The NBA 2020-21 league calendar starts to rev up in the next few weeks with the NBA Draft taking place and the free agency period beginning. That makes it a great time to get your NBA futures bets in place before the odds change. With that in mind, we’re here to help you with this NBA futures betting outlook that includes all 30 teams to help you with your wagers at top NBA betting websites.
We are coming off one of the most unique of all NBA seasons. The 2019-20 campaign was interrupted, like most major sports in the world, for several months. When it resumed, it did so in the so-called “bubble,” which is where it remained until the Los Angeles Lakers were crowned NBA champions.
With precious little offseason to give players a break, the league is revving it up once again. It was recently announced that the league will begin play shortly before Christmas. That’s a little later than usual but early enough for the teams to get in a 72-game schedule and put the postseason back on its normal timeline in 2021.
That also means that things are going to start happening fast. On November 18, the NBA Draft will be held, which means rookies will only have a month from the moment they’re picked to the point where on the floor in regular season games. Talk about a whirlwind period of adjustment.
Just two days after the Draft, the free agency period will begin in the league. Again, that leaves precious little time for the top free agents to become acclimated to their new surroundings before they have to suit up for their new teams (if they do sign with a new club.) In other words, the pace is about to pick up in a serious way as we point toward the new campaign.
A Great Time to Bet
From a betting perspective, it’s a great time to make futures wagers. Why? Because the odds are about to change drastically.
Once oddsmakers at top betting websites see how the rosters have changed after free agency and the draft, they will start to major adjustments. That means that the next week or so is the best time for you to find some excellent bargains.
If you wait too long, you might be missing out on some excellent value for a team or two that has the chance to become this year’s Miami Heat. They were a team that nobody gave a chance at the beginning of the 2019-20 season and could be had for very favorable futures odds. Come to think of it, the Lakers themselves had lucrative futures odds before free agency began a year ago, because they hadn’t yet traded for Anthony Davis.
We’re here to help you navigate all this with an NBA futures betting preview. First, we’ll look at each team in terms of how they stand right now. Then we’ll take a look at their futures odds to determine if they could provide some betting value to you.
Atlanta Hawks (+12500)
The young Hawks went through their growing pains again last year, but the future looks bright. First of all, Trae Young, John Collins and the rest of their young nucleus returns intact. But what everyone will be watching is how the Hawks do in free agency.
They are in the best shape of perhaps any team in the league when it comes to the salary cap. That’s why their future odds are lower than many teams who finished well in front of them in the standings a year ago. If they can pull the right triggers in the offseason, they could make a big splash.
One of the more intriguing long shot wagers on the board.
Boston Celtics (+1400)
Boston enjoyed a fantastic season that ended in some disappointment when the Heat dumped them in a thrilling playoff season. But that doesn’t diminish what they have coming back, as all the major pieces return. Whether they can add to that is another story.
They probably won’t have the cap space to upgrade at center or to add more depth in the backcourt. Of course, if Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown make another leap, those will be small problems. Don’t let a quiet offseason make you forget about them.
This could very well be the Eastern favorite when the offseason hoopla ends, which makes their 14 to 1 odds pretty fetching.
Brooklyn Nets (+1100)
The Nets have been waiting for this moment for quite some time. They resisted pushing Kevin Durant’s rehab schedule, essentially sacrificing their chances last year for what was to come. Now with Durant and Irving in place, they are ready to go for broke.
Still, expecting both of those players to remain healthy throughout the season, even a shortened one, is a big leap of faith. Plus, they’ll be weaning in new head coach Steve Nash, who immediately will jump into the fire.
Can they put all this together on the fly?
Right now, the odds seem to be a bit steep for a team with so many variables in the air.
Charlotte Hornets (+50000)
If you compare their record last year with their futures odds at sports betting websites, you might see a disconnect. The Hornets were respectable during 2019-20, certainly better than what you might expect looking at their roster. But there doesn’t seem to be much hope of them improving.
When was the last time a top-name free agent came to play for them? Their best chance is by getting their draft picks just right, but that will take some time to build up. They could be scrappy again this year, but that won’t mean they’re anywhere near a title.
They’re not worth the lottery ticket futures bet.
Chicago Bulls (+10000)
Everyone will be watching closely to see how the offseason treats Zach LaVine. Will the Bulls try to move him and get a little younger and perhaps save space for a better free agency year? If they do that, it’s hard to imagine them improving into contender status this year.
The hiring of Billy Donovan to coach indicates that this isn’t a team that wants to endure a long rebuild. But LaVine seems more like a #2 piece on a great team than a bedrock. That means something will have to give here for things to drastically change.
Even at 100 to 1, those odds don’t look all that enticing for a team in limbo.
Cleveland Cavaliers (+30000)
This is one of the most confusing rosters in the NBA right now. The strange trade for Andre Drummond leaves them with one of the last lane-bound big men in the game. And they have two shoot-first point guards trying to direct the offense.
Ideally, they’d be able to peddle Kevin Love for reinforcements. But it’s most likely any players they get would be of the young, speculative kind. And those kinds of players are far more likely to help down the road rather than right now.
There doesn’t seem to be a path to championship contention this year.
Dallas Mavericks (+2800)
How close are the Mavs to making the leap? Well, you shouldn’t overestimate their playoff scrappiness against the Clippers last year. After all, that same Clippers squad went on to suffer an all-time postseason collapse against Denver the next round.
The fear here is that the combination of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis could be a bit injury-prone for the Mavs to rest all their hopes on them.
On top of that, it seems more likely that the Mavs will marshal their free agency space for the offseason after this, when there are much bigger names available. That could mean a holding pattern in 2019-20.
The flashiness of Doncic probably is leading to them being overpriced at online betting sites right now.
Denver Nuggets (+2000)
It’s unlikely the Nuggets will be too aggressive in free agency, which means that they are hoping to come back even stronger following their outstanding postseason run. And there is evidence that they could be even better next year. They’re perennially underrated because of where they play, but people should start to take notice.
Consider that they made their run last year with Michael Porter still a bit green and key wing player Will Barton out. Also consider that a slimmed-down Nikola Jokic in the playoffs looked like an MVP. And we haven’t even mentioned Jamal Murray’s ascension to superstar status.
At 20 to 1, this is like stealing; buy, buy!
Detroit Pistons (+30000)
The good news is that the Pistons have a budding superstar in Christian Wood. And we mean that he’s talented enough that he would be a superstar no matter which roster he graced. That is a good building block for possible playoff success.
Wood is an unrestricted free agent, but Detroit should have no problem re-upping him with all the cap space they have. Could they strike while the iron is how and go for another top free agent this year while other teams take a siesta and wait for 21-22. If they do, they could make a serious leap into the middle tier of the East playoff teams.
Getting 300 to 1 here is a value, especially considering Wood could be a Top 15 player this year.
Golden State Warriors (+600)
After the lost season of 2019-20, the Warriors are getting the band back together for another run. Andrew Wiggins takes the place of Kevin Durant in that scenario, while the team also benefits for enough cap space for a starter-caliber piece. And they get the second pack in the draft as well.
Dreams of James Wiseman working in with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have to be running through the heads of Warrior fans. There are a lot of unknowns here, such as how well will Thompson recover and can Green up his play back to All-Star level again. But the possibilities are certainly intriguing.
There is no bargain in betting on them now, but the odds might drop further if they pick up another key piece.
Houston Rockets (+2500)
The Rockets have a lot to unpack this offseason, a task which got tougher with the news that Russell Westbrook wants out. Along the way, Houston has to work in a new coach. And they have to decide if small ball is the way to go, especially after watching the extremely tall Los Angeles Lakers waltz through the playoffs.
Houston is up against it cap-wise unless they move a key player. Westbrook would bring the best return, but will other teams want the headache or trying to fit him into their style. Trading Eric Gordon would make sense if they are looking to reformat their team around James Harden.
It’s possible they could pull of some trade/free agency magic, but it’s more likely they sink back to fringe playoff team status.
Indiana Pacers (+12500)
The Pacers find themselves in the dreaded nether region between contenders and also-rans. They also have a star player (or maybe former star player would be more accurate) in Victor Oladipo, who apparently wants out. That actually might be a good thing, because it would let the rebuild start in earnest.
Indiana has some nice complimentary parts but nothing resembling the kind of electric talent that NBA champions require. It’s easy to see them muddling along to a #8 seed. But it’s much harder to see them making the leap to contender status.
Don’t let the fact that they made the playoffs fool you into thinking they’re a bargain.
Los Angeles Clippers (+550)
The Clippers are still the second choice to win it all, but do they deserve to be? On the one hand, you could say that the coaching change might be a reunifying factor. And maybe the break last year hurt them more than anybody, with their chemistry seriously lacking in the playoffs.
But there is also a feeling that this looks like a better Fantasy team than a team constructed well enough to win a title.
And are you willing to pay the premium to rely on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George staying healthy? What if one or both drops off?
We’ll pass for now, and wait instead to see what the roster looks like on the eve of the season.
Los Angeles Lakers (+350)
The Lakers rolled through the playoffs with relative ease in the Bubble. You could argue that they maybe escaped some more problematic matchups (Clippers, Celtics, Bucks) that could have challenged them. But, of the teams they played, nobody was too close to dumping them.
Figuring out what to do with the complimentary pieces, many of whom have player free agent options, will be the work of the offseason. But LeBron James and Anthony Davis were arguably the two best players in the league a year ago. And they’re both back, which is a good starting point.
There obviously isn’t much value to a futures bet on the Lake Show, but they’re the heavy favorites for a reason.
Memphis Grizzlies (+10000)
In Ja Morant, the Grizzlies found a foundational piece that every team in the league craves. Now it’s just a matter of finding the pieces that fit right with him. They won’t be doing much in free agency, but a trade is another matter.
In Jaren Jackson Jr. and Branden Clarke, the Grizzlies have a couple of excellent young big men who could easily slide into the role of small-ball center. Could that mean trading the reliable Jonas Valanciunas? And what piece would be best to slide in to replace him?
They’re probably still not quite ready to hang with the best in the West, which means that the 100 to 1 odds might still be too steep.
Miami Heat (+1200)
Despite finishing as the league runner-up, the Heat are seventh in terms of the futures odds. Are they being disrespected, or do the oddsmakers know something? Keep in mind that they were underestimated by those same oddsmakers, along with everybody else, a year ago.
Several key rotation players (Goran Dragic the biggest name among them) are unrestricted free agents. But considering that Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo are only going to get better, the Heat have what it takes to withstand some losses. Chemistry can go a long way in this league.
The Heat are still getting a bit overlooked, which means that you shouldn’t be afraid to pounce.
Milwaukee Bucks (+800)
The Bucks will have to play this season with one eye watching for next offseason, which is when Giannis Antetokounmpo will have a decision to make. Can they thread that needle, especially knowing their failures the last two postseasons? A lot will depend on what this offseason holds.
It’s hard to imagine the Bucks being frugal, especially with Giannis’ future on the line. And if they make the big move and still fail, they’ll likely be blowing things up anyway. It seems like an all-or-nothing move is in the offing, which is why they’re still the East favorite.
When you consider that the oddsmakers have already baked the likelihood of them adding another key player to the mix here, you’re not getting much bang for your buck.
Minnesota Timberwolves (+30000)
It’s nice to have the first pick in the NBA Draft. But let’s face it: this wasn’t the year, if you had your choice, to get it. Nobody on the board is going to transform the Wolves into immediate contenders.
The key for this team being competitive is getting a healthy Karl-Anthony Towns, something they rarely had a year ago. It seems like LaMelo Ball is the best fit for what this roster has to offer. But that won’t move the needle much.
There is a long way to go here, so there’s no need to jump the gun on them with a basketball bet just yet.
New Orleans Pelicans (+5500)
One thing we absolutely know is that Zion Williamson will be in the picture next year. After that, it should be interesting. This was a depth chart that was way overcrowded last year, and that situation will only get muddier once the #13 pick this year is added to the mix.
One way to look at the odds here is that they are such an unknown that the possibility of them improving greatly after they make all their moves is more likely than it would be for teams set in stone. The other way to look at it is that this mess will be tough to sort out. New Orleans certainly figures to be one of the linchpins of the NBA offseason.
The issue isn’t the pieces around Williamson; it’s more so that he might need more help than the average superstar because of his style of play and injury risk.
New York Knicks (+40000)
The good news is that the New York tax hasn’t been baked into the odds too much to this point. They are one of the longest shots on the board. And they have the resources to improve quickly, if they can make the right decisions (which is a huge “if” with this squad.)
When you talk about the Knicks, you’re talking about one of the most malleable rosters in the league. There is no sense delving too deep into what they have now, because it can all change quickly. New coach Tom Thibodeaux will likely have the last word on the players he wants.
It’s doubtful that even Spike Lee could find a path to the championship for the Knickerbockers.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+8000)
The Thunder put up a good fight in the playoffs last year and earned respect around the league for how hard they played. But they needed to play hard because their margin for error was so small. Now they enter the year with a new coach and Chris Paul, who was brilliant in his first year with them, likely heading out the door via trade or free agency.
What does that leave behind? Don’t be surprised if Danilo Gallinari is also on his way out. And that leaves Shae Gilgeous-Alexander, who struggled in the postseason, as their foundational piece.
Odds-wise, this team is one of the worst values on the futures board, considering that rebuilding mode is around the corner.
Orlando Magic (+25000)
The Magic have a decision to make on Evan Fournier, who enjoyed a career-season last year but is still a notch below All-Star level. Getting back Jonathan Isaac, who was on his way to that level before getting hurt, will be key. And remember that Markelle Fultz is still a young guy with all kinds of talent who started to right the ship last year.
Yet the odds are telling you that Orlando isn’t very highly-regarded. They feel like the kind of team that you hate to see come into your arena, because you know they’ll fight. But they don’t feel like a team that could go deep into the playoffs.
No major improvement is likely happening until the 2020-21 offseason, which means you can write them off this yeat.
Philadelphia 76ers (+3000)
If it were any other team who finished the year like they did, the Sixers would have much longer odds. Oddsmakers know that, whatever else you want to say about them, Philadelphia already has the talent in place to win a title. Figuring out how to marshal that talent is the key.
It’s unlikely that Philadelphia will be able to do much this offseason unless they move one of their stars, which likely isn’t happening (maybe Tobias Harris.) The hope is that a healthy Ben Simmons and a new coach can turn things around. If only the odds gave us a better reason to bet on that possibility.
Wait for the offseason moves and see if the futures odds jump to more favorable proportions.
Phoenix Suns (+5500)
The Suns are one of the trendier teams heading into the offseason. Their incredible Bubble run came up just short, but it seemed to herald what this team could do with all their pieces on the floor. Now the question is what pieces will be there in the new year.
Phoenix will build around Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton for sure. Early rumors about the addition of Chris Paul are intriguing. But that probably won’t happen without kissing goodbye to somebody like Kelly Oubre.
The odds would have been more exciting if they hadn’t made so much noise at the end of the year.
Portland Trail Blazers (+4500)
Again, here is a case where the odds might be skewed a bit by their bubble performance, which was really a small sample size. Portland has the killer backcourt, but they are lacking in depth. And expecting to get more out of Carmelo Anthony than they did last year seems like folly.
One interesting decision will be focused on Hassan Whiteside. With a healthy Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers don’t need him as much as they did a year ago.
Could he be moved for the right piece alongside Dame Lillard and C.J. McCollum?
The odds just aren’t quite in the range where you could consider them a real value right now.
Sacramento Kings (+25000)
The Kings are definitely on the right side of the rebuilding line. They’ll have to make a decision on restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is talented but might be more valuable to a team closer to the title. And they’ll need to determine if Marvin Bagley Jr. can stay healthy enough to be an All-Star.
It feels like there could be some trades in the works for this team. Guys like Bogdanovic or Buddy Hield could be desired. But the problem is that the pieces that they get in return won’t be established stars.
They’ve got a long way to go before they’re anywhere near ready to get it done in that conference.
San Antonio Spurs (+25000)
A complete rebuild in the Popovich era. It really has to happen for this team to rebound a bit. They maxed out what they had a year ago from LaMarcus Aldridge and Demar DeRozan and it wasn’t near enough.
Early reports are that DeRozan could be dealt. That would accelerate the process for sure. And it’s doubtful they’ll be adding anything more than hope for the future.
Not even Pop can wield enough magic to get them anywhere they need to be this year.
Toronto Raptors (+2000)
If nothing else, the Raptors proved they could do damage without Kahwi Leonard. But their impressive effort also came on the legs of veteran talent that isn’t getting any younger. The choice will be whether to sell high or stick.
We’ll start to find out their plans pretty soon. Unrestricted free agents Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet are all available to the highest bidder. Regression seems inevitable.
They will scratch and claw, but it seems likely some of the younger squads pass them by this year while they dream of somehow landing Giannis.
Utah Jazz (+4500)
The Jazz heartbreaking first-round loss to Denver looked a lot better when the Nuggets then went on to shock the Clippers. In other words, they weren’t that far removed from the conference finals. And yet it seems like an odd mix that they have going forward.
There isn’t that dynamic youngster on the roster that makes you think they can make a jump. Maybe getting a healthy Bojan Bogdavnovic back in the fold will help. But it’s doubtful it helps enough for them to move up the ladder.
It’s hard to see them taking the necessary leap that will push them past some of the tougher foes in the conference.
Washington Wizards (+12500)
The Wizards are counting on the health of John Wall and Bradley Beal for a resurgence. And considering that the lower-playoff tier of the East is always in flux, it’s not out of the question that they could come back strong. Look for them to re-sign Davis Bertans, one of the more promising pieces they found a year ago.
With Beal and Wall in the backcourt and Bertans, Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant in the frontcourt, the Wizards have a nice nucleus. They’ll also be adding a Top 10 draft pick.
The arrow is definitely pointing up, but how far?
I’d rather take a chance with a team like Atlanta that has the room to add than on the Wizards, a team where we pretty much know where we stand with them.
Best 2020-21 NBA Futures Bets
Golden State (+600)
Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog.
For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h …