Married to the Market - NBA Futures Betting and Strategy

We’re down to just a couple of weeks left in the season. Probably a good time to look back at the past few months of futures betting and hopefully find some takeaways.

Thanks to everyone who read the article each week or blindly retweeted it because you’re related to me. Engagement is engagement.

Each section might not yield a bet every week, but ideally, there’s actionable info to help readers gauge the market.

The Good – Pacers Can’t Keep Pace, Longshot Embiid, Poor Pistons

  • Jan. 11: Pacers to miss the playoffs (+130) – Snagged a winner in the debut article! Indiana had nearly hit the over on its win total but, deep down, was still a tanking team. Knicks, Heat, Bulls, and Raptors all moved past them as predicted. -5000 to miss the playoffs now.
  • Jan. 18: Embiid to win MVP (+1100 at multiple books) – We were on Kevin Durant as the dark horse (when he was still a Net), then he got hurt. Pivoted to Embiid as the best candidate to challenge Jokic/Luka/Tatum/Giannis. He’s now a healthy favorite.
  • Jan. 25: Pistons under 21.5 wins – Unless they go 6-3 down the stretch, this is a W. Was built around the idea they would move Bojan Bogdanovic at the deadline, which didn’t happen, but they found other ways to avoid winning.

The Bad – Kyrie in Dallas, 6th Man Maxey, Brooklyn Optimism

  • Feb. 8: Faded Dallas, but not enough – The Mavericks didn’t even get the Kyrie Irving honeymoon phase! They’re 7-10 since he joined the team (Luka’s injury didn’t help). I went on about not chasing Dallas in the futures market but should’ve gone all in and bet them to be in the play-in/miss the playoffs. Missed opportunity.
  • Feb. 8 and Feb. 15: Nets to win East (+1200) and over 45.5 wins (+100) – Refused to give up on this team. Should have. Held out hope for a deep playoff run after they traded Kyrie but before they moved Durant since Jacque Vaughn had done such a good job. I still thought they were a .500 team after the KD trade. Need to go 7-3 to hit the win total.
  • Feb. 22: Tyrese Maxey for 6th Man of the Year (+1500 on FanDuel) – In my defense, it was more about this being 8-to-1 or lower on other books. Caesars was at +350. It couldn’t have gone worse, as Maxey ditched the 6th man gig and likely won’t even qualify for the award, given how many games he’s started.

The Clippers

What a rollercoaster. This team was featured in the article three different times and earned mentions in a few other editions.

I warned myself too. The Jan. 18 headline was “Enough with the Clippers, “ yet I couldn’t stay away. Could Russell Westbrook be a good fit? Should we like them more than Memphis? Are they a play-in team? It went on and on.

STILL don’t know what to make of them.


Here are a couple quick things to consider heading into next year:

  • Trust the Process – Showed conviction with the Embiid MVP bet but didn’t do the same with the Kyrie situation. Should’ve leaned into fading the Mavericks, at least with a sprinkle on play-in/miss the playoffs.
  • Small samples – Clippers were an excellent example of trying to react to limited data (multiple times). Better to either wait for a larger sample or avoid it altogether.

Thanks again for following along. I’ll be back with a weekly piece for the baseball season!

Image Credit: Getty Images

About the Author

  • Charlie Wright (cawright95)

  • Charlie Wright is part of the Marketing team at RotoGrinders. He leads email and web marketing efforts while occasionally chipping in on the content side.

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