Best Betting Value for 2019/2020 NBA Championship Futures
by Dave Schwab Scores & Statson
Last Thursday’s two-round draft in the NBA is all about the future. The New Orleans Pelicans added the new face of that franchise by selecting former Duke standout Zion Williamson with the first overall pick. The New York Knicks began their rebuilding process with another Duke superstar, RJ Barrett as the third player off the board.
The Toronto Raptors developed a bad habit of playing their best basketball in the regular season ahead of multiple early exits in the playoffs. To turn the tide, they traded for Kawhi Leonard, who had already helped San Antonio bring home a world title a few years back. The plan worked to perfection in Toronto’s impressive run to a six-game series victory over Golden State in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Leonard has already opted out of the final year of his contract to test the free agent waters. He could still stay north of the border for at least one more season or he could take his talents to the West Coast to play for the Los Angeles Clippers. This would give him the chance to go head-to-head against the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James.
Toronto’s betting odds to successfully defend its title offers some tremendous value at +700 if it can hold onto Kawhi. The Clippers could be an even better value pick at +1000 if they have what it takes to add Leonard to their roster for next season. The free agent signing period opens on July 1, so the best value in either of these teams is now as opposed to taking a wait-and-see approach.
To get an idea of just how much impact players impact betting odds, let’s take a closer look at that other team in Los Angeles. LeBron James’ move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Lakers last offseason set shockwaves across the system when it came to betting NBA futures. Things did not pan out as expected in the Lakers’ record of 37-45.
They opened at +2000 betting odds to win next year’s title, but that quickly changed when the betting public first start to suspect that LA would trade for Anthony Davis, who wanted out in New Orleans. The initial reaction to this deal drove the Lakers’ odds down so far that they became anywhere from -250 to -350 favorites to win.
The betting public is driving this number down, not common sense betting. Davis is a stud and combined with James, LA will be fun to watch. However, given the major holes throughout the rest of the lineup, it is hard to find any value betting this team right now.
Real NBA Futures Value Picks
Given all uncertainty in the free agent market right now, high-value picks might be hard to come by with the exception of the Milwaukee Bucks. Their NBA futures to win the next championship range from+600 to +700 depending on the online book where you bet them.
Coming off a season when they posted an NBA-best record of 60-22, they also have the most stability in their current roster. This team has the ability to get even better depending on what Milwaukee decides to do in free agency. The Bucks also have a big chip on their shoulder considering how they lost that six-game series against Toronto in the conference finals as the top-seeded team in the East.