- The NBA Futures market is loaded with options to target post All-Star Break
- LeBron and the Lakers have a win total of 40.5, something they should be able to exceed after their deadline moves
- Check out our best NBA Futures bets to target below
A post NBA All-Star Break hiatus for a few days gives us a chance to shift our focus to the futures markets. There’s a bevy of options to choose from, including some that don’t get a lot of attention throughout the year.
Everyone is familiar with the NBA Championship odds, but that market is extremely efficient. It’s best to concentrate on some of the other categories when seeking out value, as online sportsbooks tend not to devote as many resources when pricing those.
LA Lakers Over 40.5 Wins
The Los Angeles Lakers will resume play after the break with a 27-32 record through 59 games. They have 23 contests remaining, and will need to go 14-9 or better to exceed their current NBA win total.
LA Lakers Win Total Odds
All odds as of Feb. 20, 2023, at DraftKings. See all the DraftKings promo code options.
That may seem like a lofty goal to achieve, but there’s a few reasons to buy stock in LA at this point. For starters, LeBron James is on record as saying the next two months are 23 of the most important games of his career. Doubting King James has not been a profitable endeavour since he entered the league, and if he’s motivated for another playoff push, he can single handedly carry the Lakers to that record.
Fortunately for him, LA made major moves at the deadline to ease the burden. Russell Westbrook is out, finally, as are a handful of other Lakers who were simply taking up space.
They replaced them with proven talent that can help compliment James and Anthony Davis. D’Angelo Russell can create his own shot and is an excellent distributor. Jarred Vanderbilt is all hustle, all the time, and can take care of a lot of the dirty work. Malik Beasley can get white-hot from behind the arc, while Mo Bamba gives them another big man than can stretch the floor.
Post All-Star break leaders last season
PPG — LeBron James (33.5)
RPG — Rudy Gobert (14.4)
APG — Trae Young (10.6)
SPG — Herbert Jones (2.2)
BPG — Jaren Jackson Jr (2.5)
FG% — Drew Eubanks (64.6)
3P% — Desmond Bane (48.5)
FT% — Kevin Durant (93.5)
(min. 15 games played) pic.twitter.com/deBij6hTxA
— Extra StatMuse (@extrastatmuse) February 20, 2023
The new look Lakers looked exceptional in their first action together, blowing out the Pelicans. If that’s what this team looks like moving forward they’ll not only be a threat to get into the playoffs, they could do major damage once the postseason starts.
Lastly, the schedule is in their favor. LA has the sixth easiest schedule remaining of all NBA teams. They start on Thursday with a matchup versus the Warriors, who won’t have Steph Curry available.
13 of their final 23 games are at home, where they average three more points per 100 possessions on offense, and yield four fewer points on defense than when they’re visitors.
Pick: LA Lakers Over 40.5 Wins (-110)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Win Most Improved Player
The next category to focus on is Most Improved Player. The odds suggest it’s a two-horse race, but how anyone could vote for someone other than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is baffling to me.
Most Improved Player Odds
SGA has single handedly brought a Thunder team that was left for dead back to relevance. OKC was projected to finish 29th out of 30 teams in the preseason power rankings, but entering play post All-Star Break the Thunder are a Play-In Tournament squad.
Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 30.8 points per night, the fifth highest mark in the league. He’s shooting a career-high 50.8% from the field, while averaging 6 assists per contest and making 91% of his free throws.
His offensive ascension has been remarkable, but he’s also making significant strides on defense. The lanky guard is averaging over a block per game and 1.6 steals per outing. Those are significant jumps from his the first four seasons as a pro, and they helped OKC surpass its season-long win total in under 50 games.
SHOWTIME IN OKC 👀
What a sequence from defense to offense to get Shai Gilgeous-Alexander a transition slam 😮💨
— Thunder Nation (@ThunderNationCP) February 14, 2023
SGA’s chief competition in the Most Improved Player odds is Utah’s Lauri Markkanen, who’s cooled down lately. Markkanen is fresh off his worst two shooting months of the season. He’s shooting just 30% from three in February, after being well north of 40% through the first four months of the campaign.
His recent struggles have coincided with the Jazz’s demise. Utah is 10-15 since Christmas, after being as many as seven games above .500 at one point.
They’re on the outside of the Play-In Tournament picture, a half game behind Oklahoma City. The Thunder have three games in hand on the Jazz, and an easier schedule the rest of the way, making them more likely to play meaningful April basketball. Just another reason to lean SGA over Markkanen.
Pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Win Most Improved Player (+130)