2021 NBA Draft Odds: Props & Unique Wagers

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.

This NBA Draft sounds like it’s going to be filled with drama.

The week opened with a trade that has been agreed upon but won’t become official until free agency opens next month as Memphis agreed to a deal that will help New Orleans gain some cap flexibility. The Grizzlies will take on Eric Bledsoe’s deal in exchange for swapping first-round picks and second-round picks in this draft for higher slots while also picking up a protected first-rounder in 2022.

Center Jonas Valanciunas will also join the Pelicans after the best season of his career, traded for veteran counterpart Steven Adams, who spent only one season in New Orleans.

Some overseas markets have set the number of trades in the first round at 6.5, so be prepared to see that figure when domestic books offer that prop. Other numbers that should become available on Thursday include deciphering how many freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be drafted among the first 30 picks in addition to how many non-NCAA players will hear their names called.

The total set for non-NCAA that I’ve seen is five, so the first recommendation in this prediction column is to ride the over on that figure since G Leaguers Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, Turkish big man Alperen Sengun, Australian guard Josh Giddey and Spanish forward Usman Garuba are all locks to be drafted in the top 20.

My expectation is that we’ll see Lithuanian guard Rokas Jokubaitis also sneak into the first round, while two other G Leaguers, guard Daishen Nix and forward Isaiah Todd, are also options. Serbian big man Filip Petrusev, who played collegiately at Gonzaga and won West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors in 2020, went back overseas and is now looking to be selected after sweeping awards in the Adriatic League. All it would take is someone in the back end of the lottery to take a shot at a project or a draft-and-stash to secure that prop, so be sure to look into its availability.

NBA Draft Odds: 1st Pick

2021 NBA Draft: First Pick OddsDraftKingsPointsBet
Cade Cunningham-8000-10000
Jalen Green+1500+1500
Evan Mobley+2200+2200
Jalen Suggs+2500+2500
Scottie Barnes+4500+5000
Jonathan Kuminga+4500+5000
Davion Mitchell+8500N/A
Keon Johnson+8500+10000
Ziaire WilliamsN/A+10000
Jalen Johnson+10000N/A
Franz Wagner+12500N/A
Moses Moody+15000N/A
Josh Giddey+15000+15000
Corey Kispert+15000N/A
James Bouknight+20000N/A

Major Juice Makes Exact Draft Spots Tough to Bet

The expectation that Cade Cunningham will be the No. 1 overall pick means there’s absolutely no value in going chalk. BetRivers lists him at -10000, which means that’s where you want to go if you’re looking to play contrarian.

Green is +1500 there if you’re of the belief that the Pistons will fool everyone and go with the G League shooting guard. DraftKings has Green at +1500 to go first too but has Cunningham at -8000. FanDuel has Cunningham at -6000 while BetMGM offers up the “friendliest” number at -5000. Both of those books list Green at +1400 to be the surprise top choice.

Green is obviously the favorite to go No. 2, ranging from -360 (FanDuel) to -400 (BetRivers/BetMGM). In the event you’re of the belief that someone trades up for USC 7-footer Evan Mobley, BetMGM is where you want to get in since it is offering +350 odds as opposed to the other books, which list him at +290 to +300. Mobley is -225 to -250 to go No.3 while Green is in the +250 to +300 range if you believe they’ll flip-flop.

If you don’t mind laying the juice, Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs going fourth is a really strong wager at -160, which is essentially the universal number. Even though there are some who believe Suggs might end up stunning everyone by becoming the top player in this class due to his defense, leadership, and versatility as a combo guard, but from a prospect standpoint, he’s definitively fourth. I don’t see the Raptors passing on him with the Kyle Lowry era likely done, which slots him at No. 4 quite nicely.

FanDuel lists the first four in exact order prop as Cunningham-Green-Mobley-Suggs at -138, which is another sound option if you believe this 2021 NBA Draft will go according to plan. While there’s more juice involved than many would ordinarily want to lay but it’s one fun way to go on Thursday night that could prove lucrative.

Draft Position Props Offer Significant Value

The market has been flooded with options on almost every player available in this draft, including second-round options. BetRivers has numbers on 52 prospects available. BetMGM has 46. FanDuel and DraftKings have fewer names up but also have numbers for you to wager over/under on as far as draft position is concerned. Remember to always shop around for the top number in order to increase your chances of cashing.

I can give you no better example than Turkey’s Sengun, who received a Green Room invite and almost certainly will land in the lottery. FanDuel placed his number at 11.5, with the over going off -126 and the under at -102. BetRivers, BetMGM, and DraftKings all set their figure at 12.5, which is important since although the GamingToday mock draft has him going to Charlotte at No. 11, there’s another solid landing spot with San Antonio at No. 12 if the Hornets ultimately pass. That increases your chances of riding the under on 12.5 and cashing. Juice at BetMGM was at -130, while DraftKings is at -125 and BetRivers is in the middle at -127. In my estimation, it’s worth paying extra for the pick slot.

Beyond riding the under on Sengun, there are a few other plays you should be on the lookout for on Thursday night. The number for Arkansas wing Moses Moody is 11.5 everywhere, but juice is all over the place. He’s a top-10 pick in my eyes, and the under is certainly favored to go in that direction. FanDuel got carried away in offering it up at -164 but DraftKings at -140 is far more reasonable.

Duke’s Jalen Johnson could land in the lottery due to his talent but the manner in which he departed college could scare off some suitors. BetRivers put his number at 13.5 with an over at -167, while BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel all have his figure at 14.5 with DK Sportsbooks coming in with the best number at -135. I’d ride the high side on both him and Tennessee’s Keon Johnson, the draft’s highest flyer after setting an NBA combine record with a 48-inch vertical leap. His number is at 12.5 with juice in the -150 range at the majority of shops and 13.5 at FanDuel at -112. In this instance, I’d aim for less risk and use the FD Sportsbook’s line since I don’t think Indiana will take the plunge if he gets through the first dozen picks.

Individual Matchups are Another Investment Option

Survey individual matchup props as a part of Thursday’s investment menu, so be on the lookout for those numbers at your preferred sportsbook. DraftKings has released some matchups to give us a few options worth discussing in this column.

Stanford’s Ziaire Williams and Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson are paired against one another with even juice of -115. I believe that although John Calipari will have his streak of at least one first-rounder selected since taking over at Kentucky in 2008-09 will continue, the ‘Cats won’t have a lottery selection for the second year in a row. Stanford’s Williams has a chance to slip into the Top-14 and should be able to survive a shaky freshman season that was hampered by a COVID-19 outbreak involving the Cardinal that cut his run short. Between both first-rounders, I believe Williams will go first.

The final matchup out there I’ll touch upon doubles down on Duke’s Johnson slipping out of the lottery and potentially out of the teens on Thursday night. DraftKings paired him up with Texas center Kai Jones, who could go as high as No. 11 to the Hornets and has really impressed teams with his freakish athleticism on a 6-foot-11 frame. Jones used to be a track star specializing in the long jump and is going to be a terrific rim runner who will get up and down the floor.

Jones, a native of the Bahamas, has a long wingspan and reminds me of another Longhorn in Jackson Hayes, who went No. 8 in 2019 and continues to improve in New Orleans. He’s listed at -125 while Johnson is at -105 in DraftKings’ draft matchup, so riding Jones is certainly the way to go.

If you’re in the market for a plus-money pick, riding Tennessee guard Jaden Springer over LSU scorer Cameron Thomas is worth a look. Springer isn’t getting the love that his teammate Johnson is, but he’s got fans as well and was the higher-regarded prospect in high school as a five-star coming out of IMG Academy.

Thomas, the SEC’s leading scorer as a freshman, is likely to go in the first round since he’s being viewed as someone who can come in and get buckets at the pro level immediately, but concerns over defense could push him down. Springer is +115 while Thomas is -145 at DraftKings to be hear their name called first, and I don’t think that’s as big a lock as those numbers indicate.

Good luck on draft night!

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