NBA Futures: How A Wild Week Rocked The Basketball Betting Board
We took a shot at 2019-20 NBA futures odds last month, one day after the Toronto Raptors were crowned NBA champions. A lot has changed since, due in no small part to reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joining the Los Angeles Clippers, a seismic event felt throughout the NBA and sportsbooks.
We said that the Clippers were the biggest threat to take Leonard from Toronto, but no one thought that was true this time last week. On one network, it was Jalen Rose reporting a 99 percent chance that Leonard was staying in Canada. On the other, it was Chris Broussard with “sources” reporting Leonard would be a Laker.
While Leonard and George made the biggest splash, there were other moves that combined to make this a historic offseason. Let’s take a look at NBA betting odds from William Hill NJ Sportsbook and other online sports betting sites now that the dust has settled.
NBA Futures Odds At William Hill New Jersey
Los Angeles Lakers +300
The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t win the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, but they did pull off a trade for Anthony Davis. The Lakers were +850 to win the 2020 NBA Finals, but the trade quickly made the Purple and Gold overnight favorites. After missing his first playoffs since 2015, it looked like LeBron and the Lakers were ready to reign over not just L.A., but over the rest of the NBA. While the road through the Western Conference will be more difficult than Lakers fans had hoped, they’re still +300 favorites at William Hill. Where the Lakers are no longer the big brother in L.A. is at sports betting sites such as BetStars, PointsBet, FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook.
James will reportedly start at point guard next season and they’ve added Danny Green, who is expected to provide some outside shooting relief. New head coach Frank Vogel has to make sure that Rajon Rondo and Demarcus Cousins are both on board with whatever starting lineup he chooses. Regardless, Hollywood will be the most exciting place to be during the 2019-20 NBA season. If you’re bullish on the new look and FOMO is too much to resist, the best place you can go is PointsBet, where the Lakers are +500 to win the NBA Finals.
Los Angeles Clippers +350
It turns out, those sharp enough to stick to their Leonard-Clippers conviction may have gotten the biggest steal in next season’s NBA futures market. FanDuel Sportsbook listed the Clippers +1600 to win the NBA Finals last month. Caesars Sportsbook was more wary, declaring a pre-emptive strike on Leonard’s return home by pricing the Clippers +600. Wherever you go, the Clippers are much lower than that now.
Leonard and George have both dealt with their fair share of injuries, which is one of the biggest threats stopping the Clippers from advancing past the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in franchise history. If the Clippers do cash outright tickets, Leonard would become the third person to win the NBA Finals with three different teams, and potentially the first player to win NBA Finals MVP with three different teams. The best place to back the Clippers is at William Hill, where they’re +300.
One thing I’ll consider doing once NBA win totals come out is betting Under on both Los Angeles teams. Aside from all of the hype surrounding the two squads, all of their key players have played on a minutes-restriction before, and they’ll do so again. Additionally, with the city rivals sharing the Staples Center as their home court, bidding for the top seed in the West becomes less important, incentivizing rest for their aging stars.
Milwaukee Bucks +600
The Milwaukee Bucks remain top of the Eastern Conference thanks to a quiet, but successful offseason. Milwaukee’s front office did execute a sign-and-trade, dealing Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers. Losing Brogdon hurts, but they re-signed Khris Middleton, George Hill and Brooke Lopez while adding brother Robin Lopez to the roster.
News in L.A. moved Milwaukee to +600 to win the NBA Finals after opening +480 at FanDuel.
Philadelphia 76ers +900
The Philadelphia 76ers are predicted to be the Bucks’ strongest competitors in the East. The Sixers kept only one of their two big mid-season acquisitions. Tobias Harris returns to step up offensively, while Jimmy Butler moves to South Beach. The Sixers are also without JJ Redick creating space from the perimeter. Philadelphia hopes to make up for those losses by adding Al Horford and Josh Richardson. They’ll also look for help from 2018 lottery pick Zhaire Smith, who has displayed athleticism on the offensive and defensive ends during NBA Summer League. Smith sat out almost his entire rookie season due to a leg fracture turned-infection.
The East is a bit more open now that Leonard has left, but the Sixers have to pair a great offense with a great defense if they want to make it past Milwaukee this go-around.
Other Movers on the NBA Futures Board
Golden State Warriors +1200 – The Warriors odds of winning the NBA Finals is the lowest we’ve seen in several years. With Klay Thompson out until at least March and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, this likely have been the case even without Los Angeles teams taking over as new NBA hegemons. If Thompson gets healthy by the playoffs, the Warriors will still be a factor, but I’d wait to see if you can get better odds on the Warriors if they struggle early in the season.
Utah Jazz +1500 – Outside of the Hollywood bubble, the Utah Jazz have had arguably the most impressive offseason thus far. They pair Mike Conley with Donavan Mitchell in the backcourt and bring in Bojan Bogdanovic, Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay. The moves resulted in big changes for the team in the NBA futures market. At one time the Jazz were +4200, now they’re closer +1600 just about everywhere. I love the moves, but I hate buying high.
Boston Celtics +2500 – Danny Ainge and the Celtics replace Kyrie Irving with Kemba Walker. The biggest loss is Al Horford. Still, Boston has a formidable starting lineup — Walker, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown — that stacks up nicely in the East. At +650 to win the conference, they make for an interesting play at FanDuel.
Toronto Raptors +4000 – Maybe one day we’ll be able to short teams like we short stocks. That would have been great to do with Toronto Raptors who move from +600 to +3200 at FanDuel. If you’re still a believer at this price, you can find the Raptors +4000 at William Hill.
Who Trusts Russ? – One of the biggest remaining questions lies with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook. After leveraging Leonard’s free agency to trade Paul George for a package of draft picks, the Thunder appear to be in rebuilding mode and ready to tank in 2019. Their odds were +2400 and are now +10000 at William Hill.
Westbrook’s camp has reportedly discussed possible trade destinations with Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti. Detroit and Miami sound like the two most likely trade partners. At +25000 and +7500 respectively, both teams are longshots to win the 2019 NBA Title. With the East still fairly wide open, Westbrook joining either Blake Griffin in Detroit or Jimmy Butler in Miami makes for an interesting duo. A similarly interesting NBA futures position is to back both teams to win the Eastern Conference. The Pistons are +10000 to win the Eastern Conference at BetStars and the Heat are +2500 at PointsBet.
(Top Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)