NBA draft odds at Sportsbooks focus on picks after Simmons

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The Philadelphia 76ers have reportedly told LSU forward Ben Simmons they will take him No. 1 overall at the NBA draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday, but how everything else shakes out is an educated guess.

The most daring prop on the NBA Draft betting board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com is +500 on the first two picks not being Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram, whom the Los Angeles Lakers appear to covet for their No. 2 choice.

The Boston Celtics, at this writing, have been denied in their attempts to flip the No. 3 choice for an established NBA player. Point guard Kris Dunn is the -120 favorite to go in that spot, as  teams are becoming more philosophically disposed to investing in polished players rather than the rawer talents. Teenage forwards Jaylen Brown (+325) and Dragan Bender (+400) are both possibilities to go No. 3, with Oklahoma Sooners G Buddy Hield at +600.

In a separate prop, Brown is listed at -130 to be taken before Bender, at +100.

The rebuilding Phoenix Suns can afford to take their time grooming a player, which is why 6-foot-10 PF Marquese Chriss is listed at -205 to go No. 4 overall. Chriss has been favorably compared to former Suns star Amar’e Stoudemire, who also turned pro before age 20. There are also odds on Bender (+350), Kentucky combo guard Jamal Murray (+450) and Brown (+500) going No. 4 overall.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, picking No. 5, have a crying need for a playmaking guard to help out third-year SG/SF Andrew Wiggins. Dunn (+150), Murray (+155) and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield (+200) are closely bunched in the prop for that pick.

Speaking of Hield, there is always skepticism about how well a scoring guard’s skills will transfer to the NBA. The over/under on Hield’s draft slot is 5.5, with OVER (meaning later) paying -175 and UNDER paying +145. In the Hield/Murray prop, Hield pays +240 and Murray pays -300.

It will also be interesting to see how the NBA’s newfound emphasis on spreading the floor will affect the draft slot of Utah Utes C Jakob Poeltl, a true 7-footer. The over/under is 9.5, with OVER paying -170 and UNDER paying +140. Big men who will at least be a solid rim protector in the NBA don’t often go in the first 10 picks.

Since 2013, when a record 12 first-rounders hailed from outside the United States, there has been an annual guessing game with regards to how many international players will go in Round 1. That could be in jeopardy on Thursday, since  the over/under on international first-round picks is 13, paying -115 each way.

Simmons, Murray, Poeltl, Kansas PF Cheick Diallo and Gonzaga PF-C Domantas Sabonis are among the projected foreign-born first-rounders who played college ball in America.

NBA Christmas Day Slate has Warriors, Spurs Among Odds Favorites

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Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors typically manage to cover when they face a close line on the road. The Warriors are listed as 3.5-point favorites on the NBA betting lines against the Cleveland Cavaliers for their Christmas Day matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Warriors are finding their peak form and are 14-2 straight-up and 7-8-1 against the spread on the road this season. The smallest line in any of the ATS losses, though, was 8.5 points.

The main matchup will be Durant against LeBron James, who has helped Cleveland forge a home record of 15-2 SU and 10-6-1 ATS. The Cavaliers are trying to replace injured SG J.R. Smith (right thumb surgery). Star forward Kevin Love (left knee bruise) also has an injury issue, but only had to play 25 minutes during a blowout win on Friday.

The Christmas Day slate begins with the New York Knicks hosting the Boston Celtics in a pick’em contest. The key matchup will be at point guard – the Knicks’ Derrick Rose and the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas. Boston is 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 road games and has found a rhythm since C Al Horford returned from injury.

Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (right knee contusion) could have his minutes closely monitored to avoid aggravating his injury.

The San Antonio Spurs are favored by 7.5 points against the Chicago Bulls in a matchup headlined by two elite small forwards, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. It is tough to go against San Antonio being 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS in December home games over the last two seasons, particularly with Chicago’s erratic perimeter shooting.

The Bulls are 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as a road underdog, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are favored by 4.5 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thunder PG Russell Westbrook is carrying his team which has been inconsistent at home, going 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS this season.

Minnesota has plenty of promise in C Karl-Anthony Towns and SF Andrew Wiggins, but awful defense has kept them from getting into the playoff picture. The Timberwolves are 1-9 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 road games against the Thunder.

And the availability of Chris Paul (hamstring) will weigh heavily on the lines for the Christmas nightcap between the Los Angeles Lakers and Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are also without PF Blake Griffin (minor knee surgery), but D’Angelo Russell and the young Lakers are struggling at 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four divisional games.

The Clippers are 10-0 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as the favorite against the Lakers.

Watch Bulls vs. Clippers basketball game, live online stream

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Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers (11-2) look to stay hot when they host Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls (8-4). The Clippers extended the best start in franchise history with a 121-115 road victory at the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

The Bulls, riding a four-game winning streak, will play the third of six consecutive games on the road during their annual circus trip. Butler has poured in 20 or more points in a career-high six straight games and has recorded a 20+ point, 10+ rebound performance in back-to-back contests.

Watch the game live here:

When: 10:30 PM ET

Broadcast Network: NBATV

Live Stream: NBATV.com