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If it feels like the NBA season just ended, that is because it did.

Just six weeks ago, on October 11, the league crowned a new champion, although you can be excused if you did not know: the ratings were down 37 percent from last year, and continue to sink every year as people find other things to do.

But for bettors, there will always be time for sports, and the new NBA season will start on December 22, just 10 weeks after the end of the longest season ever.

For Boston Celtics’ fans, last year must have felt like another wasted opportunity, especially when the Miami Heat knocked off top-seeded Milwaukee in the second round. After sweeping the 76ers in the first round, then knocking off the defending champion Raptors in the conference semifinals, Boston let games 1, 2, and 4 slip away, in a 4-2 series loss to Miami.

The league will be different in 2020-21: for the first thing, there should not be a huge gap towards the end due to COVID-19. Right now, the two teams that started last season as the betting favorites in the Western Conference (according to the William Hill USA), the Los Angeles Lakers (+300) and Los Angeles Clippers (+700), will start the new season in the same places on the futures wagering for the NBA title. The Clippers have dropped from second choice to fourth overall, after the moves made by teams in the East

Milwaukee, led by two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (I am not going to lie, I copy and pasted his name; it is a tough one for me to spell, and I am pretty good usually), is the Eastern favorite to win the NBA title at +500, thanks to some shrewd moves (Jrue Holiday)

Boston should have come in as the second choice in the East, but that is not the case. The Celtics have new competition in Brooklyn (+600), due in large part to the potential trades lingering over the league right now (James Harden, Aaron Gordon). But the Nets also get Kevin Durant on the court with Kyrie Irving, and have jumped ahead of the Celtics (+1300).

Defending Eastern champion Miami is +1500 to win the NBA title, showing just how wide open the East is.

Can Boston still win the East?

Maybe.

Last year, Miami won the conference from the five seed. Boston should be in the top three seeds, and could be in with a shout to get to the finals. Are the Celtics the best choice to throw your money on in the East?

Maybe not. But at +1300, why not take a flyer on Boston for a few bucks, and hope the Celtics get some breaks.

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