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NBA Southeast Division Winner Odds and Preview

| March 29, 2019 12:00 am PDT
Prediction

Most of the playoff berths in this year’s NBA season have been decided, but there are still three teams who have everything to play for in the Eastern Conference.

The Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, and Charlotte Hornets are not only contesting the top Southeast division seed but are also going for the last available postseason spot.

It has been a very tense and exciting skirmish between these three, and it will probably go down to the wire. The Magic have recently increased their chances by going into a hot winning streak but haven’t been able to pull away enough to discourage their opponents.

There’s still some time left for the Hornets and Heat to show they have a place in the playoffs. The last stretch of games promises to be explosive, so I believe now is the perfect time to assess the teams’ chances of finishing in the top eight and winning the division.

NBA Southeast Division Winner Odds and Prediction

Let’s first take a look at the current standings and the odds the best NBA betting sites are offering. I’ll then go into further details about the teams and what we can expect from them in the remaining games.

Odds

Orlando Magic+125
Miami Heat+175
Charlotte Hornets+225

Standings

Team Won Lost
Miami Heat 37 38
Orlando Magic 37 39
Charlotte Hornets 35 39

Orlando Magic

The Magic haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2012. In fact, their last meaningful contribution to the postseason was reaching the Eastern Conference Finals the year before when Dwight Howard and Vince Carter were on the team.

However, this year they are on course to have the best regular season in an 82-game format in quite a while. Their current record stands at 37-39, and they still have six matches left to play. Every single one of these matches will be crucial, so let’s look at the games they have in front of them.

Home court games:

  • vs. New York Knicks
  • vs. Atlanta Hawks

On the road:

  • vs. Indiana Pacers
  • vs. Toronto Raptors
  • vs. Boston Celtics
  • vs. Charlotte Hornets

I don’t think the team will have problems clinching their last two remaining home court games. The Knicks and Hawks have packed it in for the season and will be looking ahead to the draft and free agency.

If Orlando is serious about catching the train for the playoffs, these two matches are a must.

The big issue is that even if they wrap up their home games, their away schedule looks very tough. They will be going to three of the top Eastern teams that will be seeking to better their positions right until the end of the regular season.

If the Magic can hang on, the scene is set for a grand final battle with the Hornets. This may well prove to be a playoff spot decider. So, who will be the main figures to carry the team over the line?

Well, looking at the stats, one man definitely stands out. Nikola Vucevic is leading the team in steals, rebounds, and points scored. He is among the most-improved players in the NBA this season, and his performances are one of the main things that made Orlando competitive this year.

Vucevic even won a place at the All-Star game, but we also have to give credit to some of the other players who have been solid throughout.

Evan Fournier has been immense on the defensive end and is probably the team’s hardest-working player. Aaron Gordon has been of great help to Vucevic by averaging 33.7 minutes and 15.9 points per game.

D.J. Augustin has been pulling the strings from the backcourt, and the Magic have relied heavily on shooter Terrence Ross from the bench. Even Mo Bamba, who is considered a flop by many, has put up some good numbers in blocks and rebounds.

The team has remained relatively healthy and will be hoping that continues for the final stretch. Coach Steve Clifford has definitely got something going, and I would love for his efforts to be rewarded with a playoff berth at the end.

Miami Heat

After missing most of the season, Goran Dragic came back for the Heat, and it was expected that the team would pick up their form. It largely went down according to plan as the team was able to win against top opposition like the Spurs and Thunder in March.

They also managed to beat the Pistons and Hornets, which was huge since both teams are contesting the last playoff places in the East.

However, the Heat was cooled off by another direct rival in Orlando Magic by losing their home court game 99-104 and allowing their opponent to leapfrog them for the time being. Miami is still very much in this race after dealing with the Mavericks, but the Orlando loss could prove crucial in the end.

Let’s look at what D-Wade and company have up against them for their final stretch.

Home court games:

  • vs. Boston Celtics
  • vs. Philadelphia 76ers

On the road:

  • vs.New York Knicks
  • vs.Boston Celtics
  • vs.Minnesota Timberwolves
  • vs.Toronto Raptors
  • vs.Brooklyn Nets

Looking at the remaining matches, I think one thing is certain. The Heat will probably not be able to match last season’s record since they have to win every single one of these matchups. Their home court games look very tough, but the team will have to take something away from those for sure.

The obvious hurdle here is that they will have to play five more games on the road. The good news is that the team has actually been better away from home this season. They have won 19 games on the road, whereas the Magic have 14, and Charlotte has only 11.

Of course, the obvious ones that Miami desperately needs to clinch are against the Knicks and T-Wolves. Both teams are out of the picture and should not pose a significant threat. However, all other games are serious tests.

So, let’s look at the Heat’s main performers this season and the ones they will look to for the remaining games. Obviously, we have to start with Dwyane Wade. A player we thought would be a talisman on the bench has been among the best players for the team this season.

He has played in 65 games and is averaging 25.7 minutes in those and is the team’s second-highest scorer. Clearly, D-Wade has something left in the tank, and he will be desperate to end his final season in the NBA on a high.

The help will mostly come from Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside. Richardson has been ever-present; he’s averaging 35 minutes in 72 games and holds a 16.7 points per game record. Whiteside may have been criticized for some stretches of the season, but the guy is still delivering solid numbers.

He’s averaging 11.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game and is always an offensive threat in the paint. With Goran Dragic back in the point guard position, the Heat will be hoping they have the necessary ingredients to make a final push.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets started the season well but expectedly ran out of steam. They’re still in with a realistic chance to clinch the division and the last playoff spot, but they have a lot of work to do. Clearly, the team will be able to improve on their record from the past two years. They only managed to win 36 games in 2017 and 2018 and are currently on 35.

Needless to say, there is only one man responsible for putting them near the playoffs, and that’s Kemba Walker. The All-Star guard is undoubtedly one of the elites in the NBA. You just need a quick look at the Hornets’ stat sheet to see Walker’s dominance across the court.

He is the team’s leader in minutes, points, steals, and assists. Simply put, if it wasn’t for Kemba Walker, Charlotte would be nestling somewhere close to the Knicks. This has been superbly highlighted during last week’s games.

The Hornets won four impressive wins which have helped their chances tremendously. First, they saw off the T-Wolves and Celtics in their home arena. Walker scored 67 points in those two.

What followed, however, was even more impressive.

The team went to Toronto having won only 10 games on the road all season. They put up a great fight, but it looked like the Raptors would be able to hold on. Then came Jeremy Lamb’s moment. The guard took the ball with a few seconds left and hit a 48-foot buzzer-beater to win the game 115-114.

It was the Spurs’ turn next. Charlotte hung on and forced the game into overtime and then clinched it by 9 points. Walker was again head and shoulders above the rest. He nearly posted a triple-double, finishing with 9 rebounds, 11 assists, and 38 points.

Now the question is whether the Hornets’ fairytale will continue. Let’s look at their remaining eight games and try to figure it out.

Home court games:

  • vs. Toronto Raptors
  • vs. Orlando Magic

On the road:

  • vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  • vs. Golden State Warriors
  • vs. Utah Jazz
  • vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • vs. Detroit Pistons
  • vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
  • vs. Orlando Magic

As I already pointed out, the Hornets haven’t been great on the road. In fact, they have the worst record of any team that is contesting a playoff spot. This alone makes it hard for the team to be considered the best bet here.

As much as I would like to see their amazing streak continue, they will probably have to win at least five of their remaining games, and I can’t really see that happening.

NBA Southeast Division Winner Betting Pick

Taking everything into account, I feel the Magic have the best chance here. It would be fitting for D-Wade to catch the playoffs one last time, but it’s going to be very hard for them in the remaining games.

They might have experience on their side, but Orlando is a far more balanced team, and their energy levels are higher. Furthermore, they have been very good at home, and their remaining games there are very winnable.

When it comes to the Hornets, I don’t believe they can keep going. They need to overcome a two-game deficit, and the six games on the road they still have to play will prove a bit too much in my view.

Even if the odds are not great, the most realistic Southeast Division winner is the Orlando Magic, so I’m going to go with them here.

PICKOrlando Magic to Win the Southeast Division+125

Final Words

Whatever happens until the end, it’s bound to be a thrilling finish in this section of the Eastern Conference. I think it’s the perfect time to back the Magic here since I expect the odds will only get shorter in the next few days.

Let me know if you agree with my assessment or if you think I’ve left something out. I’m always happy to debate my NBA picks, so make sure you leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Here’s to a great ending of the regular season, and let’s hope we can make some money out of it all!

Elias Wagner

Elias Wagner has been a soccer fan since he was a young boy. He still has a huge passion for the sport itself as well as betting on it and writing about it.

Outside of soccer, Elias also enjoys other sports including basketball, tennis, and snooker. He's been writing for GamblingSites.com since 2018.

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