NBA Eastern Conference Standings Right Now
Here lies the NBA's current Eastern Conference standings—or as it shall henceforth be known: Proof that the Cavaliers are still the best team in the East.
Use these standings as a guide whenever you feel like betting single moneylines or building moneyline parlays. Records aren't absolute indicators of skill and overall advantages, but they give you an idea of which teams are better than others. And the whole point of moneyline palys is to suss out the team that's most likely to win outright.
Standings become more important, though, when you're betting Eastern Conference futures. They show you which teams are inside the playoff bubble, which squads will miss the postseason and which franchises are close enough to the Cavaliers, at least by their playoff seed, to be considered another Eastern Conference Finals or NBA Finals futures play.
How To Win At Eastern Conference Betting
Aside from just blindly investing in Cavaliers futures, you need to keep an eye on which teams in the Eastern Conference might, quite possibly, if they're lucky, start challenging Cleveland sometime in the near future. And while all potential threats should be considered long shots, there are a couple of teams that could deserve some futures spin of their own, alongside Cleveland, next season.
Boston Celtics: The Celtics are the exception to everything. If there is a team that can start nipping at the Cavaliers' heels soon, it's absolutely them. They are young, and fast, and efficient. And they own a ton of first-round picks, including the Brooklyn Nets' first rounder through 2018 (basically). They could feasibly add Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram to their talented core and be primed for greatness immediately. That's the luxury of having a coach like Brad Stevens: He extracts the most possible production out of every player, even newbies.
And it's not like the Celtics will be entirely reliant on NBA kiddies. They, like many other teams, have a ton of cap space to burn in 2016 and 2017. The winters in Boston are brutal—absolutely awful—but screw the climate. If you're a star free agent thinking about relocating to a team that instantly gives you a better chance at contending for a title, you'd be positively foolish not to consider the Celtics. Realistically speaking, then, Boston is one transcendent player away from being Cleveland's genuine equal.
Miami Heat: The Heat have played the Cavaliers well since LeBron's return, but they're getting older. Dwyane Wade cannot play forever, Goran Dragic is on the back end of his prime and there's no guarantee Chris Bosh plays basketball again. They might have a pair of stars in Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside, but 1) they need to re-sign Whiteside this summer, and 2) team president Pat Riley needs to add more talent via free agency to complement his current core before Miami can rival Cleveland.
Toronto Raptors: Will the Raptors keep DeMar DeRozan? Will they be able to significantly upgrade the roster in free agency this summer, whether or not they keep DeRozan? Is Norman Powell a future star? So. Many. Questions. One thing, though, is for certain: The Raptors won't make it out of the East with this current nucleus. They need to add two more high impact studs to get on the Cavaliers' level.
And that's it, hence the problem.
Funnel your sizable future plays toward Cleveland as soon as possible, unless Love and Irving somehow meander their way into the trade rumor mill. View Miami, Boston and Toronto as long shots until one or more of them makes a noticeable leap.