- The Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic have the best NBA Draft lottery odds for Tuesday night’s festivities
- All three teams are priced at +550 to win the first overall pick in Tuesday’s lottery
- Which teams represent the best betting value? See a breakdown of the lottery below
The NBA Draft lottery takes place on Tuesday June, 22nd. Cade Cunningham is the heavy favorite to be selected first overall, but in this stacked draft class, there’s more than one prize on offer at the lottery.
Houston, Detroit and Orlando share the best odds to win the first overall pick.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had the first overall pick last year, and selected Anthony Edwards. Although that was their reward for finishing with one of the worst records, a lot of teams have climbed the draft order in the last couple of seasons. One such team was the New Orleans Pelicans, who won the 2019 draft lottery to select Zion Williamson.
Odds to Win 2021 NBA Draft Lottery
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+700|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+2000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+4800|
|Golden State Warriors||+10000|
Odds as of June 21st
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Flattened Lottery Odds
The NBA lottery has thrown up some big-time surprises in recent years. In an effort to curb tanking, the league has changed the odds when it comes to lottery time. Three teams share the best chance at the first overall pick, each sitting at 14%. This, however, isn’t the only change. Away from the worst records, teams have a better chance at getting the top pick than they did in previous years.
The Thunder and Cavaliers, for instance, have an 11.5% chance each at getting the top pick. Even the Bulls, Kings and Pelicans are at 4.5%, and all three of those teams were in the race for a play-in spot late in the season.
This has not only added some fun randomness. It has changed how valuable picks are prior to the lottery, and increases the possibility of a top four pick landing at a team which was already competitive.
In general, the betting accurately reflects each team’s lottery percentage. The Pelicans, Bulls and Kings have a 4.5% chance to win the number one pick. Their implied probability from the +2000 odds is 4.8%. This general trend continues across the board.
The top three teams are at 14%. Their implied probability is 15.4%. The gap between the implied probability and the actual lottery percentage is bigger for the teams at a shorter price. For instance, the Thunder and Cavaliers have an 11.5% chance at winning the lottery, but a 12.5% implied probability.
Indiana has the smallest gap between implied probability and actual chance. Their implied probability is 1.2%, while they have a 1% chance of winning the lottery, according to Tankathon. Hoping to get healthy over the offseason and with a new coach coming in, the Pacers could be an Eastern Conference dark horse if they add the top pick in this draft to a core of Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert and Myles Turner.
Have Fun With It
Betting on the NBA Draft lottery is about having fun with it. Whether that means going for your favorite team, choosing where you’d like Cade Cunningham to end up or wagering on a good narrative, this isn’t about analysis and expert knowledge. It is, as the name suggests, a lottery.
There’s a lot of potentially for fun storylines on Tuesday. Cunningham as Houston’s savior after losing James Harden would be interesting. Putting the first overall pick alongside OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam would spice up the Eastern Conference. The prospect of Cunningham next to LaMelo Ball or Zion Williamson is tantalizing.
Teams have leapt in each of the last two drafts. The Pelicans climbed to get Zion, the Hornets had the same fortune to grab LaMelo Ball, and the Lakers moving up enabled them to trade for Anthony Davis. While none of this is predictive for Tuesday’s 2021 NBA Draft lottery, it gives an indication of what can happen. If you’ve got a lottery hunch, it can prove to be very profitable with the added randomness of the flattened odds.