NBA 2022-23 Division Winners Predictions

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After a tumultuous start of October and the NBA preseason in full effect, we are just a week away from tip-off in the NBA regular season. The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics start us off next Tuesday, but before focusing on that game I think it’s time for us to take a deep dive into each NBA Division and try to predict who will finish with the best record in each of them. Along with these NBA division predictions, don’t forget to also check out all of our NBA analysis for the 2022-2023 season.

Let’s take a closer look at my favorite plays for each NBA division.

Atlantic Division

Philadelphia 76ers (+300)

The Atlantic Division is one of the more unpredictable ones as it features 3 teams that are all capable of topping the Eastern Conference standings this season. There are multiple reasons why I opted for the 76ers here. James Harden has taken a significant pay-cut for Philadelphia to acquire more talent this offseason and they did just that with the addition of experienced defender P.J. Tucker as well as Montrezl Harrell who will be a solid back-up to Joel Embiid. Tyrese Maxey is expected to take another leap in his development, he has proven to be a really solid 3rd scoring option behind Embiid and Harden. This team is built to win a ton of regular season games, if all things align between their two best players and they are able to stay injury free I think the 76ers are a really solid bet to win the Atlantic Division this season.

Other notable teams: Boston Celtics (+140), Brooklyn Nets (+220)

Central Division

Milwaukee Bucks (-240)

it’s really hard to look past Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the Central Division. Having topper the division 4 years in a row dating back to the 2018-19 season, the Bucks are in prime position to do so once again as they try to recover from a disappointing campaign last season when they won just 51 of 82 regular season games. That was their lowest win percentage over the last 4 seasons, but it was also understandable as they were just coming off an NBA Championship which took a toll on them physically. Now, with a fresh perspective and a full summer to think about how they were eliminated by Boston in the conference semi-finals, I think the Bucks will come back with a vengeance. Without the injured Khris Middleton it was hard for Milwaukee, they were able to push the Celtics to 7 games, but in the end they just lacked the offensive ability to compete down the stretch. With a fully recovered Middleton and a motivated Giannis, I think this team has the potential to once again go all the way. Even if the Cleveland Cavaliers made some really good moves this offseason, I still have to see them do well before I make any bets on them to win the division. Go with Milwaukee to top the Central Division.

Other notable teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (+350), Chicago Bulls (+600)

Northwest Division

Minnesota Timberwolves (+140)

The popular pick among many NBA analysts for the Northwest division seem to be the Denver Nuggets, but I am not so quick to appoint them kings of the Northwest just yet. Sure, getting back Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray will be a major boost for them, but I still have questions surrounding their chemistry after those two have been out for so long. Minnesota, on the other hand, doesn’t have such issues and they were pretty solid in last season’s playoffs. They made a huge move this offseason by adding defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert, his inside presence will do wonders for their defensive rating which ranked only 13th last regular season. Anthony Edwards is looking to make a huge leap into stardom, this could be the year. All in all, backing Minnesota at +140 to win the division sounds like a solid bet in my opinion.

Other notable teams: Denver Nuggets (-160)

Pacific Division

Phoenix Suns (+225)

Although the Suns have gone through a somewhat turbulent offseason and rumors are increasing regarding the status of Jae Crowder who has often been described as disgruntled, I still think Phoenix is the team to beat, at least during the regular season. They’ve won the division in back-to-back seasons after a 51-21 record in 2020-21 and an NBA-best 64 wins and just 18 losses last year. That didn’t result in an NBA championship though, but make no mistake about it – a team featuring the likes of Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton will come back even stronger this season. Head coach Monty Williams is known for taking each game of the season seriously and I do not expect this team to take their foot off the gas pedal any time soon. Sure the Warriors and Clippers will be a threat, but both of those teams have their own issues to sort, while the Suns are a well-oiled machine that has been made to win as many regular season games as possible. At +225 odds they are a really solid bet to win the Pacific Division.

Other notable teams: Golden State Warriors (+190), LA Clippers (+195)

Southeast Division

Miami Heat (-165)

By all accounts the Southeast Division should be a two-horse race between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. On paper, I fancy the Heat over them simply because we are yet to see if the duo of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray can work well long term. Miami did make it to the Eastern Conference finals last season, but to be honest I do not see them repeating that this season. They were pretty lucky to get there as they had a favorable match-up in the 1st round, plus Joel Embiid missed a few games with injury in the semi-final series. They didn’t make significant improvements this season, Jimmy Butler is a year older and it remains to be seen how many games he will miss during the regular season. I still think this team has home-court advantage potential in the East, so they should definitely finish above the Hawks and win the Southeast Division.

Other notable teams: Atlanta Hawks (+145)

Southwest Division

New Orleans Pelicans (+400)

I know what you’re thinking, why would anyone back the New Orleans Pelicans to win a division in which they are facing the likes of Memphis and Dallas? Well, the answer to that question is value. The Grizzlies and Mavericks are priced at +110 and +135 respectively to win the division, while the Pelicans are at a tasty +400 which is a really solid value for a team as stacked as theirs. They just recently extended the contract of veteran guard C.J. McCollum who has played really well since his arrival from Portland. Zion Williamson also got a hefty extension this offseason and he is finally entering an NBA season fully healthy and without weight issues which is also encouraging if you are a Pelicans fan. Together with a scorer like Brandon Ingram, I think New Orleans has a lot of potential moving forward and with a couple of more additions here and there they could very well challenge for the Southwest Division as early as this season.

Other notable teams: Memphis Grizzlies (+110), Dallas Mavericks (+135)

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