The beginning of the NBA season presents basketball bettors with oodles of great opportunities. Granted, not everyone has the patience to place wagers on futures, but these types of bets come with many advantages. One of the biggest pros of betting futures is that they are relatively easy to hedge. Of course, you don’t want to bail out too early in most cases. The season is long and a lot of things can happen.
Futures bets are also a good way for non fans and casual fans to root for a particular NBA team or player throughout the season and, if you’re lucky enough, into the playoffs. We are going to look at possible NBA champions, NBA MVPs, and some interesting season win totals. Remember, you don’t have to jump on them right away. These propositions will be available well into the season, although the odds are sure to change. So, get ‘em while they’re hot.
2019-20 NBA Title Winner
The Toronto Raptors put it all together in 2018-19 and won the franchise’s first title. This was a particularly joyous occasion for anyone who bet on them at +1850 prior to the start of the season. The Raptors were certainly long shots behind the heavily favored Golden State Warriors. This proves once again that bettors can find value in higher odds. Let’s examine some of this year’s forerunners and try to find ourselves some value plays.
Los Angeles Clippers – +367
This squad made some big moves during the off-season and, on paper, look primed to make a serious run at their first title. Going into the off-season, bookmakers set LA’s odds at +600 to win the 2019-20 championship. Then, the Clippers made a couple of moves which saw the tandem of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George added to their roster. The bookmakers reacted by shortening their NBA championship odds to +350. They are now the leading candidate at +367.
The Play: The Clippers are going to be a popular pick. However, considering the level of competition in the Western Conference, the current +367 doesn’t offer a heck of a lot of value. Even if they outshine rivals like the Lakers, Rockets, and Warriors, they will need to get past a quality Eastern Conference opponent in the finals. Take a pass on this one.
Los Angeles Lakers – +396
Before the Lakers made their splash with the acquisition of Anthony Davis, oddsmakers set the Lakers at +500 to win it all in 2020. They were as low as +200 heading into free agency. Now, the Lakers are listed at +396, which is just a shade higher than their rivals, the Clippers. This team also made some other notable additions, but you have to wonder how much of an impact the likes of Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, and Danny Green will have. The DeMarcus Cousins signing is already a wash, as he will miss the entire season with an ACL tear.
The Play: LeBron James and Anthony Davis have the potential to be the most exciting and productive duos this season. Between them, they average 53.3 points per game, 20.5 rebounds, and 12.2 assists. To win the title, those two must remain healthy. Also, guys like Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, and Danny Green need to play to their potential. The Lakers need to have a lot of things go their way. You should probably refrain from making this bet at the moment. You will likely get similar odds and a better sense of where they’re headed after the trade deadline.
Milwaukee Bucks – +633
So close, yet so far. Unable to put the eventual champions away when they had a chance, the Bucks were left with a bitter taste in their mouths and revenge on their minds. The +633 odds on Milwaukee winning the 2020 NBA title holds a lot of value. The team, led by reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, is pretty much the same as last year’s edition that won a league-leading 60 games. With the exception of having Philly in the way, this team could have one of the easiest paths to the championship series.
The Play: The Bucks have the highest projected win total going into the regular season, although the Sixers aren’t far behind. At +633, Milwaukee definitely offers a lot of value. Get ‘em now. If they start off strong, you won’t get a number this good the rest of the way.
Philadelphia 76ers – +813
Expectations are high once again in Philadelphia. The team is rife with talent. So much so that their projected season wins total is sitting at 55, which is second only to Milwaukee. Despite the perceived watering down of the Raptors and Celtics, Philly still faces stiff competition within their division and conference. Can they make it to the playoffs? You betcha!! Then, anything can happen. The +813 is beyond tempting.
The Play: Don’t risk your house or anything silly like that. Nevertheless, this team has a lot of potential and should be a top-three team in the east. A modest wager on Philly to win it all this year is in order.
Betting on season wins is one of the only ways to bet futures on bad teams. Sure, you can put a few dollars on Phoenix to win the championship at a whopping +30000, but it’s all but guaranteed to be money wasted. However, betting on them to exceed or fall short of their projected win total of 28.5 gives you a realistic shot at making money. Here are some interesting projected season win totals.
Chicago Bulls – 33.5
The Bulls are coming off a very forgettable 22-win season. It wasn’t just their SU record that stunk. Their 35-46-1 ATS record was among the worst in the league. On paper, this year’s Bulls should fare a bit better, but they still look like bottom feeders. It would be one thing if Chicago faced Cleveland every night, but they don’t. Asking for 34 wins is simply asking too much of them.
The Play: Under 33.5 wins
Utah Jazz – 54.5
The additions of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic undoubtedly makes Utah stronger than they were last year when they won an impressive 50 games. Still, only Golden State, Milwaukee, and Toronto managed to eclipse the 54.5-win mark. Winning 55 games, especially in the west, is a lot easier said than done. Even for the forerunners like the Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, and Warriors. Utah might get close, but they’ll fall short.
The Play: Under 54.5 wins
New York Knicks – 26.5
At 17-65, the Knicks were the worst team in the league in 2018-19. Yes, even worse than Cleveland, Chicago, and Phoenix. They had big ideas heading into the off-season but nothing really materialized. Expect another season of losing SU and ATS both at home and on the road. How bookmakers see them improving by 10 wins is a mystery. Lay your bet, kick back, and watch them suck again.
The Play: Under 26.5
Milwaukee Bucks – 57.5
It wasn’t just that Milwaukee won a league-best 60 games last year. It was how they did it. Their road performances were nearly as impressive as their home performances. Their 57-36-4 ATS record during the regular season and playoffs was also tops in the league. They dominated their division and their conference. Then, they stumbled in the Conference Finals and that was that. Expect another regular season of the pedal to the metal.
The Play: Over 57.5
NBA League MVP 2019-20
There are a lot of legitimate contenders to take this year’s MVP honors. At +270, Giannis Antekokounmpo is the preseason favorite. Other solid candidates include Steph Curry, James Harden, and Anthony Davis. Steph Curry won’t have the same amount of talent around him while Harden and Davis have improved their surroundings. A couple of other candidates offer value and a big potential payday too.
Russell Westbrook – +3317
Only three years removed from his one and only MVP season in which he averaged 31.6 PPG, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists, Westbrook is teaming up with 2018’s MVP, James Harden in Houston. This could very well be the most dynamic duo of 2019-20. Statistically, Westbrook is arguably a more well-rounded player than Harden who is listed at +723 to win MVP this year. Even a small bet on Westbrook could pay off huge dividends.
Joel Embiid – +1749
If the Sixers are to succeed this year, center Joel Embiid is going to play a key role. At just 25 years of age, Embiid has steadily improved over each of his first three seasons. His biggest obstacle is his health. The 64 games he played last year marked a career-high. If Philly meets expectations and Embiid stays healthy, the big man will be in the MVP conversation.
Best of luck on any futures bet you place!!