Betting on the NBA Draft

Betting on sports usually means wagering on games. However, a lot goes on during the off-season, and events like free agency, hirings and firings, and particularly drafts also present betting opportunities.

While it might not be as fun to brag to friends that you nailed the No. 6 overall pick, the money for a correct prediction is just as green as picking the Super Bowl winner.

So, what should we expect in tomorrow’s NBA Draft?

Winslow and Mudiay O/U:

There are few certainties heading into Thursday. Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns will likely be picked first, but Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, or even Latvian Kristaps Porzingis could hear their name called first by the Wolves. What does seem clear is that the aforementioned quartet, plus Justise Winslow (Duke) and Emmanuel Mudiay (China), will be the first six names off the board.

Interestingly, the over/under on Winslow and Mudiay’s draft position is six. While you have to lay significant juice on Mudiay’s under, Winslow can be had for little or no penalty. Both are appealing bets because the likelihood of winning both far outweighs the chances of losing twice. One may push, but the other bet should be a winner. Even if something goes awry, and Winslow is picked outside of the first half dozen, so long as Mudiay hits the top five, you don’t lose any cash.

Kaminsky and Lyles O/U:

Two other players to keep an eye on are NCAA Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky and UK’s Trey Lyles. Kaminsky led Wisconsin past the Wildcats in the Final Four while Lyles is one of six (maybe seven) Kentucky players who should get drafted. Both players have draft position over/under’s of 12.5.

Both bigs fall in line somewhere after Towns, Okafor, and Porzingis. They should be picked in the vicinity of Kentucky defensive stopper Willie Cauley-Stein, Texas’ uber-athlete Myles Turner, and Arkansas’ versatile Bobby Portis. While NBA teams talk a lot about selecting the best player available, not every team in this year’s lottery wants a 4 or 5.

Because the top six are pretty close to settled, and it would be surprising if Croatia’s Mario Hezonja and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson aren’t scooped up in the first dozen picks, there just aren’t that many slots for Kaminsky and Lyles to be taken. The juice is high on the Lyles over, but that is not the case with Kaminsky. Again, betting both overs looks like it should produce at least one winner, and the chances of winning both seem better than losing both.

But, as with wagering on any sport in any capacity, there are no guarantees!

Until next time, best of luck out there, draft fans.

(Photo Credit: bikeride from Canton, CT, USA (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)