Welcome to Friday Futures!
Every week I’ll dive into futures to play based on where the value is at that point in the season. Each week we’ll make plays based on distributing a half-unit of value. Over the course of a season, it’ll add up.
This week’s focus? Fading overreactions to the first three nights of the regular season.
0.25u: Pacers to make the playoffs (+125, BetMGM)
Indiana gave up a 23-point lead in their road opener vs. Charlotte. The Pacers dominated the first half against the Hornets, though, getting anything they wanted. The ball moved, Myles Turner was swatting everything and Domantas Sabonis was absolutely dealing — it was great.
Then the third quarter happened and despite holding a 90% win probability with nine minutes remaining, the Pacers gave the lead up by the end of the quarter (!). As if that wasn’t enough, the Pacers managed to regain the lead and had the opportunity for a clinching rebound, but rookie Chris Duarte (after a terrific debut) was stripped and the Hornets wound up winning.
So, here’s what we know.
The Pacers were good enough against a team with the shortest odds to make the play-in tournament to build a 23-point lead on the road, and the bizarro outcome of that game was such an outlier that any weaknesses it reveals have to be considered a worst-case scenario.
Indiana was without two starters in T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert. And they’re still plus money to make the play-in. Seeing them in the playoffs outright is tough: Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Miami and Atlanta are all definitely better and you can make the argument for Chicago, Boston or New York before you get to the Pacers.
But the Pacers definitely do not look like a bottom-five East team. So at a plus figure, we’re starting off by betting on a team that blew a 23-point lead. Feels good.
0.15u: Atlantic Division – Top 2 – Exact Order: No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers, No. 2 Brooklyn Nets (+600, BetMGM)
This isn’t totally a fade of an overreaction. I think the Nets legitimately have issues this season. They’ll still rack up a huge win total.
But this is fading the Ben Simmons drama.
Despite all the distractions and all the nonsense, the Sixers walked into New Orleans and smacked a Zion Williamson-less Pelicans team in its home opener.
Philly’s still going to be very good. There’s no end in sight for the Simmons drama, but does that mean they can’t find enough wins to get the division title if the Nets aren’t as good as we thought?
Brooklyn’s frontcourt rotation is a defensive train wreck. The Nets are depending on Blake Griffin to be their defensive rock. Yikes. They may be vulnerable in a regular-season setting.
Meanwhile, though I don’t want to fade the Celtics, Boston did struggle in the double-overtime loss to the Knicks that probably should have been a loss in regulation. We’re getting 6/1 on the East’s No. 1 seed because of the Simmons mess and Nets hype.
Let’s fade both at 6/1 and we can look to cash out or go back on Brooklyn if they struggle later in the season.
0.10u: Stephen Curry points per game leader (+600, BetMGM)
Stephen Curry is +600 after having a terrible shooting night in the opener, but he immediately turned around and went off for 45 points vs. the Clippers.
Golden State looks explosive and the better the offense around Curry is, the better he’ll be. Even with the emergence of Jordan Poole, Curry will have plenty of crazy scoring nights.
The math edge is substantial, here. The Warriors are bombing from 3-point land. Curry had 13 3-point attempts on Thursday night vs. the Clippers. If that’s going to be the rate, his scoring is going to be outrageous.
Bradley Beal is still the favorite at +350, but Curry has obvious value so we’re grabbing it.
As the saying goes, Steph better.