After NBA Free-Agent Frenzy, Who's Worth Betting On?

July 01, 2019 - 9:06 am

By Eli Hershkovich

NBA free agency tipped off with a bang Sunday evening, thanks to arguably 18 of the top 20 available players finding new homes.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving began the madness by signing with the Brooklyn Nets, and the Golden State Warriors capped it off with a surprising sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell. But the Lakers (+150) remain the clear-cut favorite to win the 2020 championship with two-time NBA finals MVP Khawi Leonard possibly heading to Los Angeles.

Here are the latest NBA futures from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook:

NBA Title Odds:

  • Lakers +175
  • Bucks +650
  • 76ers 10-1
  • Warriors 10-1
  • Raptors 10-1
  • Clippers 10-1
  • Rockets 12-1
  • Jazz 16-1
  • Nuggets 18-1
  • Nets 25-1
  • Celtics 25-1
  • Thunder 30-1
  • Trail Blazers 30-1
  • Pacers 40-1
  • Mavericks 50-1
  • Spurs 50-1
  • Pelicans 50-1
  • Magic 100-1
  • Kings 100-1
  • Heat 100-1
  • Knicks 100-1
  • Suns 200-1
  • Hawks 200-1
  • Bulls 200-1
  • Timberwolves 200-1
  • Grizzlies 300-1
  • Pistons 300-1
  • Wizards 300-1
  • Cavaliers 1,000-1
  • Hornets 1,000-1

 

Which teams' title odds were affected most from the free-agent hysteria, and is there any value in the futures market? Let's dig in.

Biggest Rise: Knicks (50-1 to 100-1)
Only Knicks owner James Dolan could manage to pull off a travesty, unwilling to offer Durant a four-year, $164 million max contract because of his ruptured Achilles. Instead, New York signed forward Julius Randle, who generated 21.4 points per game in New Orleans last season. It’s still
another strikeout after failing to land the first overall pick-turned-Zion Williamson, forcing sportsbooks to adjust to their odds considerably.

Biggest Drop: Heat, Kings (200-1 to 100-1)
Philadelphia-turned-Miami forward Jimmy Butler went from yearning a title to planning a Dwayne Wade-like retirement in South Beach. But oddsmakers were positioned to lower their title odds once the star shifted cities. A similar effect occurred with Sacramento, as Harrison Barnes, Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon signing with the Kings dropped their futures as well.

Title Lean: 76ers (from 16-1 to 10-1)
Philadelphia’s odds should decrease slightly if Leonard signs with any team besides the Lakers, presenting value if you’re willing to bet beforehand.

Granted, the 76ers have floor-spacing issues with sharpshooter J.J. Reddick off to New Orleans. Despite retaining wing Tobias Harris, those problems could persist if Ben Simmons’ jumper fails to progress. But Philadelphia now possesses the Eastern Conference’s premier defensive lineup, representing one of three teams to boast at least two players with top-20 defensive win shares last season (Simmons, Joel Ebmiid). Newly-signed Al Horford (2.9) wasn’t too far behind.

Don’t forget about ex-Heat guard Josh Richardson, who’s showcased Butler-like potential and caps off a 76ers’ lineup with no one shorter than 6-foot-6.

The Nets need another year to reach their full potential without Durant, and the Bucks should regress a bit defensively minus Malcolm Brodgen (traded to the Indiana Pacers). Even if Leonard returns to the Raptors, Philadelphia will be one of the favorites to win the East. Were it to earn a
trip to the NBA Finals, it becomes all about hedging.

Follow Eli Hershkovich on Twitter, @EliHershkovich.