The Betting Odds Have Arrived!

The NBA is going back to its traditional 82-game schedule beginning in mid-October this year after a couple years of fragmented and shortened seasons. In anticipation of this, futures odds have already come out and boy, aren’t they provocative! It’s interesting to see how bookmakers are thinking about the coming season and it also creates openings for interesting narratives to be written long before the season even begins.

For instance, futures odds on the NBA MVP were released, with Luka Doncic leading the pack at +400. This is really interesting, seeing as defending NBA regular season and Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokoumpo is at +800, which makes a repeat MVP performance twice as profitable as a Doncic win would.

However, looking at the list of candidates creates a lot of dialogue about where to maximize profit. Case in point, Julius Randle of the New York Knicks has relatively long odds to win the MVP at +6600. That said, it creates a dialogue of whether he could pull off the impossible. After all, his season last year was leaps and bounds better than he first season in New York, winning the Most Improved Player award. Also, he’s the team’s #1 option in probably the most highly scrutinized sports market in the country. 

Also, the odds feature three Los Angeles Lakers teammates all in the Top 15 (LeBron James [+1400], Anthony Davis [+2500] and Russell Westbrook [+2500]). Obviously, the MVP award can’t be split three ways, but with two former MVPs in that group (James and Westbrook), would it make sense to put money on Davis completing the trio? In my opinion, it wouldn’t. Personally, I have a hard time believing that any of the three will challenge for the award, if only for the fact that each of the three are so good that none of them will be able to emerge from the other’s spotlight.

This is just one example of why I love the release of new futures odds: it provokes discussion about how the coming season will go, who will stand out and why putting your money on the favorite isn’t necessarily the way to go. This year, however, it might be.

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