Gambling: A look at some NBA future bets at the All-Star break

While Mondays are typically the day of the week where the FTN Bets team and I provide early NBA lines to target, this week is a bit different. With the All-Star Game done on Sunday, the NBA is on a hiatus until Wednesday, giving us no games to bet on. The break, however, is the perfect time to revisit some NBA future bets and see if there’s still value in lines that shifted.

Below are two NBA award futures that I am targeting with my favorite values at this point in the season. Odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.

MVP Award

Current favorite: Joel Embiid, PHI (+200)

Embiid has done everything possible to put himself in a good position to win this award, and if the season ended today, he would deserve it. There just isn’t enough justification at his +200 odds to bet him over LeBron James, the narrative darling of the NBA media, at +250.

By individual measure — especially relative to his age (36) — LeBron is having an MVP-caliber season, posting 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game while playing nearly 35 minutes per game. He’s also posting his highest effective field-goal percentage (59.1) and 3-point percentage (35.8) since 2017-18.

You’d think that he’d be the betting favorite given these numbers and the favor he draws from the media, but that’s not the case thanks to the Lakers’ 24-13 record (third in the West). They’ve experienced their share of struggles without Anthony Davis, but with Davis expected back in the second half of the season, we should see them surge back to the top of the conference, where they’re only 3.5 games back of the Utah Jazz. If the Lakers are able to secure the top spot in the West and make a push there before Davis comes back, it’s hard to envision James not finishing the season as the betting favorite, making him a value I want to hop on early.

Most Improved Player Award

Current favorite: Jerami Grant, DET (-250)

Grant has been phenomenal this season, posting career highs in points per game (23.4), rebounds per game (5.3), assists per game (2.9), and field-goal attempts per game (17.8). While a bump in production was expected when he came from Denver and signed with Detroit to be “the man,” this leap is impressive. Being a -250 favorite, however, is a bit too juiced for my taste. While I think he deserves to be the favorite, this isn’t quite a runaway yet.

Jaylen Brown (+1,000) would be my top value, as he’s posted career highs across the board but unlike Grant, has helped his team maintain a position to make the playoffs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with career highs in points (23.2), assists (6.2), 3-point percentage (41.2), and field-goal percentage (51.6) is my favorite overall long shot, as his +3,300 odds are far too low assuming he continues this level of play or even improves.

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