Betting NBA Futures for Individual Division Titles
by Dave Schwab Scores & Statson
Heading into the Thanksgiving Day Holiday, the NBA’s 30 teams are quickly approaching the quarter point of their 82-game regular-season schedule. Slow starts can still be turned around and early leads in the standings can easily fade.
As the online sportsbooks continue to tweak their NBA futures odds, there are still enough games in the books to find some solid value in the numbers. Winning the 2020 NBA title is still relevant to a handful of teams. Winning each conference is a four-team race at best in the East and the West.
One of the more interesting NBA futures option at this point of the season are the posted odds for the six division title races. These are based on the regular season results which adds value to a deeper list of teams.
Going Chalk With The Favorites
Some of the races will probably not be close. For example, the Milwaukee Bucks are -2500 favorites to win the Eastern Conference’s Central Division title with Indiana a distant +1200 second-favorite. With the Bucks off to a strong 14-3 start in their first 17 games, the odds for that race could be off the board early in the New Year.
The Miami Heat appears to be the class of the East’s Southeast Division as -800 favorites. This was the tightest division race last season among a few mediocre teams. However, the Heat have created some early separation with a solid 12-4 start with Orlando next on the list at 6-10. The Magics’ odds to win the division are set at +500 as the second-favorite before they drop to +5000 for Atlanta. You could take a wait-and-see approach to this race to see how Miami continues to play.
Possible Value Play
The Houston Rockets have been perennial favorites to win the Western Conference’s Southwest Division for the past few seasons. Their NBA futures odds to win the division again this year are -450. The high risk/low reward aspect of these odds coupled with a matching 11-6 start by the Dallas Mavericks drain the value from the Rockets’ current odds.
This opens the door for a small wager on Dallas as a +400 second-favorite. By the time the smoke clears at the end of the regular season, Houston probably will be on top but you never know. Yet, if the Mavericks continue to keep pace, the value in their current odds will only decrease.
Betting the Tight Races
The Philadelphia 76ers are still second-favorites to challenge Milwaukee for the Eastern Conference title. Their odds to win the Atlantic Division are the best on the board at -110 but it is hard to ignore the Boston Celtics’ 12-4 start as +250 second-favorites. The defending champion Toronto Raptors are also in the mix at +300 odds to win the division.
The plus money on the Celtics offers the best value. The addition of Kemba Walker has them playing as a team and Philadelphia has struggled with early inconsistency on either side of the ball. Boston’s number will only come down if it maintains its current pace so now is probably the best time jump on these favorable odds.
Too Close to Call
The Los Angeles Clippers appear to be the team to beat in the Pacific Division over the long-haul as -150 favorites but the Los Angeles Lakers at 15-2 to start the year would be the value pick at +120.
The West’s Northwest Division is shaping up to be a two-team race between the Denver Nuggets as -160 favorites and the Utah Jazz as +150 second-favorites. It is still too early to write off Minnesota or even Portland getting into the race as +2500 third-favorites. This is the ultimate wait-and-see NBA division race.