Why Shrewd Punters are Betting on the NBA Draft in 2017

Why Shrewd Punters are Betting on the NBA Draft in 2017

It's that time of year again when the NBA heats up and punters seek some serious value by taking a punt on the NBA draft. This year's Draft is taking place on June 22, following on from the NBA lottery which was recently held to determine the picking order.

The Draft's been an annual event since 1947, with gamblers betting on it ever since in some shape or form. Our betting preview seeks out the value in one of the most anticipated betting events in US sport!

Understanding the Main NBA Draft Betting Markets

The main betting markets on offer by online bookies are centred around who will be first drafted, and Under and Over markets for Draft positions (for example, will a player finish Under 3.5 or Over 3.5 on the Draft).

This year's NBA Draft odds are very lop-sided, with a hot contender in the shape of Markelle Fultz, and the others all being relatively big prices as a result. It's worth considering the chance of Fultz and whether it's worth taking him or opting for Under/Over bets where the odds are more favourable.

Markelle Fultz – The No.1 Draft Certainty?

Markelle Fultz is a short-priced favourite to be number one Draft with online bookmakers, priced at 1/50 with bet365. Coming from Washington, he looks one of the hottest dead-certs seen in the NBA Draft betting for some time.

Standing at 6 feet 4 inches and weighing in at 190 pounds, he's an extremely reliable and dedicated defender and a true team player – one who won't sacrifice the team in pursuit of stardom by looking to shoot hoops.

That said, he showed last season that when the opportunity arises he's a seriously sharp shooter, making nearly 50% of field-shots and nailing over 40% of three-pointers. The other thing that makes Fultz attractive is his humility – he's a down-to-earth guy who isn't going to chase the high-life.

At odds of 1/50 however, you'd need to be a very brave punter to get a decent return. You could toss the coin and take a punt on him not winning number one Draft, with Bet365 offering 18/1 on Fultz Over 1.5 on Draft one position.

Markelle Fultz's very short odds make punts on other players attractive from a value perspective, even though you do have to rely on a Fultz slip-up. The top online bookies have gone so short on Fultz simply because they don't fancy taking a chance on getting burnt by having him at even money or bigger.

Will he rank first Draft? Probably, especially if the rumour mill is right, and first-pick Philadelphia Sixers fancy him. But every punter knows shorties can get turned over – so who are the players worth considering at big odds?

Odds for the Top Draft Contenders

This year's draft does not feature a sure-fire franchise changer like LeBron or MJ but it does feature a ton of players who could end up as the most elite players in the league down the road. Enough about just the top few guys, here are odds the top nine prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft:

  1. Markelle Fultz – 1/50
  2. Lonzo Ball – 14/1
  3. Josh Jackson – 20/1
  4. Jayson Tatum – 40/1
  5. De’Aaron Fox – 50/1
  6. Jonathan Isaac – 66/1
  7. Dennis Smith Jr – 80/1
  8. Frank Ntillikina – 125/1
  9. Zach Collins – 150/1

Looking for NBA Betting Value

When it comes to finding some real betting value within the NBA Draft, punters should turn to two of the draft's elite prospects who might shakeup the draft, maybe for their own good, maybe not so much (as is the case with Lonzo Ball poetically falling outside the top five, an unprecedented move even just a few weeks ago). Punters looking for some value should keep an eye on Josh Jackson and Lonzo Ball:

  • Josh Jackson | Many top teams will have their eye on 6ft 8in Josh Jackson who has the credentials to (literally) make it big. Jackson has the athletic prowess and all-round game to play different positions, although his shooting ratios need some work before he can reach superstar status. Of course, given his potential, it's possible that he could be identified as the most-wanted player. bet365 are offering 20-1 on Jackson for first Draft. Unfortunately, you can only get 2/5 on Jackson Under 3.5, with odds of 7/4 for Over 3.5 in the Draft. Media leaks suggest second-up Phoenix Suns are looking to get hold of Jackson.
  • Lonzo Ball | Lonzo Ball is a hot-shot passer with a high shooting volume from virtually anywhere, at any angle. His apparent weaknesses lie in defence, and his less-than-technically-perfect shooting style as he comes-up against NBA defences. However, third-pick Los Angeles Lakers are said to want Lonzo, who can be backed with Bet365 at 2/7 Under 2.5 and 5/2 over 2.5. Few are expecting him to be first Draft, backable at 14/1.

Long Shots to Spoil the NBA Draft Party?

If the rumour mill and betting market are correct, then backing Fultz, Ball and Jackson in some capacity looks the way to go. This is most notable in the basketball Under/Over markets for Ball and Jackson (with potential doubles and trebles based on the three players).

However, what about the prospects of a shock, with the likes of Jayson Tatum, De-Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac and Dennis Smith Jr? Well, it's worth considering that the media isn't always right and some of these guys are pretty hot prospects in their own right. Dennis Smith and De-Aaron Fox are two wild cards who could sway teams in their favour, particularly for picks two and three:

  • Dennis Smith | Dennis Smith is a player who has something of the x-factor about him. He's known as being extremely confident – some would call it arrogant. But then we all know that it takes a big personality to make it in the NBA, making him something of wild card that teams might fancy taking a chance on. Smith has a classic point guard physique, great athleticism and a really solid all-round game. bet365 go 80/1 for Dennis Smith to be first draft. The firm are also offering Over 7.5 on Smith at 8/11, and Under 7.5 at 1/1 – and he has the talent to get snapped-up fast in the Draft.
  • De'Aaron Fox | Fantastic Mr Fox, otherwise known as De-Aaron, would definitely be betting on himself to be first Draft in the NBA picks. He recently asserted his belief that he’s the best player in this year's event. Fox took his team deeper than anyone else in last campaign's NCAA tournament and pretty much showed Lonzo Ball who was boss. He put in a superstar display when Kentucky beat UCLA 86-75, scoring 39 points and accumulating four assists. Fox is backable at Under 4.5 at 4/5 and Over 4.5 at 10/11 with Bet365. He also looks decent value at 50/1 for a surprise first Draft.

The best basketball betting strategy for the 2017 NBA Draft lies in taking a punt against Fultz in the first Draft, but it's a tough basketball bet to be confident of landing. Looking at the Under/Over markets offers more solid betting prospects. To find all these markets and more, head over to bet365's NBA betting portal!

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