If you ask the oddsmakers, good things will come to Boston Celtics fans who wait.
The Celtics enter 2019 in fifth place in the NBA's Eastern Conference with a 21-15 record and don't exactly look like title contenders right now. According to OddsShark, though, they're the second favorite to win the East at +240 odds, behind only the Toronto Raptors.
Updated odds to win the NBA Eastern Conference (@BovadaOfficial):— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) January 2, 2019
The Milwaukee Bucks currently lead the East with an NBA-best 26-10 record, five and a half games ahead of Boston. But they have the same odds to win the East as the Philadelphia 76ers, who also are a game up on the Celtics as of Wednesday.
Oddsmakers also aren't paying much respect to the Indiana Pacers, who boast the NBA's fourth-best record but are a distant 16/1 to win the East.
Odds don't always match up with team records, though, and the Celtics are case in point. The C's struggled to find their stride in 2018 as Gordon Hayward tried to shake off a year of rust and players like Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier adapted to reduced roles. They've also dealt with frontcourt injuries to Aron Baynes, Al Horford and Robert Williams that have hurt them against more physical teams.
Yet Boston arguably has the strongest roster in East when healthy (outside Toronto, perhaps), and if Hayward continues to improve in the second half, Brad Stevens' club will be expected to make a deep postseason run.
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