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NBA Southeast Division Odds | Preview

2009-10 Southeast Division lines/NBA Preview

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NFL betting is pretty depressing for Washington fans right now, but maybe, just maybe the NBA could yield a nice surprise for D.C. this season. The Wizards are a sleeper in a top-heavy Southeast Division. Let’s have a look at the futures for the young 2009-10 season.

ORLANDO MAGIC
Odds to win Southeast Division: -303

“The Strong get stronger” was the theme of the offseason and the Magic embodied that truth. They lost sharpshooter Hedo Turkoglu but more than made up for his departure by acquiring the more versatile Vince Carter. He’ll add slashing ability to a team that already had shooting ability to spare last season. How deep are the Magic? They played a decent Toronto Raptors team Sunday without Rashard Lewis (suspension) and Carter (ankle injury) – -and still won. Dwight Howard is the standard for big men today, a blocking and rebounding machine who can chip in plenty of offense too and simply dominate a game. Toss in Jameer Nelson in the backcourt and the odd hot-shooting effort off the bench from J.J. Reddick and you have a team as good as any in the East.

ATLANTA HAWKS
Odds to win Southeast Division: +550

Balance is the name of the game for the Hawks, a competitive but not elite group that spreads the ball around. Joe Johnson is the unquestioned main source of offense for the Hawks but Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jamal Crawford and primary ball carrier Mike Bibby can all chip in on any given night. The Hawks’ Achilles Heel shows why they’re a long shot to win the Southeast: playing elite competition. Cleveland mopped the floor with them last year 4-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinal and the Lakers already crushed them this season. Josh Smith will have to step up his play against other elite forwards if the Hawks are to make any kind of progress this year. Online betting fans should expect a stagnant season.

MIAMI HEAT
Odds to win Southeast Division: +700

The Heat can at least answer Orlando’s big star power with Dwayne Wade to match Dwight Howard, but depth remains a concern for Miami. Quentin Richardson can bring some offense but he lacks height at small forward; in fact, the Heat starters in general have some toughness issues. Michael Beasley is a solid rebounder and Jermaine O’Neal is still a powerful presence when he plays, but O’Neal can’t take punishment. Three games into the season, he’s already suffered his first injury of the year: a broken nose. It’s tough to imagine the Heat improving on last year, as they just don’t have the overall talent to match Orlando.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Odds to win the Southeast Division: +700

Is it really that crazy to wonder if the Wizards can leapfrog the Hawks and Heat? Stranger things have happened – look at how Mine That Bird turned every racebook on its head at the Kentucky Derby. The Wizards have plenty going for them: a solid coach in Flip Saunders; an elite scorer if Gilbert Arenas stays healthy plus another big point contributor in Caron Butler; potentially powerful post presences if Antawn Jamison bounces back from his shoulder injury and Brendan Haywood continues to grow; even solid secondary scoring form Andray Blatche and Randy Foye. You could argue that this is the second-deepest team in the Southeast.

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Odds to win the Southeast Division: +4000

The Bobcats seem destined for fifth in the Southeast. Even though they may be better than your average fifth-place team – there’s simply too much depth above them. They may regret dealing Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler very quickly.

2009-10 Southeast Division Pick
The Magic are clearly the sports picks to win the division so the more interesting storyline is the battle for second. I like the underrated Wizards team to surprise and make strides this season, though injuries could easily derail their season once again.

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