NBA Futures Picks and Predictions: Do the Lakers have Life after Active Trade Deadline?
After the craziest NBA trade deadline to date, Shane Jackson breaks down the three best futures bets based on the latest NBA odds.
Now that the dust settled from one of the wildest league trade deadlines in recent memory, it's time to sift through the futures market and see if there's any possible value. Sportsbook Review's Jon Metler already shared three teams to bet on to win the NBA Finals, so let's focus on other markets for this one.
Here are our best NBA futures picks (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Check out our NBA MVP odds and NBA Finals odds.
NBA Futures Picks
- Milwaukee Bucks to finish as No. 1 seed (+210 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
- L.A. Clippers to win the Pacific Division (+330 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐
- L.A. Lakers to make the playoffs (+245 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
Milwaukee Bucks to finish as No. 1 seed (+210 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
Metler favors the Bucks to win the NBA Finals (spoiler), and I agree with him. It feels like we forgot about the 2021 champion after other teams made bigger moves, such as the Phoenix Suns landing power forward Kevin Durant. While Milwaukee's +600 price to win the title gets my money, let me make the case for a different (but related) bet.
DraftKIngs currently has the Boston Celtics at -255 as the the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, while the Bucks are listed at +210. The Celtics (39-16) have been the NBA's best team for much of the season, but shouldn't have an implied probability of 71.83% to finish atop the East in the regular-season standings.
Oddsmakers believe the Bucks (38-17) have no shot, but they're currently only one game back. Milwaukee, which acquired power forward Jae Crowder at the deadline, won nine in a row and faces Boston Tuesday. These odds could move quickly, especially with Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown out indefinitely due to a facial fracture.
With the Brooklyn Nets no longer in the picture, it's a two-team race in the East and I'm betting on the best player in the league.
L.A. Clippers to win the Pacific Division (+330 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐
The Suns vaulted into favorite status, as they're now the Western Conference's frontrunner and second in the NBA Finals market. So why do I argue for the Clippers to win the division over Phoenix? For one, the Suns' -155 price tag seems a bit inflated in a Pacific Division anyone can win.
As of early February, the Sacramento Kings are atop the division standings with a 31-23 record. The Clippers are two games back, while the Suns are just 2.5 back. Even the Warriors (3.5 matchups behind) aren't completely out of the race.
FanDuel favor Phoenix with a -155 listing, followed by the Clippers (+330), Kings (+440), and Warriors (+1200). The Suns have a great long-term outlook after landing Durant to create a superteam, but we might overrate how quickly everything clicks for them.
With about 25 games left in the regular season, let's take a +330 shot on the division's best defense.
L.A. Lakers to make the playoffs (+245 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
If you remove the Suns, the Lakers might have had the best deadline of all NBA teams. They finally shedded point guard Russell Westbrook, and suddenly have actual depth after overhauling their roster. L.A. brought in D'Angelo Russell, Mo Bamba, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Davon Reed.
Had the Lakers entered the season with this group, we might talk about the team as a potential No. 6 seed. Instead, they're hanging on for dear life as the 13th seed and need to make a push to reach the play-in tournament. L.A. is 25-31, 2.5 games back of the final play-in spot and 4.5 back of the No. 6 seed.
It is likely play-in or bust for the Lakers, but any team led by power forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis can notch a postseason berth. At +245, it's worth the risk to bet on a new-look Los Angeles squad figuring things out down the stretch.
NBA futures bets made on 2/10/2023 at 12:01 p.m. ET
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