With the 2020 NBA Draft a week away, it’s time to dig into potential value wagers in the NBA betting markets. By looking at the publicly available mock drafts, we can get an idea of how likely it is that someone will be available at each draft pick. For example, most sportsbooks have Anthony Edwards as the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mock drafts, however, tell a bit of a different story. There are a few different directions you can go, depending on the type of bet you are looking to make. There are myriad options for NBA Draft prop bets and NBA picks — let’s get into some of them.
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You can start with something simple. FanDuel Sportsbook has Edwards Over 1.5 listed at +126. If Edwards is not the first pick, this bet is a winner. Based on the survival analysis of the mock drafts, Edwards is around 40% to be the first pick. The odds imply his chances are better than 50%. Even if the truth lies somewhere in the middle, I believe there is still value in this line.
Now, if you want to take this in a different direction, you can bet against Edwards by taking other players. Currently, you can take James Wiseman at +155 to be drafted before Edwards. I looked at some of the mock drafts that I respect more than others (Chad Ford, Kevin O’Connor, Ricky O’Donnell, Jonathan Wasserman and Babcock Hoops). Four of those mock drafts have Wiseman going second to the Warriors. It would surprise me to see Edwards go to the Warriors. He is just not about who a team with two All-NBA level guards should be taking in a year they are trying to win a title. If LaMelo Ball hears his name called as the No. 1 pick, I expect to see Wiseman taken before Edwards.
Based on the mock drafts, there is a sizeable chance that Edwards will be available at No. 3. As of today, Edwards is available at No. 3 roughly 30% of the time. If you think his floor is the third pick, you would be willing to take anything in the +325 range or better. FanDuel Sportsbook has Edwards at +1060 to be the third overall pick. He is also +1600 to be selected fourth if you want to buy a little additional insurance. The +1060 implies a 9-10% chance at being that pick, ignoring juice. That is a bit off from the consensus of the mock drafts. As I mentioned before, even if we assume the mocks are overestimating the chances, the gap is too big to be ignored.
Now, if you are looking to get away from Edwards, I think there is some value betting against Deni Avdija’s draft position using the following two bets. The first three NBA picks (Ball, Wiseman, Edwards) appear to be set in stone in some order. This means that barring trades, Avdija would need to be selected by the Bulls at No. 4. Using the mock drafts, Avdija is available after the fourth pick just shy of half of the time. It might not be a ton of value, but getting +120 is good enough for me. Instead of betting on Avdija directly, you can also use someone like Obi Toppin to extract value. Mock drafts are looking at Avdija vs. Toppin like a coin flip. Both Avdija and Toppin have 20% chances of being available after the sixth pick, which means most of their selections happen in the 4-6 range. Multiple mocks, like Ricky O’Donnell and Babcock Hoops, have Toppin being selected before Avdija. With similar chances of survival, I will happily take my chances on Toppin at +170 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
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