No offense to the fans in Cleveland, but it's time to move on for the other 29 teams in their chase to win a world title starting with this Thursday night's NBA Draft. The Philadelphia 76ers are first on the clock and expected to take LSU standout Ben Simmons with that top pick. Most NBA draft gurus also have Duke forward Brandon Ingram going second to the Los Angeles Lakers, but after that all bets are off.
I guess that should be rephrased to "all bets are on' with some special NBA Draft props on the board at TopBet. This gives NBA betting fans one last chance to cash in on some action before the long offseason officially sets in.
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2016 NBA Draft: Player Selected Higher
After Simmons and Ingram are expected to come off the board first and second, the debate rages on as to which top NBA prospect goes third. In a group of four, TopBet has set the odds for Jamal Murray at +170 followed by Kris Dunn at +180, Dragan Bender at +250 and Buddy Hield at +450.
The third pick belongs to Boston, and many of the current NBA mock drafts have the Celtics taking Dunn, a 6-foot-4 point guard out of Providence. He has the potential to be a big-time player on offense, and his defensive skills at the other end of the court are very attractive to a Celtics' team that was ranked 13th in the NBA last season in points allowed.
Also in the mix could be Murray as the No. 3-ranked player in the draft by Scout. He is also a 6-foot-4 guard from Kentucky that would fit in nicely with Boston's plans. Bender should fall a bit deeper in the first round, according to many of the mock drafts, and when it comes to Hield's draft position most NBA experts consider him a reach at No. 3 with an overall ranking of No. 7 by Scout.
The one monkey wrench in this prop could be a potential trade out of the No. 3 spot by Boston, but on face value alone I would have to go with Dunn's slightly favorable +180 betting odds as my top pick of the four.
2016 NBA Draft: Denzel Valentine
TopBet has released prop bet odds for the "over/under" on former Michigan State forward Denzel Valentine's draft position at +160 for under 17.5 and at -200 for over 17.5.
Quite a few of the top NBA mock drafts are in agreement that the Detroit Pistons pull the trigger on Valentine with the 18th overall pick of the opening round. This makes some sense given his local roots along with his overall skill set on both ends of the court. His current rating by Scout falls to No. 22, adding a bit more weight to him going later in the first round than 17.One of the glaring weak points that question his game's ability to translate to the next level is lack of speed, and he has even been referred to by some basketball experts as "unathletic".
I still believe that Valentine is a first-round talent in the NBA, but I do agree with most of the mock drafts that the earliest he will go is 18 th, making a play of the "over 17.5" at -200 as my top pick.
2016 NBA Draft: Marcus Paige
The betting odds that 6-foot point guard Marcus Paige out of North Carolina gets drafted on Thursday night in the first 60 picks are set at +130 for "yes" and -160 for "no".
There is no doubt that Paige is a bubble pick in this draft. I have yet to come across a mock draft that has him being selected in the first 60 players, but this does not mean that I would rule out some team taking a shot on him with a late second-round pick.
Some of Paige's strong points, such as the ability to run an offense and operate as a true team player, are very attractive at the next level. He also has a nice touch from 3-point range, which is a plus. Size is an issue, and it always will be with Paige, but I am going to say that his pros outweigh his cons and go with a play on the favorable +130 odds that he does get taken in the draft.
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