The NBA futures betting markets were changing almost as fast as the Woj bombs were dropping.
That was the scene on Sunday as the NBA began its free agency period with a bang, or several of them, as teams went after a bumper crop of top available talent and bookmakers scrambled to keep the prices right.
“It lived up to the hype, right?” BetOnline.ag brand manager Dave Mason said. “You’ve been hearing all offseason about these big names and where they’re going to go and all the rumors. Compared to any other year, it knocked it out of the park. I would say there’s over twice as much action this year as there was last year.”
It was truly a historic day as over $3 billion in contract money was doled out and championship chances either shot up or dropped drastically. And get this, the biggest free agent name of them all – Kawhi Leonard – is still out there.
The big splash came from the Brooklyn Nets, who signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. That’s great for the 2020-21 season, but with Durant likely to miss all of next season, it doesn’t do much. Still, the Nets went from 30-1 on Sunday morning to 25-1 in the afternoon at the SuperBook in Las Vegas after the deals were announced.
“People are betting the Nets,” Mason said. “I don’t understand that one. These are next year’s odds, not the following year’s odds.”
The Lakers continue to take a lot of money. Having already traded for Anthony Davis to join LeBron James, there’s speculation that the Lakers could land Leonard via free agency. The Lakers are the favorites to win next year’s championship, currently sitting at +250 at BetOnline.
“Bettors obviously think that’s where he lands,” Mason said of Leonard to the Lakers.
The Utah Jazz saw their championship odds drop substantially after they signed Bojan Bogdanovich on Sunday. He joins guard Mike Conley, who was picked up in trade before the NBA Draft. The Jazz were 25-1 at the SuperBook before free agency began, dropped as low as 14-1 and currently sit at 16-1.
Another big drop came on the Miami Heat, which got cut in half from 200-1 to 100-1 at the SuperBook after word spread of a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for Jimmy Butler. The deal was still being finalized as of Monday afternoon.
Strangely, the Sixers also dropped, going from 12-1 to 10-1. According to Mason, the Sixers have taken the third-most amount of futures money at BetOnline behind the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers, respectively. The Sixers may lose Butler, but did well to sign Al Horford away from the Celtics.
The disappointing offseason being had by the New York Knicks is really starting to take hold on their futures price. The Knicks rocketed up from 50-1 to 200-1 on Sunday at the SuperBook after not landing any big names.
Sunday’s wildness was yet another sign of how reactive sports betting markets have become in real-time. With Twitter open in one app and their sportsbook on the other, bettors are now quick to jump when news breaks.
“You have to be ahead of the curve,” Mason said. “People bet whenever news comes out, whether it’s injury or trades or rumors, people like to bet it. You’re talking about plus money on all these teams, so if one team is hot, it doesn’t take a lot of bets to run up a big red number on our side.
“But people love betting these early numbers, with all the rumors and speculation. They like to figure out who’s where and et cetera. It’s a lot of fun.”
Odds to win 2020 NBA championship at BetOnline.ag:
Los Angeles Lakers 5-2
Milwaukee Bucks 7-1
Toronto Raptors 7-1
Houston Rockets 9-1
Philadelphia 76ers 9-1
Golden State Warriors 10-1
Los Angeles Clippers 12-1
Boston Celtics 14-1
Brooklyn Nets 16-1
Denver Nuggets 16-1
Utah Jazz 20-1
Portland Trail Blazers 25-1
Oklahoma City Thunder 28-1
Dallas Mavericks 33-1
Indiana Pacers 40-1
New Orleans Pelicans 40-1
San Antonio Spurs 50-1
Miami Heat 66-1
New York Knicks 80-1
Sacramento Kings 80-1
Atlanta Hawks 100-1
Minnesota Timberwolves 100-1
Orlando Magic 100-1
Chicago Bulls 150-1
Memphis Grizzlies 150-1
Washington Wizards 150-1
Detroit Pistons 200-1
Charlotte Hornets 250-1
Cleveland Cavaliers 250-1
Phoenix Suns 250-1