How to Bet the 2021 NBA Draft?

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How to Bet the 2021 NBA Draft?
Top NBA draft pick Jalen Suggs. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The NBA Draft is Thursday night and it should give some nice opportunities for betting if you know where to look. Here are several types of markets you can potentially find value in for this year’s draft.

Bet Draft Positions

Betting the posted draft position for a specific player is usually the route I like to go when betting the draft. The odds for a specific player to go number one or number two are nice and we’ll touch on those in a second, but they tend to not be posted until we have a pretty good idea of who will be in those slots. This naturally makes the favorites to go in those slots pretty heavy chalk.

However, all it takes is one or two trades and a lot of these handicaps can go out the window. That could lead to some value on certain players being over or under their posted draft market, especially if you can get a sense of who is going to reach for a player, or if someone is going to fall on draft night.

Head-to-Head Futures

Another beatable market is head-to-heads. Most top sportsbooks offer markets on two players and offer odds on either of them to be drafted ahead of the other. This sometimes is more of a line shopping game. There have been instances in the past where you can arbitrage bet on these markets and make a lot of money, but you’re also limited a little more on these than typical NBA game markets, so this is by no means a get rich quick scheme.

1st-5th Overall Futures

One of the more popular draft markets are the multi-odds markets to bet on who will go in a specific spot, mostly it’s 1-5. As I mentioned earlier, by the time these odds are up on sportsbooks, the value has seemingly been bet out of them, but by following the news on the trade markets, you can sometimes beat the book to the punch.

For example, the Pistons have been fielding offers on the number one pick. They may not have said it outright, but the fact that they have not come out and said they are drafting Cade Cunningham yet is suspect. They are essentially telling the rest of the league that they are willing to listen if someone wants to move up to grab Cunningham, or maybe even Jalen Green or Evan Mobley. It’s not a done deal, so if you can move fast enough with the news, these odds may have some value left in them if there is a major deal.

Evan Mobley #4 of the USC Trojans. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

Total Trades

I’ve only seen this market at a handful of books but right now BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) has the first round trade total at 6.5 with -150 juice on the over and +110 on the under. This is only trades that happen once the first round starts, so there could be some value on the under if deals get done Wednesday or even Thursday leading up to the draft.

Trades always happen once we get later into the first round, so there could be a flurry of action once we get deeper into the draft, but if there is a lot of action leading up to the draft, there could be under value here.