, the Sixers at +750. Kawhi’s Clippers are +330, while LeBron’s Lakers are +440 to lead the favorites.
The odds are the payouts for winning wagers for every $100 bet. Bet $10 on the Sixers to win the East (at +220) and collect $22 if they do so.
But the betting numbers are just for context. Here’s our list of the top contenders to come out of the East.
Over/under wins: 57.5
Last year: 60-22, lost to Toronto in conference finals
Returning nucleus: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe
Biggest additions: Wesley Matthews (Indiana), Kyle Korver (Utah), Robin Lopez (Chicago)
Biggest loss: Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana)
Offseason headache: Not being able to afford Brogdon, a restricted free agent who was signed and traded to Indiana for a protected first-rounder and two seconds.
You oughta know: They extended Middleton (5 years, $178 million) and kept Brook Lopez (4 years, $52 mil). … Former Villanova star Donte DiVincenzo is fully healthy after playing just 27 games in his rookie season. … Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP, is one of five Bucks who played for their national teams at this summer’s World Cup. He’s in line for a super max contract by next summer. … They signed Thanasis Antetokounmpo, you-know-who’s older brother. With Brook and Robin Lopez, the Bucks have two sets of brothers.
Home vs. Sixers: Feb. 6, Feb. 22. Playing at Philly: Dec. 25 April 7.
Over/under wins: 54.5
Last year: 51-31, were bounced, bounced, bounced, bounced by Toronto in second round
Returning nucleus: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris
Biggest additions: Al Horford (Boston), Josh Richardson (Miami), Matisse Thybulle (20th pick via trade from Boston)
Biggest losses: Jimmy Butler (Miami), JJ Redick (New Orleans), T.J. McConnell (Indiana)
Offseason headache: Reserve forward Mike Scott got into a scuffle with Eagles fans. While he admitted he should have just walked away, it sounds as if he would have been justified knocking somebody out.
» FROM THE ARCHIVES: Mike Scott reflects on incident at the Linc
You oughta know: Simmons, 0-for-17 in his career from behind the arc, hit a three-pointer in a preseason game setting off a wild celebration among teammates and fans. … Thybulle’s defensive prowess has earned him a spot in the rotation. … They will miss Redick’s shooting and leadership, but he was a defensive liability. Richardson, 26, is nine years younger than Redick and makes $3.4 million less.
Over/under wins: 44.5
Last year: 42-40, lost to Sixers in first round
Returning nucleus: Caris LeVert, Joe Harris
Biggest additions: Kyrie Irving (Boston), DeAndre Jordan (New York), Taurean Prince (Atlanta), Nic Claxton (31st pick), Kevin Durant (Golden State, injured)
Biggest losses: D’Angelo Russell (Golden State), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Toronto), Allen Crabbe (Atlanta), DeMarre Carroll (San Antonio).
Offseason headache: New owner Joe Tsai, co-founder of the behemoth Chinese company Alibaba and a resident of Hong Kong, was not a real big fan of Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet heard 'round the world.
You oughta know: All eyes are on how Irving will blend with a team on the rise. Especially interesting will be how coach Kenny Atkinson uses point guards Irving, Levert and Spencer Dinwiddie. Levert was the Nets’ best player in that playoff loss to the Sixers. … Power forward Rodions Kurucs was charged with assault in September in an alleged domestic violence incident. … The Nets are operating as if Kevin Durant (ruptured Achilles) will miss the entire season.
Home vs. Sixers: Dec. 15, Jan. 20. Playing at Philly: Jan. 15, Feb. 20
Over/under wins: 46.5
Last year: 48-34, lost to Boston in first round
Returning nucleus: Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis
Biggest additions: Malcolm Brogdon (Milwaukee), T.J. Warren (Phoenix), Jeremy Lamb (Charlotte),
Biggest losses: Thaddeus Young (Chicago), Bogan Bogdanovic (Utah).
Offseason headache: Reliable point guard Darren Collison, 32, retired suddenly before hitting free agency. “I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry,” said Collison, a Jehovah’s Witness. “The joy I feel is unmatched." Good for him.
You oughta know: They likely won’t see star Victor Oladipo for the first few months as he continues to make his way back from last season’s nasty knee injury. … Warren, a natural scorer, is with a winning team for the first time in his career. He spent five seasons with Phoenix, never playing more than 66 games. … Also new is former Sixer T.J. McConnell. Throw in 2017 draft pick T.J. Leaf, and coach Nate McMillan has three guys named T.J. on his roster.
Home vs. Sixers: Dec. 31, Jan. 13. Playing at Philly: Nov. 30, March 14
Over/under wins: 48.5
Last year: 49-33, lost to Milwaukee in second round
Returning nucleus: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward
Biggest additions: Kemba Walker (Charlotte), Enes Kanter (Portland), Romeo Langford (14th pick)
Biggest losses: Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn), Al Horford (Sixers), Marcus Morris (New York), Terry Rozier (Charlotte), Aron Baynes (Phoenix)
Offseason headache: Watching three of their best players -- Horford, Irving and Morris -- bolt for division rivals.
You oughta know: Team defense took a hit with the loss of Horford, Baynes, and Rozier. … They added a star with Walker and let a headache go with Irving. … Kanter has been labeled a “terrorist” by the Turkish government because of his criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Constant pressure by Turkish consulates …has so far failed to stifle my dissent,” he wrote in a fascinating Boston Globe op-ed earlier this month. “As they increase the pressure, I raise my voice. I won’t be deterred. They’re wasting their time.”
Home vs. Sixers: Dec. 12, Feb. 1. Playing at Philly: Oct. 23, Jan. 9.
Over/under wins: 46.5
Last year: 58-24, won NBA title
Returning nucleus: Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet
Biggest additions: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Brooklyn), Matt Thomas (Spain)
Biggest losses: Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers), Danny Green (L.A. Lakers)
Offseason headache: Will general manager Masai Ujiri be charged for shoving an Alameda police officer at the end of Game 6 in June when the Raptors clinched the title in Oakland?
You oughta know: The Raptors are hoping Siakam can grow even more with the departure of Leonard, who was 10th in the league with 18.8 shots per game. Siakam, 25, was the league’s most improved player last season and was recently given a 4-year extension reportedly worth $130 million. … Lowry got a one-year extension (for $31 million) and will not be a free agent next season. Lowry, 33, dealt with a thumb injury during preseason but seems OK.
Home vs. Sixers: Nov. 25, Jan. 22. Playing at Philly: Dec. 8, March 18.