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.

Markelle Fultz considered lock atop NBA Draft, but intriguing odds abound

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The real challenge in wagering on the NBA draft lies beyond the first two selections.

Washington Huskies point guard Markelle Fultz is now a borderline comical -5000 to be taken first at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The trade that the point guard-hungry Philadelphia 76ers swung with the Boston Celtics on Monday to get the No. 1 pick virtually assured Fultz would be the pick.

There’s actually a lower price on the field (+700) than on either UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball (+1200) or Duke small forward Jayson Tatum (+5000).

Speaking of Ball, the line of him being drafted by his hometown Los Angeles Lakers is -260, while there’s a +200 payout if he’s selected by any other team. The Lakers have also signaled their intentions by announcing they’ll trade incumbent point guard D’Angelo Russell. However, some feel Kentucky PG De’Aaron Fox, due to his athleticism and speed, has a higher ceiling.

Speaking of the aptly named Fox, many of the intriguing NBA Draft betting props involve the over/under on what point of the draft certain budding stars will hear their name called at the Barclays Center on Thursday.

The total for Fox  is 4.5. Tatum also has a 4.5 total. The Boston Celtics, who pick third, are set at point guard, but the Phoenix Suns could be looking at one at fourth overall.

One should probably keep an eye on speculation about Frank Ntilikina, whose draft-slot total of 9.5 seems on the high side. The 18-year-old Frenchman is one of the youngest players in this draft class and has the skillset to also play either guard spot. The New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, who are in the eighth and ninth slots, are both keen on him, and there’s always the chance of one trading up to get him.

Ntilikina is also a -1400 favorite to be the first international player taken. The total on how many international players will go in the first round is 4.5.

College basketball fans can also carry over their rooting interests by betting on how many players will be taken in the first round. There is a 3.5 total for Duke players taken in the first round. The over pays a generous +145, which would require SG Frank Jackson sneaking into the first round to join Tatum, SG Luke Kennedy and C Harry Giles.

Conversely, the under on the 2.5 total of Oregon Ducks players selected – three players are second-round possibilities – is +220.

The early picks, of course, are mostly comprised of one-and-done talents. There is good value on picking who will be the first college senior taken. Colorado combo guard Derrick White is a slim +185 favorite, with Big 12 rival Wesley Iwundu of Kansas State listed at +210.

Warriors seek 2-0 series lead as double-digit favorite against Spurs

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The Golden State Warriors feasted after Kawhi Leonard was knocked out on Sunday, but they are far from an automatic cover as a huge home-court favorite in the NBA playoffs.

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are listed as 13.5-point favorites against the Spurs with a 208.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for their Game 2 matchup scheduled for Tuesday.

During the Curry era, Golden State is 12-1 straight-up and 4-9 against the spread in 13 playoff games where they were favored by 10 or more points at home. The Warriors are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven home playoff games according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

Not having Leonard (left ankle sprain) leaves a void for San Antonio, but the Spurs are 6-2 ATS without their all-star small forward this season. That includes their series-clinching win against the Houston Rockets in the second round. One can take for granted that a team under Gregg Popovich’s coaching guidance will find a way to adapt.

San Antonio will need to find ways to get PF LaMarcus Aldridge away from Warriors SF Draymond Green on offense, as well make greater use of PF Kyle Anderson. Jonathon Simmons has also proven capable of replacing Leonard’s scoring.

Over 11 games as the underdog this season, the Spurs are 7-4 SU and 8-2-1 ATS.

Job one for Golden State, which is 18-2 SU and 8-10-2 ATS over its last 20 home games, will be slowing down the Spurs after allowing 111 points at home on Sunday. They usually are tough on defense at Oracle Arena, where the total has gone under in 13 of their last 20 home games. Offensively, the absence of Leonard should free up space for PF Kevin Durant, since San Antonio won’t have a matchup for the four-time NBA scoring champion.

That said, the Warriors will need perimeter shooting from their supporting cast, not just Curry and SG Klay Thompson. With SF Andre Iguodala (knee) questionable, Golden State might be hard up for a complementary shooter to hit open threes.

The other big variable for Golden State is that assistant coach Mike Brown is running the bench in the absence of Steve Kerr (back surgery). Brown does not seem to have Kerr’s deft hand with making the right substitutions, which was why Golden State found itself in a 25-point hole in Game 1.

The total has gone over in 12 of the Spurs’ last 15 games overall and has also gone over in eight of their past 10 road games. The total has gone over in 10 of the Warriors’ last 15 games.