NBA Futures to bet on

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Another NBA offseason has come and gone and the regular season is set to start early next week. But before it does, let me run through some of my favorite NBA futures bets for the season. Buckle up and get your wallet out.

MVP

Luka Doncic (+500)

I’m on the record as saying I think Luka Doncic is a special player with the potential to be an all-time great. And what does NBA history tell us about all-time great players? They usually have a breakthrough season where they massively exceed expectations, and it usually happens when we aren’t expecting it (i.e. LeBron 2007, Kobe 2000). There are a lot of teams challenging in the West this season, but why can’t this be a historic Luka year where the Mavs go farther than anyone thought? He’s averaging 28 pts/8 reb/8 ast over his last two seasons, and he’s only going up from here. Doncic is the favorite for MVP with a great price at +500. He’s going to win one soon, and I’ll take him at this value now.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo (+700)

I’m bearish on players winning MVP’s three years in a row. It just doesn’t happen a lot anymore because the media is always searching for a new winner. That’s why I didn’t like Giannis’ chances last year. However, winning three in four years isn’t impossible. Here’s the full list of players who have won three MVP’s in four years, without three-peating.

Bill Russell (‘62, ‘63, ‘65)

Kareem, twice (’71, ’72, ’74 and ’74, ’76, ’77)

Magic (’87, ’89, ’90)

LeBron (’09, ’10, ’12)

Look at that list! Those are four of the best six players in NBA history! And we could see Giannis join it if you he wins it again this year. He’s coming off one of the most incredible postseason performances in NBA history and a title. Much like Luka, I believe Giannis is special, and it seems to me that something clicked for him in the playoffs last year. He figured out exactly when and how to take over games, while also keeping his teammates involved at the perfect level. He’s averaging 28/12/6 over his last three seasons, and we could see something similar this year for a guy who will lead one of the top two teams in the East.

Stephen Curry (+900)

Why not? He’s 33-years-old, but it looks like he has a few more years of playing at the top level. He finished third in MVP voting last season and comes into the 2022 season with a healthier and younger team. Curry hasn’t won an MVP since 2016, and only one player in NBA history has gone 5+ seasons between MVP’s (Wilt Chamberlain 1960, 1966). He has the fifth-best odds to take home the trophy, and I like his value here.

 

Sleeper: Donovan Mitchell (+3000)

Mitchell might be worth a sprinkle at such a high price. He was the focal point of the number one seed in the West last year. The only thing holding him back is that his second best player is a liability on offense. Mitchell averaged 26/4/5 last season and his numbers have improved every year he’s been in the league. If the Jazz can be a top two seed again and Mitchell puts up better numbers than last year (let’s say, like, 28/5/6), then he should be up there in the MVP conversation. I love the value here.

 

Conference Winners

Brooklyn Nets to win the East (+150)

I hate to go chalk here, but it’s the easiest and best choice. Last season, the Nets were a Harden sore hamstring away from winning the whole thing, in my opinion. I don’t care about the Kyrie stuff; in fact, they may be better without him. I’ll take the plus money here. I’m counting on Durant and Harden to stay relatively healthy most of the year, and I know they’ll take care of business in the postseason. Barring injuries or anything weird, I expect to see them in the Eastern Conference Finals at the very least. I’ll also throw down on +250 for the Nets to win the whole thing.

 

Milwaukee Bucks to win the East (+300)

You can go ahead and pair this with the “I think Giannis is special” thing. It appears the Nets are the only thing standing in the Bucks way of getting to the Finals again, especially if Giannis can play at the level we saw towards the end of last season. If you bet Bucks and Nets, then I think there is a good chance of a matchup between the two in the Conference Finals where you win either way.

 

Atlanta Hawks to win the East (+2100)

I was really surprised by the value here. For comparison, the 76ers are +900, while the Heat are +1000, and I think the Hawks are just as good, if not better, than those two teams. People may think what happened with the Hawks in the postseason was a fluke, but this is a group of young talent that’s only going to get better. This is a really high number for a team that was a few wins away from a Finals appearance last year. At the very least, you will get a great opportunity to hedge this bet once the playoffs roll around. This is one of my favorite NBA futures this season.

Before I get to my Western Conference picks, let me just say that I am not betting the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, or Nuggets. I’m not totally sold on Westbrook helping the Lakers, or on Anthony Davis staying healthy. Kawhi should miss most of the season, so that knocks the Clippers out, the second best player on the Jazz can’t be on the court offensively, and the Nuggets will be without Jamal Murray for a while. That leaves three teams I like…

 

Golden State Warriors to win the West (+550)

This is a totally different Warriors team from a few years ago. The veterans are there (Curry, Klay, Draymond, Iguodala) along with the new breath of fresh air (Wiseman, Poole, Moody, Kuminga). It’s possible that Curry comes out on fire with a revamped Klay Thompson at his side. It should be a fun year out West for Steve Kerr and the boys. I can’t wait to watch them.

 

Phoenix Suns to win the West (+850)

Look, they did it last year. Chris Paul is ageless and one of the great leaders in NBA history. Booker gets better every year, and I really liked what I saw out of Deandre Ayton in the postseason. Behind good depth and great supporting pieces, it’s possible we see them go far again next year. They have the fifth best odds to win the conference, which is just too high for me.

 

Dallas Mavericks to win the West (+1700)

Like I said earlier, great players tend to make a huge leap when we don’t see it coming. What if Luka sets the league on fire, carries the Mavs to a top five seed, and somehow makes the Conference Finals. It would be very 2007 LeBron-esque. They have the seventh best odds in the conference, but I’m willing to take a chance. Plus, it will be fun to root for.

 

Atlanta Hawks to win the Southeast Division (+125)

I know the Heat made some good offseason moves, but I really don’t think they’re much better than the Hawks, if at all. I still expect the Hawks to be a top four seed in the East, above the Heat. Plus money here is a steal.

Thanks for reading about NBA Futures to bet on. If you liked this article, make sure to check out our constantly updated Gambling section. 

Photo: Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire

 

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