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LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks down as we look at the latest 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament odds.
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers during play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Arena on January 15, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images via AFP.

We're making our NBA trade deadline predictions based on the best NBA odds from our best sports betting sites ahead of Thursday's deadline.

Amid the focus on the latest Super Bowl odds and the always intriguing Super Bowl prop bet odds, it's simple to overlook the NBA trade deadline on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. However, dismissing it would be an oversight, as it signifies the conclusion of one of the prime periods for NBA bettors searching for speculative value in the futures market.  

It can also be an immensely thrilling period. Last year's deadline witnessed one of the most significant trades in NBA history, as the Brooklyn Nets traded superstar Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. This move led our best sportsbooks to dramatically reduce the Suns' NBA Finals odds, despite their already apparent status as frontrunners to acquire Durant in the days and weeks before the trade.  

In addition to our deep dive into the latest NBA next team odds, here's a look at our NBA trade deadline predictions and best NBA picks (odds via our best NBA betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Best bets to make before NBA trade deadline

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NBA trade deadline predictions

Thunder to win the NBA Finals (+2200 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

This is shaping up to be one of the quieter NBA trade deadlines in recent memory, as there aren't any clear superstars in distress or teams ducking the tax by dumping multiple championship-caliber players.

That said, in a market without many buyers, the Thunder are as well-positioned as any club to strike ahead of Thursday's deadline. Oklahoma City has 14 first-round picks over the next seven years and a roster that has already surged to the No. 1 seed in the West entering this week.

I don't mind a bet on the Thunder to finish with the NBA's best record (+2000 via DraftKings), especially considering they're just +330 to claim the No. 1 seed in the West. I also don't hate a bet on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to win MVP (+250 via DraftKings), as he's currently second on the board by our latest look at the NBA MVP odds.

Those bets hold worthwhile value already and, in some cases, have been screaming value for weeks. If OKC makes a surprise splash at the deadline? These +2200 odds via DraftKings to win the title - which are far better than the market-worst +1600 odds via Caesars - will be long gone.

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Lakers to miss the playoffs (+110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

The Lakers always find their name in the headlines ahead of the NBA trade deadline, as they're one of the league's biggest brands and have shown a willingness to take big swings in the past. We saw that last year, when Los Angeles rebuilt its roster at the deadline and made a run to the Western Conference Finals.

This year, though, the Lakers seemingly don't have the movable assets to improve their roster without giving up Austin Reaves, which would defeat the purpose. There are also rumblings about LeBron James getting traded ahead of an uncertain summer - something his agent has flatly denied.

If this team does stand pat at the deadline, which feels like the likeliest outcome at this point, it's hard to see the Lakers having the pieces for another deep run. Los Angeles currently ranks 20th in net rating (minus-1.1) and sits in 10th place in a loaded Western Conference.

Even so, the Lakers are still favored to make the playoffs, at least via the NBA Play-In Tournament odds, which feels like a hedge against a blockbuster move. Time is running out for that to happen, and I'd be surprised if this price lasts much past the deadline.

Wizards to finish with fewest regular-season wins (+750 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

This is one of my favorite futures bets across any of our best sports betting apps, and it has everything to do with the impending trade deadline.

Entering this week, the Detroit Pistons (6-43) have the three-game "lead" on the Washington Wizards (9-40) for the worst record in the NBA. In theory, both teams should be firmly in sellers' territory amid another lost season.

Instead, the Pistons are reportedly reluctant to move their top pieces and may even try to add Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, who played in Detroit from 2015-18. Meanwhile, the Wizards could be the week's biggest sellers, especially if they can fetch a nice price for perennial deadline target Kyle Kuzma.

Detroit has been historically awful this season, but Washington has been similarly bad and could be even worse in a few days. This is the perfect time to make this bet.

Here are our best NBA betting sites:

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