2020 NBA Draft Props: BetMGM Odds and Best Picks
With the NBA in the midst of full-on TRADE SZN, I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting that the 2020 NBA Draft is occurring tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 18). And since this is slated to be one of the weakest drafts in quite some time, we better have something to sweat if we are going to watch it, right?
Using odds and props from BetMGM, available to NJ, WV, IN, CO & TN residents and visitors, below you will find my best picks for the 2020 NBA Draft. These picks have nothing to do with my own evaluation of these players’ talents, as all we care about is accurately predicting what the teams are going to do. So my research consists of constantly monitoring mock drafts and listening/reading what those with the closest ties to the league (and the draft) have to say.
What makes this draft different than most in the past is the willingness of the teams at the top of the board to trade their respective picks due to there being no “sure thing” in this group of players. So while there is a clear consensus top three (Ball/Wiseman/Edwards) followed by a big drop-off, I don’t think the front offices in Minnesota, Golden State, or Charlotte would hesitate to trade down if the right offer is presented.
If the last 48 hours of NBA activity are any indication, we are in for a wild Wednesday night! I will try my best to point you in the right direction as we peruse the odds to see if we can make a little money while sitting down to enjoy the draft tomorrow night. Let’s get to it!
(Reluctant Note as a Duke Alum: If you are okay laying a bunch to win a little, my top betting pick at online sportsbooks would be ‘Duke players drafted in the first round’ UNDER 2.5 at -834. Almost all of the mock drafts have their trio of Tre Jones, Vernon Carey, and Cassius Stanley going in the second round. You will find the occasional mock draft that has one of them slipping into the end of the first round but certainly not two of them.)
NOTE: Odds are subject to change leading up to the start of the draft.
2020 NBA Draft Props, Odds & Picks
1) Patrick Williams
Wing, Florida State Seminoles
Meansy’s pick: UNDER 8.5
Williams has arguably been the biggest riser during the pre-draft process, and the betting markets are still not accurately reflecting his likeliest landing spot (Pistons at #7) despite aggressively adjusting his odds over the past few weeks.
Perhaps the worst kept secret in this draft is that Williams has a promise from the Pistons at #7. Some of the most respected mock drafts available on the interwebs (e.g. DraftExpress, Sam Vecenie at The Athletic, Chad Ford) all have Williams going there at #7, and I’ve even seen/heard rumblings that he could go earlier than that. I would even be taking this UNDER if the line was at 7.5, so the fact that it is at 8.5 is even better. That leaves you an extra pick as one last out in case this is the biggest (and thus, most unnecessary) smokescreen from Detroit that I’ve seen in recent memory.
With there still being plenty of uncertainty of what will happen amongst the top three teams, I think this is the safest bet on the board.
If you only want to make one bet on this draft, I would suggest it being Patrick Williams at UNDER 8.5.
2) James Wiseman
Center, Memphis Tigers
Meansy’s pick: UNDER 2.5
While there is still that aforementioned uncertainty in the top three, Wiseman going #2 to the Warriors seems like the safest bet of the bunch in my opinion.
The Timberwolves at #1 seem to still be deciding whether to take LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, or just trading down. And since they already have Karl-Anthony Towns manning the middle, it makes little sense for them to take Wiseman. With the way the NBA is heading, it is much easier to play LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards alongside D’Angelo Russell than it is to play James Wiseman next to KAT.
And when we look at team fit, Wiseman to the Warriors makes all of the sense in the world with their obvious need at center. Whether he and Draymond Green can be on the floor a lot together (offensively) is another question, but things seem to open up a lot easier when you have Stephen Curry out there drawing so much attention coming off of screens. Besides, if the Warriors are ever going to move off of one of their big three (Curry, Klay, Draymond) down the line, my money would be on Draymond being the first to go. If Wiseman develops as most think he will, he could step right into that Draymond role if this team ever starts to break up a little bit.
All of the mock drafts I noted above have Wiseman going #2, as does Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer. I think the clear path to go with here in terms of betting is to take the UNDER 2.5 as opposed to “Wiseman as the 2nd overall pick” specifically.
For one, you get better odds. At the time I am writing this, Wiseman UNDER 2.5 is +105, while Wiseman to go exactly at #2 is -110.
And taking the UNDER 2.5 has another obvious advantage in that you also win your bet if Wiseman somehow goes #1. Suppose the Hornets really want Wiseman (which has been rumored, by the way) and agree on a trade with Minnesota to move up and get him. That means Minnesota takes Wiseman as the #1 pick for Charlotte, and you still win your bet!
That scenario alone might be worth a small flier on Wiseman at +800 to be the #1 overall pick
3) Obi Toppin
Forward/Center, Dayton Flyers
Meansy’s pick: OVER 4.5
Betting on Toppin Over 4.5 requires laying a decent amount of juice, so I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to skip it (or waiting in hopes something moves). But I really have a hard time envisioning a scenario in which Toppin cracks the top four in this draft.
As I mentioned in the intro to this article, there is a pretty clear consensus top three in this draft consisting of LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, and Anthony Edwards. So if we assume that those three guys go one, two, and three in some way, shape, or form, we are then left with the Bulls picking at #4.
Two of the Bulls most promising young prospects are Lauri Markkanen (a 23-year-old forward/center) and Wendell Carter (a 21-year-old forward/center). Are they really going to take a 22-year-old (notice that age, by the way) forward/center in this draft? They also have Thaddeus Young under contract for another two years as well, for what it’s worth.
I don’t see any mock draft out there that has Toppin going earlier than #5, and there are plenty that have him dropping lower than that. There would have to be some wild hijinks occurring in this draft for Toppin to go #4 or earlier, and I’d be perfectly okay laying this amount of juice that it doesn’t happen.
4) Washington Huskies
Meansy’s pick: OVER 1.5
I am not going to pretend that this pick is anything other than me looking at several mock drafts and seeing the two Washington guys (Jaden McDaniels, Isaiah Stewart) projected in the first round in every single one of them.
Stewart will be the key here, as he is projected in the last handful of picks of the first round everywhere I am looking. McDaniels is a few picks ahead of him in some and even up in the teens in some others, so we should be safe there at least.
There is obviously a bit of risk here, as draft analysts are mainly throwing you-know-what against the wall at a certain point in this draft and hoping it sticks. But the fact that there seems to be a consensus that these two guys both crack the first round—and most importantly, that we are getting plus-odds on it—has me willing to fire on this bet.
Besides, we’ll need something to sweat when the first round of the draft starts winding down!
With that said, I’m fine with betting Over 1.5 Washington Huskies players being drafted in Round 1.
Odds to be the No. 1 Pick in the 2020 NBA Draft
- Lamelo Ball -159
- Anthony Edwards +115
- James Wiseman +800
- Obi Toppin +10000
- Deni Avdija +10000
- Killian Hayes +15000
Regarding LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and the #1 Pick…
Instead of listing an exact “pick” for #1 or either of these two guys, I am going to briefly discuss what I have learned while monitoring this situation as a whole. At that point, you can obviously fire away at any bets you want based on what I say and how you feel about it. For what it’s worth, here are some of the odds at the time I am writing this:
Ok, so here’s the deal. If I wrote this last week, I would have easily said LaMelo Ball was a shoe-in to go #1 (in fact, I did just that in a separate article). The majority of the draft analysts, not to mention other extremely smart NBA talent evaluators, say LaMelo is the top talent in this draft that also comes with the highest ceiling.
On top of that, there were even reports last week from Jonathan Givony (founder of DraftExpress) that “the majority of NBA front offices” were expecting LaMelo to go #1. At around this time last week (let’s call it mid-week), all of the mock drafts from The Athletic, DraftExpress, and Chad Ford had LaMelo at #1.
However, something could have very easily changed over the weekend, as both DraftExpress and The Athletic moved Edwards up to #1 in their mock drafts. From the DraftExpress mock draft specifically, they say that “most NBA teams are now getting the sense that Edwards is the likely selection if the Wolves stay put.” That is a pretty drastic leap to take this close to the draft, so my hunch is that these outlets are working off of some legitimate info.
My ultimate theory is that the Timberwolves (more precisely, D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns) decided that they didn’t like the fit of LaMelo Ball with their two franchise pieces. Who knows if that is actually true, and it’s not like we’ll ever find out if it is anyways.
Ultimately, this recent change in information has me thinking that Edwards is now the likeliest to go #1. And since you can still get him at plus-odds, he’d be my recommendation if you absolutely want to have a sweat going for the #1 pick. With so many moving parts though (not to mention trade possibilities), I struggle to put too much weight behind it as any sort of “official” pick. For what it’s worth, Chad Ford still has LaMelo going #1, while Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer has Edwards going #1 (and has had him there for quite some time).
Image Credit: Imagn