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.

Sixers, Warriors Road Betting Favorites in Thursday NBA Action

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The Philadelphia 76ers may be facing a regression with the three-ball right as they go into a building where they have not won in a while.

The 76ers are 1.5-point road betting favorites against the Miami Heat with a 216.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in one of the three NBA playoff matchups slated for Thursday.

While the Heat’s series-tying win in the previous game left the 76ers a mere 17-1 straight-up in their 18 most recent games, a more apt sample might come from looking at the teams’ records against playoff-worthy competition.

Philadelphia, whose perimeter shooters including Robert Covington and J.J. Redick combined to go 7-for-36 on three-point shots in Game 2, is just 2-7 SU and against the spread in its last nine road games against Eastern Conference playoff teams. The Heat are 7-0 SU and ATS in their last seven games against Eastern playoff teams.

The OddsShark NBA Database points out that the total has gone over in seven of Philadelphia’s last 10 road games when it was the betting favorite. However, the total has gone under in four of the Heat’s last six home games against the 76ers.

After taking two wins on the road, the New Orleans Pelicans are three-point favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers on the NBA odds with a 216-point total. The Pelicans, who are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games as a favorite of 3.5 or fewer points, have won the backcourt battle so far in the series thanks to Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo.

The total has gone over in six of the Pelicans’ last eight home games against Northwest Division teams. The Trail Blazers have actually taken more shots in the series, so if their luck evens out, there’s a chance for a scorefest.

And the Golden State Warriors, who also have a 2-0 series lead, are three-point road favorites against the San Antonio Spurs with a 206-point total. It’s the first time in 18 years that the Spurs are a home underdog in April (the last time was not a playoff game), but they are much more effective team at home, where they are 9-0 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last nine matchups.

The Warriors are without the injured Stephen Curry, but still have forward Kevin Durant and guard Klay Thompson to help them turn around being 3-7 SU and ATS in their last 10 road games as a favorite of 3.5 or fewer points.

The total has gone over in six of Golden State’s last nine road games during the playoffs in April. However, the total has gone under in six of San Antonio’s last nine home games against Western Conference teams.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

NBA All-Star Weekend Odds: Slam Dunk, Three-Point, Skills Challenge

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One man having serious slam dunk contest buzz means better prices for the other three heading into NBA All-Star Weekend at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Dallas Mavericks rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. is a +170 favorite on the slam dunk contest odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (+220), Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. (+265) and Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (+400) are also in the running.

Smith has taken every opportunity this season to try to “posterize” some of the NBA’s biggest names, which might explain his low price. Mitchell was a late entry who has come on strongly for the surging Jazz and is capable of the upset. As the only forward in the contest, Nance could have a hard time getting the benefit of the doubt from the judges.

The three-point contest is unpredictable by nature but has some familiar faces with favorite Klay Thompson (+210) and defending champion Eric Gordon (+450). Devin Booker (+550), Paul George (+650), Wayne Ellington (+700), Bradley Beal (+750), Kyle Lowry (+1000) and Tobias Harris (+1100) complete the eight-marksman field.

Thompson is converting threes at a career-high 45.4 percent rate, so the Golden State Warriors guard will likely draw a lot of interest. However, Gordon outlasted him in 2017 and will also be in his former home arena. Ellington, who scores more than 75 percent of his points from beyond the arc, stacks up as the sleeper from deep.

The skills challenge lacks the cachet of the other two competitions, but is wide open due to its format that guarantees a guard vs. center matchup in the final. The Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams (+350) is the favorite, but it might be wiser to favor a younger competitor, such as the Denver Nuggets’ second-year guard Jamal Murray (+400), in an event that is staked on speed and shooting.

Al Horford (+500) has the best price of any big man, but the Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen (+700) might have the skill-set more suited for the event. Murray, Markkanen and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (+600) will each be out to be third international player in a row to win the event.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.