The NBA has entered the busiest period in its shortened offseason as it prepares for the 2020-21 campaign. In the past seven days, both the NBA Draft and a flurry of free agency and trade moves have taken place. With that in mind, we’re here to reassess the NBA futures wagers available to you at top gambling websites.
Just a week ago, we took a deep dive into the NBA futures betting market. We did so with the idea of maybe spotting some real bargains for those who wanted to take their chances on picking the league champion before the season had even begun. Futures bets are among the best, after all, for those who want to win a large sum of money on a small wager.
But we warned you in that article that things were about to change with those odds in a major way. That’s because, at the time, we were on the verge of what some like to call the NBA’s “silly season.” It’s the time in the year where rosters are altered from where they stood at the end of the previous campaign, by both the draft and free agency.
In this shortened offseason, all of that activity took place in a blur. On Wednesday, the league conducted the 2020 NBA Draft, as the best young players in the world were claimed by the 30 NBA teams. It was an odd draft, with fewer big names up for grabs and many more variables in place, but it still gave a lot of teams hope for the future.
2020 NBA Free Agency Begins
But the real impact came this past weekend with the advent of free agency. Even though there are still a few big names out there in the free agency class, most of the top players available made their deals within a day or two of the opening of the frenzy. News came fast and furious about players either re-upping with their former teams or joining new franchises for big money.
As a result, the landscape has changed in a massive way in the span of just a few days. It’s no surprise then that the futures odds we quoted a week ago have also transformed. But the goal is still the same: finding bargains to make the most valuable bets that you can, in terms of picking the team that might win it all.
With that in mind, we’re here to try and help you navigate the post-draft and free agency NBA championship futures market. First of all, we’ll take you through each time and look to see if there were any odds changes and what transactions caused them. At the end of the line, we’ll once again tell you the teams we feel represent the best NBA futures bets you can make.
Atlanta Hawks (Odds Movement From +12500 to +10000)
The Hawks were one of our favorite futures lottery tickets before all the activity because of the potential they had to make moves with the salary cap space they enjoyed. And they did not disappoint. They were surgical strikes, shoring up weaknesses that should help their young stars Tra Young and John Collins concentrate on their strengths.
Because Young has defensive deficiencies, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn were brought down to lock down the perimeter. Because the team’s younger wings are more drivers than shooters, Danilo Gallinari comes in to stroke it from the perimeter. If they can incorporate Clint Capela well enough, there aren’t a lot of weakness to pinpoint:
Almost certainly a playoff team in the East.
Boston Celtics (Odds Movement From +1400 to +1500)
The Celtics watched Gordon Hayward walk for a big free agent contract in Charlotte, which means that Marcus Smart becomes more of a full-time starter. That might not be the best way forward, even though Smart played well in that role in the bubble. To make up for that, Boston tried to shore up other areas.
Jeff Teague gives them a little bit more potency as a backup point guard. Tristan Thompson gives them more of a defensive and rebounding presence in the middle. For the future, locking up Jayson Tatum means they should be good for a long time.
Even with the loss of Heyward, the continued ascendance of Tatum and Jaylen Brown should mean an improved team.
Brooklyn Nets (Odds Movement From +1100 from +525)
The big odds drop here is based on a move that the Nets might make more than one they actually completed. Rumors of a possible trade for James Harden is what pushed the action. But that is a big if, especially since Houston made a big move on their own by signing Christian Wood, ostensibly in an effort to get Harden to stay.
As for the moves the Nets did make, they are what you might expect from a team expecting to be a major contender. Jeff Green and Landry Shamet are playoff-caliber rotation pieces who will fit in nicely around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. And keeping Joe Harris, who gets better each year, was a big plus.
Those odds won’t look real enticing if the Harden move doesn’t happen.
Charlotte Hornets (Odds Movement From +50000 to +12500)
Say what you will about the wisdom of signing oft-injured Gordon Hayward to such a massive contract. But there is no doubt that it makes the Hornets much better in the here and now. His skill set immediately makes this a much more formidable offensive team, if he is indeed physically right.
The Hornets can also boast of the one of the few draft picks that could make an impact this year. LaMelo Ball will be scrutinized and picked apart endlessly. But he is one of the few guys in this year’s class that seems to have the potential of pulling a Ja Morant and immediately changing his team’s fortunes.
The oddsmakers’ movement aside, this team still isn’t championship caliber even in the best-case scenario.
Chicago Bulls (Odds Movement From +10000 to +25000)
Somebody needs to wake the Bulls up and let them know that they can start picking up free agents. Save for veteran swingman Garrett Temple, Chicago pretty much stood pat. That means they’ll likely go into the season with the same uninspiring nucleus.
As we said last week, you have to winder how long they’ll stick with Zach LaVine as their go-to guy. It seems like he might be more valuable as a method of gaining picks. This team isn’t going anywhere this year, as it will likely be more growing pains.
Nothing to see here, at least in terms of possible championships.
Cleveland Cavaliers (Odds Movement From +30000 to +25000)
With the exception of adding Javale McGee, who was largely phased out at the end of last year for the Lakers, Cleveland has been quiet as well. And yet their odds dropped in the last week or so. Maybe the oddsmakers are expecting a big impact from first-round pick Isaac Okoro at small forward.
When it comes to the Cavs, you have to think that both Kevin Love and Andre Drummond are always on the block, even though the team might not say so. Why would they keep them around to be fringe playoff contenders, at best? This team will likely look a lot different by year’s end.
They’re far, far from championship contention.
Dallas Mavericks (Odds Movement From +2800 to +2500)
The Mavs shuffled the deck a bit around their two superstars. Josh Richardson comes in to take over at shooting guard, with Seth Curry, who enjoyed a career season off the bench, moving on. Richardson struggled in Philly, but he probably has a higher ceiling than Curry.
Willie Cauley-Stein also comes aboard to eat up minutes in the pivot. That will help if either Kristaps Porzingis and Dwight Powell are limited coming back from injury. But none of the moves they made were really head-turners.
It still feels like too much of the burden is on Luka Doncic for them to go far enough in the West.
Denver Nuggets (Odds Movement From +2000 to +1800)
The odds change reflects that a few more have jumped on the Nuggets bandwagon, but not enough to diminish their futures value. Losing Jerami Grant hurts, but that’s likely a concession that Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol will be playing bigger roles. Grant just would have blocked their path.
JaMychal Green is a nice bench piece, able to stretch the defense with his shooting and play rugged defense on bigs. Watch out for Facundo Campazzo, a decorated European player who gives Denver a pass-first point guard, something they were lacking. Everything is pointing up here.
Nothing that has happened in the past week should scare anybody off the Nuggets.
Detroit Pistons (Odds Movement From +30000 to +20000)
This is one case where the odds movement might reflect people betting based on name value rather than actual value. Adding Jerami Grant, Jahlil Okafor and Mason Plumlee might attract those who remember them from March Madness. But in terms of the actual impact they’ll make, it might be negligible.
Instead, the Pistons lost the one piece that made them intriguing in Christian Wood. It seems most likely that adding all those veterans will just give them trade pieces. It’s doubtful they’ll be able to compete with the East’s best.
Don’t be fooled by the splashy moves.
Golden State Warriors (Odds Movement From +600 to +2000)
The odds moved drastically on the unfortunate news that Klay Thompson will be out for the year. But the fact that the Warriors rallied so quickly to acquire Kelly Oubre suggests that Golden State will be far from packing it in. If anything, they might have to just change up their style of play a bit.
The talent is there, especially with the boost it received from the drafting of James Wiseman. Suddenly, Golden State looks like a much more formidable defensive team. Brad Wannamaker was a nice pickup as well to help the depth.
All of a sudden, they are a much more valuable wager, even though their chances of winning it all may not have dropped much at all.
Houston Rockets (Odds Movement From +2500 to +2800)
The most intriguing team on the board. Odds went the wrong direction because of the reports that James Harden wanted out. Obviously, if Harden were to depart, it’s likely that the Rockets would have to regroup.
But what if Harden, emboldened by the addition of Christian Wood, a budding superstar, were to stick around? This team, rebuilt with size back in the equation, would suddenly be better suited to fend off some of the more physical teams in the West. It’s all very much up in the air.
In a week, they’ve gone from a poor value to an enticing one, if you don’t mind the risk.
Indiana Pacers (Odds Movement From +12500 to +10000)
The Pacers odds at basketball betting sites dropped without any significant additions or subtractions on the docket. About the only news was a somewhat ominous report that Victor Oladipo was actively trying to get out of town last year.
Are oddsmakers thinking it’s going to be addition by subtraction?
Even if Oladipo and (maybe) Miles Turner were to be moved, as rumors have suggested, the Pacers would need a ton in return to become a championship threat. You could argue that a healthy team with Oladipo returning to his 2018-19 form would be their best way forward. But even that wouldn’t seem to make a threat to win it all.
More than likely another #7 or #8 seed finish, which won’t get them where they need to be for a worthy futures selection.
Los Angeles Clippers (Odds Movement From +550 to +600)
The big change for the Clippers in the past week was the addition of Serge Ibaka and the expense of losing Montezl Harrell (to the rival Lakers, which should be interesting.) That feels like a positive move. Ibaka learned how to play in a complimentary role in Toronto, something that Harrell seemed to struggle with last year with the Clips.
Luke Kennard offers an interesting change from departed Landry Shamet on the wing. He is a much more complete offensive player, which could help the Clippers avoid the dry spells they had a year ago. But these moves largely won’t change things too much one way or another.
The worry is that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could be on a slight decline, which means that things won’t get much better than the conference semifinal status they had a year ago.
Los Angeles Lakers (Odds Movement From +350 to +300)
Note how the Lakers made sure to create a kind of zero-sum game with their changes. Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol for Dwight Howard and Javale McGeee; Dennis Shroder for Rajon Rondo; Wes Matthews for Danny Green. It’s as if they didn’t want to disturb the formula.
And you can’t really blame them. After all, no one really scared them a year ago in the playoffs all the way through to the Finals. As long as LeBron James and Anthony Davis are healthy, this team is going to be a certainty almost all the way through to the conference finals, and even after that they could be heavy favorites.
The odds dropped, which makes it even less of a value to play the favorite now than it was a week ago.
Memphis Grizzlies (Odds Movement From +10000 to +12500)
The key with futures bets is to spot the point that they become valuable. And the Grizzlies could be entering that area after the most recent move. 125 to 1 might be worth the stab where 100 to 1 wasn’t.
Because Memphis didn’t do much in free agency or the draft, it’s likely that the odds movement came as a result of the news that Jaren Jackson Jr. might miss the first part of the season. Maybe that hurts their seed a bit, but Brandon Clarke is a capable replacement. Look for this team to improve their seeding this year to the point where a first-round upset becomes more feasible.
Suddenly, they are more of a bargain for savvy bettors.
Miami Heat (Odds Movement From +1200 to +1500)
The Heat did lose a couple of solid complimentary pieces from a year ago with Derrick Jones and Jae Crowder leaving town. Moe Harkless comes in to help offset those losses. But the oddsmakers feel like it was a net-negative.
That means your odds get a little better, and this team already seemed to be underpriced. If Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo sustain the improvement they made as last year wore on, look out for this team. They could end up with a much better seed, which would make their path to another Finals much smoother.
No respect for this squad, which is just how they like it.
Milwaukee Bucks (Odds Movement From +800 to +600)
The Bucks might be a better futures bet now then they were a year ago, and that’s with the odds taking a drop. That is how well they did with their initial moves. Keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo happy was the goal, but the end result could be a championship.
Jrue Holiday might fall a bit short of what it would take to make Milwaukee a Big 2 type of team. But he is good enough to give them three All-Star caliber starters (joining Giannis and Khris Middleton.)
There is also a stability that he brings to the table at the point position that will bode well for this team in end-game situations, which is where they struggled in the bubble last season.
This team looks much better off to be more than just a regular season wonder.
Minnesota Timberwolves (Odds Movement From +30000 to +15000)
Bettors were obviously happy with the Wolves’ selection of Anthony Edwards as the first pick in the draft. Edwards probably will get a lot of playing time right off the bat. But the addition of Ricky Rubio at point guard might be even more impactful.
Ultimately, this team will go as far as Karl-Anthony Towns will take it. If he is healthy, he should move right back up to the top of the list of impact big men in the league. And it makes the Wolves a bit of a unicorn, since there are so few of those types of players still around.
There is some sleeper potential with this squad, although the West makes it awful tough for a team to sneak through in the same way Miami did a year ago.
New Orleans Pelicans (Odds Movement From +5500 to +6000)
There were times last year when the Pelicans felt too talented for their own good. It was hard to see where the focal point was supposed to be. Hence, losing Jrue Holiday might not hurt as bad as you might think, as great a player as he is.
Of course, the big if here is the status of Brandon Ingram, who was signed but could still be a trade candidate. Most indications are that he’ll still be in the fold come Opening Night. But even if they were to lose him, the Pels can still build around Zion Williamson.
Just too many moving parts to be a worthwhile pick at those odds.
New York Knicks (Odds Movement From +40000 to +15000)
The Knicks have once again added a ton of pieces with no regard to what was already on their roster. For example, Obi Toppin seems like the most NBA-ready of all the draft picks. But how does he fit in on a team whose best player, Julius Randle, plays the exact same position.
Then there is the obsession with compiling point guards. Elfrid Payton played well for them last year, so re-signing him doesn’t seem like a negative at first glance. But there are potentially four other point guards on the roster that will be vying for the same spot.
Who knows what they’re doing, but they’re definitely not winning a championship?
Oklahoma City (Odds Movement From +8000 to +15000)
When we talked about them last week, we told you it was likely that the Thunder would be clearing the decks. They did not disappoint, with three of their five starters from last year headed out the door in the past few days or so. Suddenly, they look like Shae Gilgeous-Alexander and pray for rain.
At this stage of their career, guys like Al Horford, George Hill and Trevor Ariza are better fits as role players. In Oklahoma City, they’ll have starring roles, at least until they’re moved as well. This is a total tear-down in progress.
Those odds could actually be a lot longer and they still wouldn’t be worth the long-shot chances.
Orlando Magic (Odds Movement From +25000 to +12500)
This is another instance of the odds dropping significantly without any real rhyme of reason. The Magic are coming back with pretty much the same roster intact that were an easy dispatch in the first round a year ago. Maybe rookie Cole Anthony will help as a compliment for Markelle Fultz at the point.
Granted, this team was never completely healthy at the same time a year ago. A front line of Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Nikola Vucevic could certainly cause issues. But that’s assuming Isaac comes back healthy and Gordon could ever put it together for a season-long stretch.
Tough to beat in an individual game but not a threat to win four series in a row.
Philadelphia 76ers (Odds Movement From +3000 to +2000)
The Sixers made some moves but it’s hard to measure their impact right now. Josh Richardson didn’t work out, but Seth Curry is a more limited player. And Dwight Howard might tempt the team into playing Joel Embiid more on the perimeter, which seems like folly.
Ultimately, the Sixers have the talent, but it is so fickle. Seeing the odds drop like they did means that you’re getting less value for them. Hence, it might be best for you to wait to see if they rise a bit before making the jump.
Never as good on the floor as they are on paper.
Phoenix Suns (Odds Movement From +5500 to +4000)
The Suns odds were bound to fall once the Chris Paul trade took place. But it seems like bettors might be overrating it a little bit. Is there really that much of an improvement that Paul brings compared to what Ricky Rubio was able to deliver.
Phoenix also parted with Kelly Oubre, who was blossoming as a talent before injury slowed him down last year. Maybe the replacements will be up to the task, and Phoenix did well in the bubble last year without him. But it’s hard to see where their talent level is higher than it was a year ago.
They are getting better, but their odds suggest their entering overrated territory.
Portland Trail Blazers (no odds movement; still +4500)
The bettors seem to have determined that the moves Portland has made to this point have been a wash. Robert Covington gives them the wing defensive presence they sorely lacked a year ago. They also add big men Harry Giles and Enes Kantner, which probably means Hassan Whiteside is moving on.
Portland is hoping that these moves, along with a little more health, can get them a bit closer to the promised land. The problem is that their margin for error is a bit thinner than other teams. Still, 45 to 1 on the Dame and CJ show is enticing.
If some of the injured guys come back, they could be deeper, and more dangerous.
Sacramento Kings (Odds Movement From +25000 to +15000)
The Kings made a move to solidify their future by signing De’Aaron Fox long-term. But Bogdan Bogdanovic is up in the air, with an offer sheet from Atlanta on the table. That would deprive them of one of their most potent offensive players.
Sacramento’s high-flying style is fun to watch. But they probably lack the horses that would make that work throughout the grind of the playoffs. They should be better this year, but not enough to move up that much.
Still well off from being in the title mix.
San Antonio Spurs (Odds Movement From +25000 to +10000)
It’s no surprise that the Spurs stayed pretty much status quo since last week. There just aren’t a lot of coveted pieces right now that they can offer others. For example, DeMar DeRozan is a mid-range player in a game slowing phasing that particular skill out.
That’s why its hard to fathom the positive odds movement here. Maybe people think that Gregg Popovic will have figured these guys out a little better this time around. But the talent level is woefully low compared to some of their competitors.
The glory days are long gone.
Toronto Raptors (Odds Movement From +2000 to +1600)
The Raptors are the only team in this list that actually are changing their location this season, as their home games with be in Florida. Whether or not that affects this touch bunch remains to be seen. What might affect them more are the losses of big men Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
In their place, the Raptors add Aron Baynes, who comes off a career year and offers even more 3-point shooting to a team already lousy with it. Chris Boucher, who has a ton of unrealized potential, should also get more chances to shine. The worry is that their defense might suffer without the departed pair.
You can’t ever throw them out, but they’ll need Pascal Siakam to ascend to superstar status to really have a shot.
Utah Jazz (Odds Movement From +4500 to +2800)
The Jazz stepped up to make Donovan Mitchell happy with a new contract, so their go-to guy is happy. They re-signed Jordan Clarkson, after he was so effective for them off the bench last year. And Derrick Favors returns to his old stomping grounds as solid inside depth.
Seeing Utah’s odds drop at sports betting sites so much was still a bit of a surprise. They will get better with the return of Bojan Bogdanovic, who was having a great first season in Utah but missed the bubble with injury. Can this team hang with some of the elite though?
Probably not worth it at those odds.
Washington Wizards (Odds Movement From +12500 to +15000)
The Wizards are relying on the return of John Wall to reignite their postseason hopes. Of course, that’s assuming Wall, who relies so much on speed, can regain his previous form. Certainly, he and Bradley Beal at their best are a load.
Washington did a nice job of keeping Davis Bertans around, as he clearly looks the part of a solid starter with room for improvement. Robin Lopez is a low-key addition who should help the inside defense. Rookie Deni Avdija has sleeper Rookie of the Year potential.
Wall’s health and Beal’s happiness will determine if this squad stays together or gets blown up by a big trade.
Best 2020-21 Futures Bets
Milwaukee Bucks (+600)
Miami Heat (+1500)
Denver Nuggets (+1800)
Golden State Warriors (+2000)
Houston Rockets (+2800)
Atlanta Hawks (+10000)
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 …