Each year basketball fans make prop bets on which team will select which player during the NBA Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers surprised everyone by landing the first pick, so whom will they choose?
Sports betting fanatics place wagers on anything and everything these days. That includes how many cups of Gatorade Lebron James will drink during a game and whether or not Dwayne Wade will receive a flagrant foul during tomorrow evening’s game against Indiana.
With the playoffs to wrap up during the next couple weeks, the big thing on the basketball betting docket will be the odds on who will pick who during the NBA Draft on June 26th. The surprising results of Tuesday’s Draft Lottery will shake things up quite a bit.
Cleveland takes the top prize (again…)
• The Cleveland Cavaliers hold the first pick in the NBA Draft for the third time in the past four years
• We predict that Cleveland will take forward Andrew Wiggins from the University of Kansas first overall
The Milwaukee Bucks finished the season with the league’s worst record, so had the highest chance of winning the lottery at 25 percent, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic.
There is no clear front-runner for who will be taken with the first overall pick; its a three-man race between center Joel Embiid and forwards Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. But the lucky lander of the coveted #1 choice will have their pick of the litter.
That’s where those sneaky Cleveland Cavaliers came in once again. Despite having only a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery they swooped in and will make the #1 selection for the third time in four years.
Odds for the top pick
Online sportsbooks in Canada and the US haven’t yet come out with odds on who Cleveland will take first overall, but speculation abounds. Any of the top three players mentioned earlier would represent a significant upgrade (finishing near the bottom every year is clearly an indicator that your current players aren’t very good).
But given that the current core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Anthony Bennett is often criticized for lacking athleticism and defensive skills, Parker doesn’t look like a good fit. The choice will be between Embiid and Wiggins.
Joel Embiid is the most tantalizing prospect to come out of the college ranks for several years. He’s a pure center in every sense of the word, something you don’t see often these days: huge, athletic, skilled, smart and versatile. He has been compared to the legendary Hakeem Olajuwon.
There is only one knock on Embiid. He injured his back last year and missed the end of the season. Some see him as an injury risk. That, and in my opinion only that, is why there is a good chance Cleveland will take Andrew Wiggins with the first pick.
Wiggins doesn’t have the talent of LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but he isn’t far behind. He has good size and off-the-charts athleticism for a forward. The only things standing between him and superstardom are improving his ball handling and becoming a consistent three-point shooter.
Give how much he improved during his year at the University of Kansas and how willing he is to put in extra work, I have no doubt that he will become a superstar. Cleveland can’t afford to miss with this pick, given that last year’s #1 selection Anthony Bennett is generally viewed as a bust.
Odds: 3/2 Wiggins, 1/2 Embiid—Given Cleveland’s need to get things right this time, they go with the less risky player
Given my expectation that Cleveland will take Andrew Wiggins first overall, how do the remaining picks play out? Milwaukee has the second pick, and I would be surprised if they passed on Embiid. Could we see a modern reboot of Lew Alcindor’s days with the Bucks during the early 1970s? That team and city desperately need it.
That brings us to the Philadelphia 76ers with the third overall pick. They lost an NBA-record 26 consecutive games last year and are desperate for a star player that can turn the team around while energizing the fan base.
Philly sports fans are notoriously tough to please, and the club is under serious pressure to please them. Luckily, this pick is a no-brainer. They take Jabari Parker, who instantly becomes their best player. In fact, I 100 percent guarantee that he is their choice if available (and Embiid and Wiggins aren’t).
Where you can bet
Strict American gambling laws mean that legal betting on basketball is only legal in Nevada, and only residents of that state can legally place wagers online. But all of the major sites licensed in Canada, the UK, Gibraltar and Malta will be taking bets on next month’s NBA Draft.
Lines are not yet listed at most sites, but in the coming weeks we recommend that you look up great international sites like Bodog, BetVictor, Bet365, Ladbrokes and Unibet. These are all highly reputed sites operating in properly-regulated districts. For NBA fanatics who can’t wait until next season to start taking bets, you can’t go wrong.