2021 NBA Draft Odds, Preview, And Betting Outlook

GamingToday.com is an independent sports news and information service. GamingToday.com has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rank Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, IN, KS, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and VA.

Now that the NBA Draft combine is in the books, the consensus from the league’s decision-makers is clear — despite coming out of a pandemic and probably the strangest NCAA Tournament ever following not having one at all, this crop of prospects is the deepest in quite some time.

In the eyes of most league executives, there are three elite prospects worthy of taking with the No. 1 pick and a next trio that will likely make up the top-six when selections are made on July 29.

1st Pick: Cunningham A Heavy Favorite

In the sports betting markets, Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham is the heavy favorite to hear his name called first when the Detroit Pistons make their selection. BetRivers lists Cunningham as a -10000 favorite to go No. 1, while BetMGM is more conservative at -5000.

Cunningham was among the nation’s top recruits last year and opted for a one-and-done season in Stillwater, where his older brother served as an assistant coach. He got the Cowboys into the NCAA Tournament and helped them win their first game in the Big Dance since 2009.

Scouts believe the 6-foot-8 Cunningham will settle in as a combo guard who will be able to defend three positions, making him a nice fit next to Pistons 2020 draft pick Killian Hayes, a French teenage point guard who enjoyed flashes of brilliance in an injury-filled rookie season. He’s got a 7-foot wingspan and solid shooting range.

Although they could use a big man, USC 7-footer Evan Mobley isn’t expected to be the Pistons’ choice over Cunningham. Mobley has a 7-foot-5 wingspan, can switch and hold his own on defense and can step out and shoot it, making him a versatile threat. He won’t slip past No. 3, but isn’t likely to vault everyone into the top spot.

Green Could Leapfrog To A Higher Pick

The one player potentially worth taking a shot on as a plus-money No. 1 pick is Fresno’s Jalen Green, a 6-foot-6 wing who skipped college and played for the G League Ignite instead. He averaged 17.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in an impressive first pro season and won’t turn 20 until February. BetRivers lists him at +1000 to be the No. 1 pick, while BetMGM has him at +1200.

Despite Cunningham being the presumptive top choice, Green has plenty of decision-makers intrigued and could potentially secure the top spot in workouts. If you don’t believe in locks, backing Green to leapfrog Cunningham isn’t the worst future to get in on. Green is a tremendous athlete who can finish around the rim and has a nice shooting stroke that helped him shoot 36.5 percent from 3-point range in the G League. His athleticism also allows him to get anywhere he wants.

First Four Picks Remain Uncertain

BetMGM has odds for the first four picks available and lists Green at +160 to go to the Houston Rockets. This appears to be a tremendous plus-money wager. Mobley is at +100 and wouldn’t be a bad option but Green is likely to be the choice between those two. The Rockets already have a young big man in Christian Wood and Green is already friendly with Kevin Porter, Jr., who could be his partner on the wing for the next decade if things go right.

Mobley is +175 to go No. 3 while Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs is at +140. Green is the favorite at +110, but if he goes second as I expect, there’s a nice opportunity to cash at this spot too. The Cleveland Cavaliers already have a young backcourt they’re molding in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, which makes Suggs unlikely. Green would be ideal, but if he’s not available, Mobley would be an excellent choice.

Although Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. are on the roster, Mobley would be a terrific option at power forward down the line to play next to center Jarrett Allen. Mix in improving 2020 draft pick Issac Okoro at small forward and Cleveland has a nice nucleus in place that could help contend for a playoff spot next season.

Suggs seems like the ideal player to groom as a replacement for Kyle Lowry considering he’s got the size to play next to Fred VanVleet for the next five years. Most people got a chance to see Suggs excel as a freshman combo guard for a Gonzaga squad that was undefeated prior to a Final Four loss to Baylor. He’s favored to land in Toronto at +120, while Mobley (+175) and Green (+190) hover in the event they slip out of the top-three.

If you want to take a shot at a big payday, G League Invite forward Jonathan Kuminga and Florida State forward Scottie Barnes would each net +800 at BetMGM if selected fourth.

Kuminga is a Congolese small forward who may potentially grow into a four since he won’t turn 19 until October. He’s 6-foot-8 and moved to the U.S. in 2016, playing at the Patrick School in Hillside, NJ after a season in Huntington Prep in West Virginia. His versatility is off the charts and he’s really explosive, which allowed him to average 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds against far more developed players in the G League.

Barnes, who played a little point guard at FSU despite measuring 6-foot-9, is a tremendous prospect. He’s got a 7-foot-3 wingspan, great vision and is probably the best defender in the draft given his attention to detail at such a young age. Barnes averaged a modest 10 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists with the Seminoles and may have flown under the radar, but workouts could lift him into the fourth position.

There’s talk that Toronto is shopping Pascal Siakam in addition to Lowry, so adding Barnes to play next to OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher up front would certainly be an attractive way to rebuild.

Rounding Out The Top 10

Orlando, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Orlando (from Chicago), Sacramento and New Orleans round out the Top 10. The Magic could utilize their two picks to trade up as high as No. 2 if the Rockets are interested, so keep an eye on that situation.

Tennessee’s Keon Johnson showed out with a 48-inch vertical leap, the highest ever recorded at the combine. He’s expected to be a high-level defender in the NBA, which should make him a lock for the Top 10.

The rest of the Top 10 isn’t as clear. Jalen Johnson will have to answer questions about bailing out at Duke but is a really talented kid who can pass and shoot as a 6-foot-9 combo forward.

Baylor’s Davion Mitchell, the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and a key reason the Bears won a national championship, is going to be the smallest lottery kick. The 6-foot guard is viewed as a difference-maker on the defensive end who should be able to hone his skills effectively enough to be a starting NBA point guard. Teammate Jared Butler should land in the first round and is actually the better offensive player, having improved as a facilitator. He models his game after Lowry and Jrue Holiday but has to be cleared medically due to a heart abnormality. Butler is likely to slip out of the lottery as a result.

Texas’ Kai Jones is a former track athlete from the Bahamas with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. If he can improve his jumper and get better off the dribble he could be a steal.

Connecticut’s James Bouknight is a certain lottery pick who could land in the Top 10. Among the best scorers in this draft, he’ll need to improve as a defender and facilitator but will unquestionably be able to get buckets.

Michigan forward Franz Wagner, Gonzaga sniper Corey Kispert, 6-foot-8 Australian teenage point guard Josh Giddey, Kentucky center Isaiah Jackson and Arkansas wing Marcus Moody are the most likely candidates to fill out the lottery.

Be on the lookout for more draft content as more odds become available towards the end of the month.

About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

Get connected with us on Social Media