Betting the Early Season NBA Futures

Heading into the second full week of February, the NBA has played a bit more than a quarter of its 72-game regular-season schedule. This makes it a perfect time to dig into the posted NBA futures odds at BetOnline sportsbook.

Eastern Conference Futures

Starting in the East, here are the Top 5 teams to win that conference title:

  • Brooklyn Nets +175
  • Milwaukee Bucks +275
  • Philadelphia 76ers +500
  • Boston Celtics +700
  • Miami Heat +1100

The 76ers hold the early lead at 17-7 through 24 games. However, this team remains night and day between playing at home and playing on the road. Given their overall form, there is some value in their odds as third-favorites. Yet, maintaining this pace could be hard to do as far as securing home-court advantage all the way to the conference finals. Milwaukee is still a premier team behind one of the best players in the NBA. However, the Bucks clearly demonstrated last season that they could not win the East on the back of Giannis Antetokounmpo alone. They are off to a 15-8 start in the East, but this is another team that has had issues playing on the road this year.

The betting public remains high on Brooklyn as the top favorite on the list. The star power remains with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving leading the way. However, the Nets could be a "wait and see" team at their current odds. The potential for a trip to the 2021 NBA Finals remains high. Yet, the current form at 14-11 provides more questions than answers right now. Boston offers value in its futures odds to win the East with plenty of basketball yet to be played. Yet, the Celtics' inability to string wins together at 12-10 overall is a genuine concern.

Miami is still resting on last season’s overachieving run to the Eastern Conference Championship in the midst of a 9-14 start.

Western Conference Futures

The Top 5 contenders in the Western Conference, according to BetOnline, would be:

  • Los Angeles Lakers +125
  • Los Angeles Clippers +285
  • Utah Jazz +750
  • Denver Nuggets +1200
  • Dallas Mavericks +1600

Nothing has changed in this conference since last season, with 13 other teams chasing a pair of teams from Los Angeles. The Lakers remain the clear choice at +220 odds to repeat as NBA champions. As long as LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain in the starting lineup, it is hard to bet against another run to the conference title in the West. The Lakers have won 18 of their first 24 games, including an impressive 12 of 14 on the road.

The Clippers remain in place to keep their city rivals in check. But they could not get past the Lakers last season, and that could very well be the issue again once the postseason rolls around. At 17-8 in 25 games, they are just 2 ½ games out of the top seed in the West to add some value to their futures odds. The Clippers are +650 third-favorites to win the 2021 NBA title. Utah has won 19 of its first 24 games to hold a slim one-game lead over the Lakers in the West standings. A small wager at +750 to win the West might make some sense, but you are probably still throwing your money away. As longshots to win the West, Denver and Dallas offer even less value to close the gap with the two teams at the top of the list.

Free NBA Futures Pick

Since star power in the NBA rises to the top come playoff time, going chalk with the Lakers in the West makes the most sense as the best bet at plus money on the NBA futures board.    

Free Pick: 
Take the Lakers at +125 to Win the West