The NBA season begins Tuesday, so there’s not much time for sports bettors to make winning (hopefully) wagers on futures bets before the action tips off.
There are many futures bets to consider, including team over/under win totals, end-of-season awards and picks for conference winners and the NBA Finals.
Here are our best bets for the upcoming NBA campaign. All odds from Bovada.
Utah Jazz to win Northwest Division, +230
The Jazz finished one game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the division crown last season, and Utah should be even better in 2018-19. Why? Grayson Allen has had a very good preseason and could be one of the most effective rookies. Dante Exum got a new contract and is primed for a breakout season. Rudy Gobert is the best defensive player in the league and always motivated to prove he should’ve been drafted higher. Donovan Mitchell is a young Dwyane Wade and averaged 20.1 points per game as a rookie despite not being very efficient. He’s also an underrated playmaker. Quin Snyder is a top-five coach.
The Jazz have a very deep roster and few weaknesses. Unless Mitchell misses a lengthy amount of time due to injury, Utah is a good bet to win the division at +230 odds.
Boston Celtics OVER 59.5 Wins
The Celtics have improved their win total in each of the last four seasons under Brad Stevens, including a 55-27 record last season despite losing Gordon Hayward for the entire campaign and Kyrie Irving for a good portion of it. Many other players lost games to injury, too. Boston finally has a fully healthy roster and its talented young core should improve. A 60-win season is very possible. Don’t forget about Boston’s bench, either. The C’s have the best second unit in the league.
Cleveland Cavaliers OVER 30.5 Wins
Losing LeBron James is a major blow, obviously, but is it a 20-loss setback? So far, there’s no indication Cleveland is trading Kevin Love, and if he plays the whole season for the Cavs, they certainly will be competitive. Love was an All-Star last season while averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Collin Sexton, the No. 8 pick from Alabama, has played very well in the preseason and should be a solid point guard in Year 1. J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, George Hill, Kyle Korver and Rodney Hood are capable veterans who won’t want to tank. Cedi Osman could have a breakout season, too. This Cavs team should compete for a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference. Anywhere from 35 to 40 wins certainly is achievable.
Los Angeles Lakers OVER 48.5 Wins
It’s hard to fathom a James-led team not winning 50 games, even in an ultra-competitive Western Conference. He’s surrounded by more talent in Los Angeles than he was in Cleveland last season. Brandon Ingram could be an All-Star this season, and Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball should make huge strides in their development, too. This team also has an interesting but talented core of veterans, headlined by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson. The Lakers’ lack of dependable 3-point shooting is a concern, but there’s more than enough talent for them to win 50 games and hit the over.
Jaren Jackson Jr. to win Rookie of the Year, +1200
The Memphis Grizzlies want to win this season (as opposed to tanking) with Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol healthy, so expect Jaren Jackson Jr. to get a lot of playing time. And he’s earned it after a solid preseason. He’s among the most NBA-ready rookies from the 2018 draft class and has the ability to shoot 3-pointers or attack the rim. When you bet on Rookie of the Year, you’re looking for players who will put up league-leading stats (among rookies), and Jackson should be able to accomplish that.
Gordon Hayward UNDER 18.5 points per game
Hayward had a rocky preseason. It’s clearly going to take some time for him to get back into the normal flow of things, which is to be expected after suffering a brutal lower leg injury. Even if Hayward never got injured last season, this total still would be too high. There’s too much talent on the Celtics roster for the veteran forward to score 19-plus points per game. Kyrie Irving, if healthy, will lead the C’s in scoring, and it’s very possible Jayson Tatum takes over as the No. 2 option on offense. Hayward’s career high is 21.6 PPG — during his last season in Utah. It was the only season he’s averaged 20 points per game. It’s hard for us to pick the over here, especially with the Celtics likely limiting Hayward’s minutes early in the season to ease him back.
Other Best Bets
Boston Celtics to win NBA Finals, +500
Golden State Warriors to win Western Conference, -245
LeBron James to win MVP, +333
Terry Rozier OVER 9.5 PPG, -150
San Antonio Spurs to make the playoffs, -125
San Antonio Spurs OVER 43.5 wins, -120
Los Angeles Lakers to make the playoffs, -325
Long-Shot Odds To Consider
Charlotte Hornets to win Southeast Division, +1200
Utah Jazz to win Western Conference, +3500
OKC Thunder to win Western Conference, +1400
Toronto Raptors to win NBA Finals, +1400
Indiana Pacers to win Eastern Conference, +2600
Kawhi Leonard to win MVP, +950
Joel Embiid to win MVP, +1500
Harry Giles to win Rookie of the Year, +2500