Best NBA Futures Bets to Make as Season Tips Off Tonight
The NBA is back tonight, making it a perfect time to lock in future bets as the teams prepare to make their debuts.
Here are five sports wagering plays worth placing for the 2021-22 season.
All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
Detroit Pistons over 25.5 wins
The Pistons won 20 games last season (in a shortened 72-game schedule) even though their best player and leading scorer, Jerami Grant (22.3 points per game), missed 15 of the team’s final 21 games.
Now, the Pistons add the No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, to their roster, while last year’s rookie core enters this season with valuable game experience and another year of development.
Killian Hayes, last year’s No. 7 pick, returns to run the point after only playing in 26 games because of injury. Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart were the two first-round picks from last year and played key minutes throughout the season.
The addition of Cunningham and the development of its young core should be enough for Detroit to get over the 25.5 mark. Detroit also added veteran help with guard Cory Joseph and forward Kelly Olynyk.
Rockets Under 26.5 (-125)
There is nothing redeemable about Houston's roster. Seriously, what is there to like? An injury-riddled John Wall? An aging Eric Gordon? The only reason to watch this team will be to see if Jalen Green can go off and put together some highlight-reel-worthy plays.
Western Conference: Lakers +195
The Lakers are drawing the most NBA betting money to win the title, but I’m hesitant to pick them to win it all. I question if there’s enough shooting on the team and wonder if Russell Westbrook’s inability to connect from the perimeter will create spacing issues for the offense during the postseason. Rajon Rondo also can’t shoot. Some statues can defend better than Carmelo Anthony. Age and injuries are also warranted concerns.
But really, the entire Western Conference has some sort of major issue to address. The Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets await the return of key members, namely Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Jamal Murray, respectively. As for those issues with the Lakers, a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis should be enough to compensate as the rest of the conference looks to rush and integrate key parts right before the postseason. Shooting contributions from key additions Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk will solidify the Lakers spot as a favorite in the conference.
Southwest Division Winner: Memphis Grizzlies +350
This is as much as a sell on the Dallas Mavericks (-230) as it is a buy on the Grizzlies.
First, there’s the coaching change in Dallas. Even if the Mavericks can avoid any transitional period issues going from Rick Carlisle to Jason Kidd, are we sure Kidd is a better coach who will improve the team? Carlisle was instrumental in coaching the Mavericks to the title over a Miami Heat team that featured James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. He has always been considered one of the top coaches in the league.
Kidd has not had near the success as Carlisle, and the Bucks exponentially improved when they replaced him with Mike Budenholzer. Sure, you could go with the narrative that maybe all Dallas needed was a new voice, but I’m not banking on that at -230 odds.
Also, how much more can Luka Doncic improve? He’s one of the best players in the league and led the team to a division title last season while finishing with the fifth-highest player efficiency rating in the league (29.38). But he’s coming off a limited offseason where he led Slovenia to a fourth-place finish in the Olympics.
Memphis finished four games behind Dallas last season with Ja Morant getting injured early in the season and Jaren Jackson Jr. playing 11 games during the regular season.
The Grizzlies also have a young and proven core coming off their bench with Brandon Clarke, DeAnthony Milton and Xavier Tillman, which is key to stacking up wins during the regular season.
Give me a deep and healthy Memphis team to win this division.
NBA Champion: Milwaukee Bucks +900
Since 2000, the eventual NBA champion was listed at odds less than +1000 14 times. Only three teams are shorter than +1000 heading into this season, including the Brooklyn Nets (+205) and the Milwaukee Bucks.
I’ve already discussed some of my concerns with the Lakers, leaving the Bucks and Nets, essentially make it a coin flip between those two teams. Both have improved over the offseason, with the Bucks getting Donte DiVincenzo back from injury and adding another athletic wing who can shoot, defend and score in Grayson Allen. Rodney Hood and George Hill also provide much-needed bench scoring and are proven veterans.
Brooklyn welcomes Patty Mills, who is a career 38% 3-point shooter and gives the Nets a viable scoring option around Kevin Durant and James Harden. LaMarcus Aldridge is back after retiring following a heart condition scare, while Paul Millsap joins the team to bolster the frontcourt. The Nets also drafted Cam Thomas, who can provide instant offense off the bench. Thomas averaged 23 points a game last year for LSU. Kevin Durant is my MVP pick for this season, and it really doesn’t take any extra analysis to break down what Durant and Harden mean for the team’s title chances.
There is still the obvious Kyrie Irving situation that’s worth monitoring. But regardless if he plays or not, the Nets have enough to win the title.
So why do the Bucks get the edge? Sure, I chose Durant as my MVP pick for this year, but if it comes down to a series between these two teams, I don’t see the Nets having an answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo. During last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals, Antetokounmpo averaged 32 points and 13 rebounds per game. The scary thing is he might be getting better. Antetokounmpo has already displayed a more confident and rhythmic-looking jumper during the preseason, and there might be something to finally figuring out how to get over the hump last season, which goes for this entire Bucks group.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Nets topped the Bucks, but if you expect either of these teams to win the title, it’s worth taking the Bucks at +900 compared to the Nets at +205.
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