The Milwaukee Bucks are on a 16-game winning streak and the Boston Celtics continue to play well as the race for the No. 1 Eastern Conference picks up steam.
As the calendar switches to March, the Bucks sit at the top of the conference standings with an overall record of 45-17. They haven’t lost a game since Jan. 21, when they lost 114-102 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Celtics, who had an impressive winning streak of their own earlier in the year, are second in the East with a 45-18 aggregate record. Boston is 8-2 in their last 10 games and waiting for Milwaukee to slip while they are 0.5 games behind.
Despite all of this, the futures market remains the same, with the Celtics considered the betting favorite in the NBA. Odds makers still believe that the team that failed in last year’s NBA Finals is the team to bet on. Boston has a price of +310 to win the championship at Caesars Sportsbook. The Phoenix Suns (+450), Bucks (+475), Denver Nuggets (+700) and Los Angeles Clippers (+950) are the only other teams listed below 10/1 in this market.
Boston also has the best chance of winning the East with a +130 offer at Caesars. The Bucks could top the table, but the oddsmakers have a +185 to win the conference for the second time in three years. The Philadelphia 76ers have +475 to win the East while the Cleveland Cavaliers come in at +950.
Elsewhere in the futures market, Boston point guard Malcolm Brogden is the favorite to be named sixth NBA Man of the Year with a price tag of -230 in the market. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla is also second in the running for Coach of the Year at +175, trailing only the Sacramento Kings’ Mike Brown and his -115 odds.
The Celtics can bolster their standing in these futures markets with a strong weekend of two nationally televised matchups. Boston will welcome the Brooklyn Nets to the city on Friday before hosting the New York Knicks on Sunday. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN.
Boston opened as a 10.5-point favorite over Brooklyn at Caesars. The Celtics are 32-29 against the spread this season, including 18-14 ATS when playing at home. They’ve only covered two spreads in their last five games, one of which was played as a 12-point favorite against the Detroit Pistons.
While we don’t yet know the range for Sunday’s game, Boston’s home game against New York on Jan. 26 was -8.5. The Knicks eventually won that game in a 120-117 overtime win, and they’ve been playing better lately, so chances are the number will be a bit different next Sunday.