Vegas likes Knicks over Wizards In East title chase

Vegas likes Knicks over Wizards In East title chase
February 4, 2014, 1:00 pm
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(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

The Wizards, currently fifth in the Eastern Conference, have finally, finally climb over Mt. .500 and into winning record territory. Of course, that franchise milestone means little or rather nothing to Las Vegas oddsmakers who set odds on winning an NBA Championship, the Eastern Conference crown or the division title.

Let's start local with the Southeast Division odds. Oh, what's that Bovada.LV, you no longer post Southeast Division odds? Apparently not, which is fine. The Miami Heat are awesome, yada, yada. 

Next, the Eastern Conference. First, here's the entire list:

Miami Heat 5/7
Indiana Pacers 5/4
Brooklyn Nets 16/1
Chicago Bulls 28/1
New York Knicks 28/1
Toronto Raptors 33/1
Atlanta Hawks 50/1
Washington Wizards 50/1
Detroit Pistons 75/1
Cleveland Cavaliers 100/1
Boston Celtics 150/1
Charlotte Bobcats 200/1
Philadelphia 76ers 200/1
Orlando Magic 500/1

Perhaps the oddsmakers are excited about Billy Joel's upcoming tour or extended stay at Madison Square Garden because based on these odds they're clearly in a New York State of Mind. Look, the center-less Nets are on something of a roll lately and are now seventh in the Eastern standings. With the big names on their roster and the weakness in the conference behind Miami and Indiana, someone has to be third. Make that team the one with Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Andray Blatche, sure, I get it.

But the Knicks are also ahead of Washington despite being 5.5 games behind the Wizards. Not that the Carmelo's can't make up that ground over the final 40-plus games. It's just that outside of the occasional scoring outburst from Mr. Anthony they've shown little reason to believe a big run is coming. 

The Bulls, who already traded Luol Deng, might also be a touch high on this list if rumors of additional salary dumps prove legit. Then again Tom Thibodeau will coach this team up no matter the viability of the personnel.

As for the NBA Championship odds, the Wizards are 100-1, tied for 17th among the 30 NBA teams along with the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets. Behind Washington, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Let that sink in for a second.

Looking at the favorites, the Heat are 12-5 followed by the Pacers (11-4), Oklahoma City Thunder (15-4) and San Antonio Spurs (10-1). The Wizards have wins over two of those three teams this season and can make it a hat trick Wednesday night when the Spurs visit town.