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Next season, will the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers add to their league-leading all-time totals for NBA championship titles? Do the current NBA futures odds make it worth considering other teams like the Nets, Suns, or Bucks to make a run for the Larry O’Brien trophy?
The National Basketball Association’s popularity is evident in its becoming one of the world’s biggest pro sports leagues by revenue. However, if you’re new to basketball betting, then NBA futures bets may seem as challenging as becoming a 3-peat NBA champion. Fortunately, learning the basics can increase your chance of making successful bets.
If you’re looking for a safe and legal online sportsbook like MaximBet.com, we can help you with NBA futures bets. Read on to learn what futures bets are, how to read futures bets, and popular types of NBA futures bets. We’ll also explain how to make futures bets and how to hedge futures bets.
NBA Futures Odds: How to Bet
Futures bets are based on future events or seasons where multiple events may happen to determine the outcome. They’re common in multi-part parlays and popular in pro leagues like the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA.
NBA wagering Conference Winners options include the NBA futures odds market for amateur and professional bettors.
The biggest futures bet is the NBA championship known as the NBA Finals. Every June, the outcome is decided in a best-of-seven matchup. A team wins the series by winning four games.
Oddsmakers adjust the figures for this 12-month betting odds market due to considerations of various events that affect the NBA championship odds, including:
- Free agent signings
Oddsmakers release the opening futures odds around the end of the current season. These odds are for all 30 teams in the pro basketball league, which include:
- Atlanta Hawks
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- Charlotte Hornets
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Dallas Mavericks
- Denver Nuggets
- Detroit Pistons
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Indiana Pacers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Miami Heat
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New Orleans Pelicans
- New York Knicks
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Phoenix Suns
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Sacramento Kings
- San Antonio Spurs
- Toronto Raptors
- Utah Jazz
- Washington Wizards
You have a better chance of getting bigger payouts from NBA futures if you bet on a longshot team. However, it’s tougher to win such bets due to today’s teams quickly building title contenders and dynasties through free agency.
Besides considering underdogs, you can also get bigger payouts by betting early. For example, in August 2018, the Toronto Raptors, founded in 1995, had +750 odds to win the NBA championship.
They won it all by defeating the Golden State Warriors 4-2 in the finals. It was the team’s first championship win.
Interestingly, the Canadian team was still underdogs when the championship series started and then became favorites in the last week of the series.
This example shows how NBA futures odds can provide less value as the season unfolds and the player talent is on display. Toronto’s stars during the 2019 season included forward Kawhi Leonard and point guard Kyle Lowry.
The futures betting market for the NBA championship is the largest in terms of bets and money. Bettors also have other opportunities, however, to place bets in the NBA futures market. Here are the primary options:
- Eastern Conference Finals
- Western Conference Finals
NBA Division Winners
You can also make bets on futures odds for specific player awards, including:
- Most Valuable Player (MVP)
- Rookie of the Year
It can be challenging to pick such award winners since they’re based on subjective opinions instead of team records.
Sportswriters vote to determine the individual player awards. Their votes could be based on factors like which statistics they think are the most critical.
NBA Finals Odds to Win
The opening odds appear in the offseason for all 30 NBA teams to win the NBA championship. These numbers change throughout the season based on several factors like regular season results.
It’s not easy to lock in a winning big-ticket bet based on NBA Finals odds. Still, doing enough research can help you find an underperforming team that started slow but has a shot to win it all by getting hot in the playoffs, for example.
Make sure to weigh factors affecting the NBA regular season and a team’s chances to win the NBA Finals.
Oddsmakers may adjust odds when the playoff brackets are set. Certain teams can have an easier or tougher path to the pro hoops title.
Here’s an example of NBA championship odds in American odds:
In this example, you must bet $100 to win $250.
The same line in fractional odds would appear as:
At MaximBet.com, you can bet on major pro sports leagues throughout the year. This feature provides your sports betting with more flexibility.
NBA Futures Bets: What Are the Most Popular Types?
The most common NBA futures bets offered include:
Division or Conference Winner
You can bet whether the Bucks will win their division, for example, or whether the LA Lakers will win the Western Conference.
The most popular team-based features include picking the NBA champion, conference winner, or division winner. Two conferences make up the NBA. Each NBA conference has three divisions containing five teams each.
In recent years, the NBA changed its postseason system. Based on the past system, division winners were guaranteed playoff spots and at least a No. 4 seed in playoff brackets based on regular season results.
In 2015, the pro league announced that the top eight teams from each conference would qualify for the NBA playoffs. These teams could be division winners, but it was no longer a requirement.
The 2020 season reduced the postseason’s automatic bids to the top six teams in each conference. The NBA’s Board of Governors also added a play-in tournament for seeds seven to ten.
This option lets you select which team you think will win the NBA Finals this year. You can select one of the favorites, an up-and-coming contender, or a one-in-a-million longshot.
Take into account teams with current hot players like power forward Zion Williamson of New Orleans, for example. Head coaches like Gregg “Pop” Popovich (San Antonio) are another factor to consider.
Placing bets early in the season on the projected NBA champ can give you “long odds” (poor chance of winning) but bigger payouts. You can even get bigger payouts from league favorites like the Nets and Lakers, for instance, if you bet during the preseason.
Make sure to take preseason reports from NBA media with a grain of salt, especially those about the likelihood of superteams winning it all.
Note that in major league sports like the NBA, it’s not uncommon for preseason favorites not to win the title.
While a big preseason favorite can still win it all, unlikely results are always possible in the world of basketball since “the ball is round.”
Making the Playoffs
This NBA futures bet requires you to bet on NBA playoff odds and the teams likely to make the postseason.
For example, consider whether point guard Chris Paul can usher his squad to postseason games. Can a longshot sneak into the playoffs after a mediocre regular season?
One factor to consider is the new NBA playoff format launched for the 2020 season. It includes play-in games to determine the final seeds.
Here’s how it works. The league’s top six seeds in each conference earn a spot in the playoffs. Meanwhile, seeds seven to ten participate in a mini tournament to determine the last two spots.
NBA Futures for Players
These NBA futures bets are on which players will win various individual awards, including:
- Most Valuable Player (MVP)
- Rookie of the Year
- Defensive Player award
- Most Improved Player
- Sixth Man
These bets can include various candidates such as:
- LeBron James
- Kevin Durant
- Anthony Davis
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- James Harden
- Russell Westbrook
Futures Bets: Hedging and Resources
Hedging NBA Futures Bets
Hedging bets is a strategy of placing a second wager against the original bet when you’re unsure if the bet’s outcome will be a win.
For example, you can hedge an NBA futures bet by placing two bets on the NBA championship winner or MVP winner.
Bet hedging provides “insurance,” so you can still win money if one of your bets loses. Yes, you'll have a smaller payout. Still, this can be an outstanding option if you think there’s a good chance your bet on a conference champion won’t hit, for example.
When hedging a futures bet, you’ll be making two long-term bets that use a moneyline. In other words, you’re betting whether or not an event will happen.
If you use a hedging strategy, you can win a bet or lose less money. Remember that placing another bet requires you to pay more vigorish or “juice,” which will affect your maximum profit.
Learning How to Make NBA Bets
You can find several online resources that provide guidance about making NBA bets, including futures bets.
When placing NBA futures bets, make sure to do your homework, practice responsible gambling, and have fun.
Contact us today at MaximBet.com to learn more about betting futures in the NBA.