- The Los Angles Lakers are the preseason favorite to win the NBA Finals at +275 odds.
- Luka Doncic is favored to win the NBA MVP at +400 odds and has received the majority of the betting handle at DraftKings.
- The Houston Rockets are currently discussing trading James Harden which would shift NBA betting odds across the board the two parties were able to part ways.
- Lamelo Ball is the early favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year, but other players with longer odds might be in a better position to succeed early.
NEW YORK – With the 2020-2021 NBA season slated to begin on Tuesday, bettors are coming out in droves to put action on some key futures bets. Bettors will have a few different things to consider this season when making those bets.
New faces enter the league, all vying for a run at the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Offseason trades in the Western and Eastern Conference have also opened the door for possible runs to win their respective conferences.
There is also the elephant in the room that no one can ignore, and that’s James Harden. The Rockets have expressed that they are looking to trades the former NBA MVP and where he lands could shake up the entire NBA landscape.
With so much to consider, LegalSportsBetting got a chance to speak with DraftKings Head of Sportsbook, Johnny Avello to discuss what bettors can look out for this season.
How The Season Date Can Effect Early Season Matchups
The first difference between last season and this upcoming one is the start date. Because the league had to suspend last season, the season didn’t end until Mid-October.
With such a short time in between last season and this current one, many are expecting superstar athletes such as Lebron James to sit out early-season games as a way to ensure he is healthy for the next postseason which isn’t slated to finish until July.
If certain players decide to sit out of games, the odds could shift at a moment’s notice. But according to Avello, this is nothing new to DraftKings.
“It happened last year and it happened the year before that…As oddsmakers we just got to be totally aware of that and know watching back to back games if a player is most likely going to out in a night. Maybe the second star on the team is not playing the line drops two points. You take a couple guys out of that lineup and it could drop seven points.”
Keeping up with this aspect of the game will be crucial to bettors who want to put action on early-season games this month and next month.
Rookie of The Year Odds, Is LeMelo Worth The Hype?
The NBA Draft this year featured some high profile names from across college basketball and across the world. No player had bigger hype around him than Lamelo Ball who elected to play professionally overseas before declaring for the NBA Draft. So far, it seems he made the right decision.
— NBA (@NBA) December 18, 2020
Ball comes into the league favored to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award at +400 odds. According to the DraftKings NBA Betting Preview, Ball has taken in 30% of the handle for the betting line and 17% of the total amount of bets.
But, with him being drafted to the Charlette Hornets, is he in the best position to succeed early?
“LaMelo Ball has grown up in the spotlight, and his NBA career from a sports betting perspective should carry on this trend as he sits atop DraftKings Rookie of the Year splits for handle. While Ball leads with 31 percent of handle to win the most prestigious rookie award, former Dayton standout Obi Toppin has so far amassed the most bets at 19 percent compared to Ball’s 12 percent. Interestingly, number-one pick Anthony Edwards is nowhere to be found among top Rookie of the Year bets so we’ll have to see if his game on the court sways the opinions of sports bettors,” said Avello.
While all these players are headed to relatively depleted teams, players like James Wiseman are heading to a team with proven superstars and a winning culture. Wiseman is currently sitting at +600 odds to win the award.
Luka Doncic And The NBA MVP Odds
All eyes will be on Luka Doncic for this to be his breakout year. His game-winner against the Los Angeles Clippers got the attention of NBA betting world and rightfully so.
— NBA (@NBA) August 23, 2020
Luka Doncic currently sits on top of the odds board for the award at +400 odds. Luka also has 35% percent of the handle and 25% of the total bets. That’s the most in both categories. But is betting on Luka to win the award a good bet? We asked Johnny Avello.
“In my opinion, it is not a good bet,” said Avello. “The price is too short at 4 to 1. You got Giannis there you got Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, you got Djokic, you got Harden, Leonard, Steph Curry. You name all these guys and they’re all tremendous players that could win this award. So, 4-1 value is not enough to make this a good bet in my opinion.”
Avello also pointed out the possibility of Luka sitting out some games which will leave him susceptible to not padding his stats early in the season. If he does happen to sit out early, his odds could drop and give better value later on in the season.
Odds To Win The NBA Finals
The odds to win the NBA Finals are at the forefront of bettors’ minds as the odds currently could give the best value across the board.
With that said, the Los Angles Lakers find themselves at the top of the oddsboard again.
“Last season the Los Angeles Lakers received more handle and bets than any other team on the way to their 17th championship as a franchise, and this season many bettors are predicting the purple and gold to repeat. Currently, 37 percent of handle and 26 percent of bets to win the NBA Finals are on the Lake Show, the most for any team, despite a quick season start turnaround following their deep postseason,” said Avello.
The Brooklyn Nets currently sit right behind the Lakers with +600 odds to win the Finals, 22% of the total handle and 15% of the total amount of bets. With a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it’s easy to see why bettors are eager to hop on the Nets train early.
What may come as a surprise, however, is the fact that the Philadelphia 76ers are in third place in terms of betting handle and bet amount. This comes despite being listed at +2500 odds to win the championship and five other teams favored ahead of them.
We asked Avello if this is coming from hometown bias, or something bigger.
“There was the rumors of Harden going there, and a guy like Doc Rivers is supposedly in some people’s minds going to make a difference. Whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure. I think some of it was due to Harden possibly moving there,” said Avello.
What the Houston Rockets decide to do will make a large impact on NBA betting as a whole and will surely shift the odds of whatever team he lands on. He’s expressed that he wants to play for a team that’s a competitor and the 76ers could be that team if they are able to retain some of the roster they currently have.
What Is DraftKings Betting On?
Either way, Avello predicts this season to be a successful one for DraftKings.
“I think this is going to be our biggest season ever. Now, of course, I’m hopeful that with vaccines out now and the cases will at some point start to level off and go down, I’m hopeful that we get into March or April we’re in a good position. And if that’s all true, then this handle will be our largest handle ever,” said Avello.
Going into this season, DraftKings Sportsbook will be live in more states than ever before. Virginia and Michigan are poised to be the next to launch online sportsbooks and DraftKings has already secured access in both.
With additional states and a stable season, look for 2021 to set NBA betting records.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.