Basketball picksMarch 11, 2021

NBA Futures Betting in the Second Half

NBA futures betting was a big focus for pro handicappers over the All-Star break. Divisional and Conference odds, and of course the odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship. I’ve looked at the top contenders as the second half gets underway, highlighting trends and tips for you to keep in mind as the stakes go up. Included are some key NBA trends for Thursday and Friday night’s matchups.


NBA Second Half Underway

As the NBA second half gets going, odds to win the 2021 NBA Finals will start to take shape. After comparing the odds at a couple of different online sportsbooks, I’ve listed the 10 teams that are paying back up to a maximum of 40-to-1. If one of the teams not on this list happens to win the NBA Finals and you call it, good on you!

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Top 10 NBA Futures Betting Odds

Topping the list is none other than the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The champs stumbled a little before the break but they have a nice matchup at home on Friday night. Odds to win the Championship are noted, along with straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records.

Los Angeles Lakers +270
Record: 24-12 SU and 16-18 ATS

The Lakers went 3-7 SU in their last 10 games before the layoff. Since Jan. 25, they are 6-13-1 ATS and at -5.8, their average line is still one of the steepest in the NBA. Indiana is first up for the Lake, and the Pacers (14-21 ATS) have the third-lowest cover rate in the league at 40 percent. Just inside the Eastern bubble, Indiana went 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS before the break. In their favor, the Pacers are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS with extra rest the past four years.

Brooklyn Nets +290
Record: 24-13 SU and 20-17 ATS

Brooklyn will play host to the Celtics Thursday night and the early line was Nets -2.5 points. Brooklyn shot 53.9 percent in a 123-95 win over the Celts Dec. 25, and they are on a 5-0 SU/ATS run, against teams they beat by double-digits in the previous meeting. All five games went OVER the total, too. The Over/Under odds are set at 234.5 points.

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NBA futures betting 2021

Los Angeles Clippers +525
Record: 23-14 SU and 19-18 ATS

The Clippers are pumped to get back on the court after three straight road losses to end the first half. They are 1-1 against the Warriors this season, who they host tonight. LA averages 115.8 points at home this season but in their past five, they sunk to just 108.4 points. Golden State also lost three in a row before the break and their shooting away from home is starting to slip. On the year, the Warriors are hitting 44.7% but during the last three, they managed to shoot only 42.1%.

Look for a much better effort from the Clippers, who were banged up before the break. Paul George, who is second on the team with 23.7 PPG could be the difference maker. The total, however, could come down to how Steph Curry performs. Curry is posting a 47.8% shooting percentage overall, and 29.7 PPG, but he had 38 points in one game against the Warriors and just 13 in the other.

Milwaukee Bucks +750
Record: 22-14 SU and 16-19-1 ATS

The Bucks are 6-2 straight up with extra rest but they’ve only outscored opponents 111-109. That’s nowhere near the 11-point chalk they’re laying here, but the total might interest you.

  • Double-digit dogs that are well-rested have played OVER at a rate of 79 percent (26-7), when coming off a home win.

New York was home to the Pistons on March 4, beating them 114-104 and covering the 7-point line.

Utah Jazz +800
Record: 27-9 SU and 25-11 ATS

Based on their incredible 20-1 run from Jan. 8 to Feb. 17, the Jazz are now projected to win 53-54 games straight up. Utah was 19-2 ATS during that hot streak but they went into the break on a 1-3 SU/ATS slide. All four games went OVER and the Jazz rank No. 1 in 3-pointers made (17.1) and attempted (42.8) per game. Utah will host the 11-23 Rockets Friday. Bottom feeders in the West, Houston has lost 12 in a row and trail the Jazz by 15 games.

Philadelphia 76ers +1400
Record: 24-12 SU and 17-18-1 ATS

True to their roots, the Sixers are showing up on value charts across the NBA futures betting board. That’s despite their slim lead atop the Eastern conference, and it has a lot more to do with the teams chasing them down. Philly’s 131-123 comeback win against the Jazz before the break has this team poised for a run and they start with the Bulls and Wizards. Both are on the road, and I should note that the Sixers are just 4-10 ATS their past 14 away from home.

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Denver Nuggets +2700
Record: 21-15 SU and 17-18-1 ATS

Denver is listed at 8-1 to win the Northwest, and 15-1 to win the Western Conference. They return on Friday against a Grizzlies team that manhandled Washington last night, 127-112. This will be an interesting line. The Nuggs (.583) have a better win percentage and more rest, but the recent history for road teams in this scenario is just 4-12-1 ATS. Denver went into the break at fourth in the league for scoring with 115.9 points.

Boston Celtics +3100
Record: 19-17 SU and 17-19 ATS

Boston covered three-straight games before the break and with extra rest, the Celtics (10-2 ATS) have the league’s best record with extra rest. Boston is also 23-11 ATS as a dog the past two seasons.

Phoenix Suns +3200
Record: 24-11 SU and 23-12 ATS

The Suns caught fire at the end of January and since then, they possess the league’s best record both straight up and ATS. Phoenix is 15-4 (.789) in its past 19, going 16-3 ATS (84%). The Suns will mess with Portland tonight at 10 pm ET and they walloped the Blazers 132-100 on Feb. 22

  • Road faves off an ATS win as a double-digit fave are 29-7 ATS (81%) against teams they beat by 30-plus points in the past meeting.

Phoenix has 5-1 ATS edge in this series the past six meetings.

Miami Heat +3700
Record: 18-18 SU and 16-19-1 ATS

Someone had to rank 10th and at .500, the Heat have to be considered a dark horse. Miami won seven of its past eight games SU/ATS before the break, and they return to a great matchup with Orlando (12-23) in town. Miami (-4.5) fell 113-107 when these two opened on Dec. 23 but they went 3-1 last season, including two home wins. Keep in mind, the Magic started the season 4-0 SU/ATS but they are riding a current streak of six consecutive losses.

SU = Straight up
ATS = Against the Spread
O/U = Over/Under

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