The second leading scorer in the NBA will not be heading to Orlando. The Washington Wizards announced that due to a right rotator cuff injury, Bradley Beal will not participate in the league’s season restart. That poses the question, who will finish as the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference?
Brooklyn Nets -265
Orlando Magic +225
Washington Wizards +4000
Back on June 30, I placed a bet that the Wizards at +1100 would finish eighth in the East. Oops. At the time, even with Davis Bertans (15.4 ppg) sidelined, I felt that Bradley Beal could lead Washington into the play-in game. With only eight games to play, Washington is 5.5 games out of the eight seed. It’s certainly not impossible for them to force a play-in game (the nine-seed must be at least four games back of the eight-seed) but once there, can Washington win two straight games without Beal and Bertans? Seems unlikely.
Are the Brooklyn Nets a good bet?
With that juice, I'm not racing to the window.
The Brooklyn Nets are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference but only ½ game ahead of the Magic. Brooklyn will be without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler, Nic Claxton, and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie’s status for the restart was up in the air until his announcement today. Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points per game and led Brooklyn with 6.8 assists per game. In 20 games this season, Kyrie Irving contributed 27.4 points per game. It’s not a big surprise that Kevin Durant will not play in Orlando. Caris LeVert is going to be asked to score a lot of points in Orlando. He did score 51 points back on March 3 against the Celtics. Just saying.
What about the current eight-seed?
The Orlando Magic are only a ½ game back of Brooklyn for the seven seed and play the Nets twice when the season restarts, including the season opener on July 31. The Magic are listed as five-point favorites for that game. With no players currently sidelined and the motivation of avoiding the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, the Magic are not a good bet to finish eighth in the Eastern Conference.
What's the play?
As Jim Carrey’s character in Dumb & Dumber, Lloyd Christmas, eloquently said, “so you’re telling me there’s a chance?" At 40-1, the Wizards would need to finish four games back of the eight spot to force a play-in game. The nine seed must win two games while the eight seed only needs to win one. Washington plays Brooklyn on August 2 and could make up some ground.
Do I actually believe the Wizards will pull this off?
Not really. But at 40-1, it’s more intriguing than laying -265 with the Nets.
*Odds courtesy of the Westgate Superbook as of July 7*