Door to the Eastern Conference left wide open for the Bulls

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The monarchy that has ruled the NBA’s Eastern Conference has been abolished, with the King taking up new surroundings for the 2014/15 season.

LeBron “King” James disbanded his All-Star three-piece setup with the Miami Heat this offseason to form a new diamond-encrusted alliance with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving at his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

That move has altered the face of the Conference’s outright betting, as we explain below:

Cleveland Cavaliers @ 11/10

The first year of James’ Heat empire ended in a disappointing Finals defeat, while the LA Lakers quartet of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard scraped into the 2012/13 playoffs before bombing in the first round in their only season together.

On the basis that much of the Super Cavs’ first season together will be a fact-finding mission, avoid their skinny price.

Chicago Bulls @ 3/1

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has a growing reputation as a regular-season specialist having led his side to the best record in the East twice in his four seasons in charge, but only reaching the Conference Finals once.

With Derrick Rose back healthy for the first time since that last deep playoff run, this could be the Bulls’ year.

Miami Heat @ 10/1

It’s simple. The Heat won’t win a fifth straight Eastern Conference title because Chris Bosh is their new leader.

The last time he was a side’s go-to guy, in Toronto, they only made the playoffs twice in his his seven seasons there and lost both times in the first round.

Washington Wizards @ 10/1

The Wizards were a revelation in the playoffs last season, beating the Bulls in the first round before giving the Indiana Pacers a fright in the 4-2 semi-finals defeat.

With their young guns, John Wall and Bradley Beal supplementing the experience of Paul Pierce, Nene and Marcin Gortat, they can continue to surprise this year.

New York Knicks @ 18/1

The general thinking that the East is a weak conference is embodied by the Knicks’ lofty standing in the betting.

With a new coach, learning a new system and only the enigmatic Carmelo Anthony to rely on, the Knicks’ price is far too slim.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.