5 NBA Bets to Jump On Before Draft, Free Agency Tilt Odds
The Toronto Raptors took care of business against the banged-up Golden State Warriors, winning the 2019 NBA title in six games.
But it’s never too late to look ahead to next season, and there’s some serious value on the board when considering how free agency – which begins June 30 – could affect a few teams’ 2019-20 season NBA betting odds.
NBA 2019-20 Season Title Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+700|
|Golden State Warriors||+700|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1400|
|New York Knicks||+2500|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+2500|
Can Raptors Retain Kawhi and Repeat?
The Raptors will have all but two players under contract this offseason from their championship-winning roster. Danny Green could stay or go – the Raptors are incredibly deep on the wing – but the other is Kawhi Leonard, the 2019 NBA Finals MVP who staked his claim as a top-three player in the league with his historic postseason.
It would surprise no one if Leonard headed West and joined the Lakers or Clippers, or joined the New York Knicks, but it’s tough to see him not wanting to run it back in Toronto and try for a repeat. If he chooses a short-term deal to stay in Toronto, the Raptors’ +700 odds will shorten and they’ll likely become the favorites.
Plus, the Raptors would have plenty of cap space if Leonard departs in free agency. Toronto will obviously be a destination for a big-name free agent given its roster makeup and status as NBA champs. The Raptors could repeat and pay off for NBA bettors even without Leonard.
Lakers Should Contend With LeBron, AD
We’re going to safely assume that Anthony Davis will join the Los Angeles Lakers in the very near future. If that’s the case, a combination of LeBron James and Davis becomes arguably the best healthy 1-2 punch in basketball (get better soon, KD). The Lakers could also get creative and make room for a maximum free agent like Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler.
The Western Conference opened up in the last 72 hours with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson suffering significant leg injuries – we’re avoiding Golden State’s +700 odds like the plague – which means teams will be ultra-aggressive in building contenders. It’s even more important on a team with a 34-year-old LeBron James and looking for its first playoff berth since 2013.
If the Lakers can nab Davis and somehow hang on to either the No. 4 pick or Kyle Kuzma, then add a big name in free agency, their core will be among the best in the NBA. Veterans will want to come play in L.A. at a discount for a shot at a ring.
The Lakers are going to contend this season. Getting them at +700 before the Davis trade and any free-agent signings is great value.
Clips Are Contenders With Kawhi Leonard
The L.A. Clippers were the West’s biggest surprise in 2019, winning 48 games after dealing their leading scorer (Tobias Harris) and taking a healthy Warriors team to six games in the first round of the playoffs. Most of their core will return next season – Patrick Beverley is an important free agent – and they’ll have room to sign a max free agent. That, of course, could be Kawhi Leonard, who has been linked to the Clippers for more than a year.
The Clips would become instant contenders in the West if they can roll out a core of Leonard, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They’re excellent value at +1400 right now for no reason other than landing Leonard is a very real possibility.
Sixers Remain on Rise for 2019-20 Season
The Philadelphia 76ers quietly have a critical offseason in front of them. Both midseason acquisitions – Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler – are free agents along with J.J. Redick and Mike Scott. Our guess is that the Sixers retain those last two and one of the max players in Harris or Butler. Even if they lose both, they’ll roll out the red carpet for free agents who would entertain the idea of playing with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
General manager Elton Brand was outstanding in his first year, so it’s safe to bet on him putting together a quality offseason. Plus, this is a team only getting better with its young core intact. Simmons and Embiid will come back better than ever ready to help Philadelphia (+1000) contend in the top-heavy East.
Nets in Great Position for Offseason
Looking for the best value on the board? How about a 42-win team, in a major market, bringing most of its pieces back and having two maximum slots in free agency? The Brooklyn Nets are just +2500 but could see a massive jump if Kyrie Irving signs.
Brooklyn could very well still sign Kevin Durant but it won’t have any impact on the 2020 season. That’s the main reason they’re still a longshot. But adding Irving in an East that’s not terribly daunting – and potentially another max player alongside him – gives the Nets a shot. They’re worth a long look at their current odds, which will shrink if Irving chooses Brooklyn.