Finding Value in Betting the NBA Draft

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 7:15 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017 7:15 PM UTC

The NBA does a masterful job of spreading out its offseason with big events, and the first one of the summer is Thursday's draft. It will be once-in-a lifetime night for 60 young men, and what better way to celebrate that than to make some money off where these guys go in the draft?

Picking Your Spots

Betting on the NBA Draft is tricky and several sportsbooks offer variations of standard and unique prop bets you can make. Some of them are complete sucker wagers.

For instance, Bovada has a total of Duke, Kentucky and UCLA players who will be drafted in the 1st round. The wager you should make on this is WHO CARES? It’s a wild goose chance and pretty unpredictable as is.

Better wagers at books like Bovada and BetOnline have draft totals for individual players, which is a bit more predictable. On my draft betting blog this week, I have the 'under' on De’Aaron Fox at 5 and the 'under' on Caleb Swanigan at 32.5 at those two books mentioned above. So, I need Fox to be drafted somewhere between 2-4 (assuming Markelle Fultz goes No. 1) and Swanigan to go no later than the second pick of the second round.

There are several of these props that can be valuable, but it’s going to take a lot of research and Twitter watching over the next few days. Things can change in a heartbeat, and this year has already seen one trade.


Unpredictability Factors

This is a very interesting draft. Not only is there a good crop of talent at all prospect levels, there are deals being rumored all over the place. After losing to the super-team Warriors, the Cavaliers have been tied to Jimmy Butler and Paul George, and at least for Butler there would almost have to be another team in the mix there.

Not only that, the draft in itself is unpredictable, but also weighing in the possibility of player trades and pick swaps, this may be even more of a wild night. George’s agent and the Pacers have apparently said they want to get a trade of George done before the draft, but that doesn’t ultimately mean anything until someone advances past just talking.

All this being said, while there are some spots you can make some money on in this year’s draft, 2017 stands to be pretty unpredictable. One or two trades in the first round and guys start shooting up and down the board depending on the complexity.

We’ve seen it time and again over the years. Some years are pretty straight forward, like last season, and others, like this year’s draft, could be wild. That is why it’ a good idea to limit your draft betting to just a pick or two to make it interesting, but it’s not something you want to heavily invest in. 

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