This will be the first season in NBA history where Las Vegas sports books will host prop bets for the event. That is exciting for many reasons. For starters, you can win money. Second, you can create a competition in something that really isn’t immediately competitive. Without gambling, sports are still sports. But without gambling, the draft is just the draft. It’s just not for everyone. Third, following the announcement that there are no restrictions on NBA writers tweeting out picks before they happen, this prop bets jargon might be enough to make up for the lost excitement of surprise caused by some picks.
There are a bunch of prop bets on the table for the inaugural NBA Draft gambling year, but I chose five that I thought were particularly interesting. For reference, here is the draftexpress mock draft board as of tonight.
Total number of Duke players drafted in Round 1
Over 3.5 (+145)
Under 3.5 (-165)
This seems like a no-brainer to me. Even though my number one betting commandment is that “Vegas knows more than thou,” this seems like one of those lines that is just wrong. -165 would make you pay about 32 to win 20, and that is a steal for this bet. The four players that would need to be drafted in order to lose this bet are Jayson Tatum (lock), Luke Kennard (lock), Harry Giles (eehh), and Frank Jackson (long shot). One of Giles or Jackson will not go in the first round. Take the under.
Total number of Gonzaga players drafted overall
Over 1.5 (EVEN)
Under 1.5 (-120)
Basically, what this bet is asking is whether Nigel Williams-Goss will get drafted, or not. He is currently projected as the final pick. It honestly makes me a little sad that a guy that had 16, 6, and 5 for a Final Four team might not get drafted. But, he is small, he is not necessarily young, and he isn’t necessarily fantastic at any one thing. Still, Nigel Williams-Goss is a cold-blooded killer and given a chance, he will prove worth and make a roster. Let’s take the over in hopes that Goss gets picked.
Will there be more players drafted overall from SEC or Big 12?
SEC +.5 (-150)
Big 12 -.5 (+120)
According to my very analytical and data-driven research (scrolling through DraftExpress and doing tally marks on the back of an envelope), I found that the SEC and Big 12 are both projected to have six prospects drafted. But, after double and triple-checking, there was one notable omission. Monte Morris. Will Morris ever be a superstar? Of course not, but he led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio twice in his career and is a proven winner. The kid defines “floor general.” Also, all of the Big 12 picks seem to be locks, and the SEC has a couple guys in the last ten picks. Go with the Big 12 here.
Will there be more players drafted overall from ACC or PAC-12?
ACC -1.5 (-130)
PAC-12 +1.5 (+100)
This is a more exciting one because with very similar data-driven research (it was the same; I still just wrote on the back of an envelope), the ACC has 13 prospects to the PAC-12’s 11. This one is a real barn burner, folks. An amazing thing to note with these two conferences is that they are projected to have their products chosen with 9 of the first 14 picks.
Honestly, it is a real toss-up here, and it’s going to come down to the last few picks for sure. With that in mind, the PAC-12’s last-ranked prospect is Tyler Dorsey at 49. The ACC has two guys projected after that. Go with the PAC-12 here.
Josh Jackson – Draft Position
Over 3.5 (-130)
Under 3.5 (+100)
So back in March, I wrote about how Danny Ainge should take Jayson Tatum with the (presumably) number one pick. I will admit that the way I’m leaning on this one is a bit of a pride pick, but Tatum also makes far more sense for the Celtics. They already have Jaylen Brown, and Josh Jackson is basically just him, but again. There isn’t really any need to have two of the same player on your team. Unless it’s LeBron James. Then you take as many as possible (imagine a starting five of all LeBron !!). So instead, they should take Tatum at three, who will get them buckets whether he is playing the 2, 3, or 4. With that in mind, Jackson will fall to at least 4. Take the over.