The NBA Draft takes place next Thursday, June 22, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Pro basketball’s selection of college’s best players doesn’t typically attract the same level of interest that the NFL Draft does, but new for 2017 is that sportsbooks in Nevada can offer proposition lines on its outcome.
That’s added some excitement to the otherwise mundane NBA Draft. University of Washington star Markelle Fultz is the consensus top prospect and is expected to be taken first by the Boston Celtics. The 19-year-old is the heavy favorite at around -2000 to go #1, meaning to make $100, you’ll need to wager $2,000.
UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who’s made plenty of headlines in recent weeks for his father’s outlandish behavior, has the next best chance, albeit distantly at +900.
Ball’s dad LaVar has ruffled feathers in the sports media for creating the “Big Baller Brand” and selling its first pair of shoes for a base price of $495. The patriarch of the family has also said a shoe deal with his son will cost Under Armor, Nike, or any other sports company $3 billion.
Prop Bets Ignite Action
Following a successful NFL Draft in April that featured prop bets in the Silver State for the first time, the Nevada Gaming Control Board authorized sportsbooks to create similar lines on the NBA Draft. Though the betting houses are limiting the amount of money a customer can place on each prop, it’s still a way to make the selection day a tad more interesting.
Bringing in basketball fans that are predominantly focused on the college game is seen as one such way to grow overall bets on the NBA Draft.
A few of the props at the Westgate SuperBook include:
- Total number of Duke players drafted in round one: Over 3.5 (+140), Under 3.5 (-160)
- Total number of Kentucky players drafted in round one: Over 2.5 (-350), Under 2.5 (+290)
- Total number of UCLA players drafted in round one: Over 2.5 (-500), Under 2.5 (+400)
Ball in Lakers’ Court
The Ball family has made no secret that it wants the Los Angeles Lakers to select Lonzo with the second pick. Born and raised in California, the UCLA star was a consensus first-team All-American in 2017, his first and only year of college basketball before declaring for the Draft.
Lonzo has worked out for the Lakers, but reports are surfacing that the franchise might be looking to trade its No. 2 pick to Phoenix or Sacramento. The Kings are reportedly sold on Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox and is willing to trade up to get him.
With a deep draft class, and the Pacers’ Paul George up for free agency in 2018, the Lakers might be looking for another top-tier pick instead of going all-in on Ball in hopes of attracting the the Indiana superstar next summer.
Even if Los Angeles does trade the second pick, Lonzo could still theoretically be on the table when the Lakers make their first selection. Ball comes with a media circus (aka his father), and his public revelation that he wants to go to Los Angeles might keep other teams away.