And you thought the NBA betting season was finished? Not so fast, my friend. Bovada has rolled out a handful of props for Thursday night’s NBA Draft, the official end to the basketball season (although we are treated to Olympic basketball this year).
This year’s draft has zero drama at the top: The New Orleans Hornets hit the jackpot by moving up in the draft lottery last month and will take Kentucky stud big man Anthony Davis at No. 1 overall. It’s the perfect building block for the Hornets, who were essentially forced to trade Chris Paul before last season while still owned by the NBA.
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In fact, New Orleans is already building around Davis, having traded center Emeka Okafor (thus clearing that spot for Davis to start from Day 1) and forward Trevor Ariza to the Wizards for Rashard Lewis and Washington’s No. 46 overall pick. Yes, the Wizards got the two best players in this deal, but the Hornets will buy out Lewis and now have tons of cap room to re-sign guard Eric Gordon (the key piece coming to New Orleans in the Paul trade) and add another potential big-time free agent.
The drama definitely begins with the second overall pick, belonging to the sad-sack Charlotte Bobcats. They finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history last year and are a mess, so you almost had to feel sorry for the team when it didn’t win the lottery with a 25 percent chance. But, then again, the team with the NBA’s worst record almost never wins the lottery.
One prop on the site is which player will go at No. 2 overall. There’s some talk Charlotte is open to trading down from that spot if it gets extra picks. But the favorite at -200 to go No. 2 overall (to whichever team is there) is Kansas star Thomas Robinson. One hot rumor has Cleveland trading up to No. 2 to get ahead of Washington and grab Florida guard Bradley Beal. I would actually take the ‘any other player but Robinson’ at No. 2 at +150. I think that trade happens (Cavs would send No. 4 and No. 24 overall to Charlotte).
Beal is projected as the third favorite at -200 to go No. 3 overall, and there’s no question the Wizards want him there. They have essentially four of their five starters set in Nene, Okafor, Ariza and point guard John Wall. That leaves a gaping hole at shooting guard. If you bet on Beal here, you are betting on the Cavs deciding not to trade up.
So who goes No. 4 overall? Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the -150, followed by North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes at +150 and ‘any other player’ at +150. It seems like Barnes’ stock is rising right now and that MKG’s is dropping a bit because he is so offensively limited. I would jump on Barnes at this price at No. 4 even if it’s not Cleveland – you know Michael Jordan loves North Carolina guys if the Bobcats drop down to No. 4.
Will any team currently in the Top 5 trade their pick? I noted the top four teams above, with Sacramento sitting at No. 5. ‘Yes,’ a trade in the top five happens is at even money, with ‘no’ at -140. I love yes. The Bobcats’ pick at No. 2 is in play and so is the Kings’ at No. 5 – I would very much expect the Houston Rockets to move up into that No. 5 spot by sending two of their three first-round picks to Sacramento. Houston, which just traded Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the No. 18 pick and now has Nos. 14, 16 and 18, doesn’t want the No. 5 pick, it wants ammunition to send Orlando for Dwight Howard.
How many Kentucky players will go in Round 1? The ‘over/under’ is 4.5, with ‘under’ at -200 and ‘over’ at +150. Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones are locks. Nearly every expert out there has point guard Marquis Teaque going somewhere in the mid-20s. So to hit the over there, you are hoping Doron Lamb goes late in Round 1. I haven’t seen one mock draft where that’s the case. Take the under.
You can also bet on Jones’ draft position, with an over/under of 17.5, with both options at -120. Nearly every mock draft has Jones going between 14-17, with many projecting he goes at No. 15 to Philadelphia. Thus, I would take the under.
The site also offers props on the draft positions of Syracuse’s Fab Melo and Kris Joseph, Michigan State’s Draymond Green, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Baylor’s Perry Jones III, Duke’s Austin Rivers and France’s Evan Fournier as well as an over/under of total seniors taken in Round 1.
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