Welcome back to Futures Friday!
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 to a sizable position.
Here are the futures bets I’m eying as we near the end of the third week of the season.
Tyler Herro Sixth Man of the Year +200 (BetMGM, 0.20u)
I put this here as a mea culpa. We missed the value on Herro. He was on my shortlist for last week’s run, but I elected to get money in on the Miami Heat to win the East instead. My bad.
Herro’s odds have absolutely skyrocketed in the past week. I thought I’d have another week before the numbers got hit, but nope. They’re as short as +100 at PointsBet, so I’m getting in late on this before it gets to a minus number.
Herro is averaging 20 points per game off the bench, three points ahead of second-place Carmelo Anthony. With the Heat off to an audacious start, even after a blowout loss to the Boston Celtics, Herro’s definitely in the driver seat.
This award is always predominantly based on buckets, but 20-6-4 is a downright superstar line. Even if he cools down, he’ll be in a good spot.
Carmelo Anthony Sixth Man of the Year +1400 (BetMGM, 0.1u)
Anthony is second in scoring off the bench, averaging 17 points per game. There’s little risk of him starting, especially when Trevor Ariza returns from injury.
He’s been lights out offensively, shooting 50% from the field and 52.5% from 3-point range. He’ll cool off, he always does, but his effort on defense has been better than we’ve seen in, well, maybe ever.
Throw in the idea of a narrative reward for one of the game’s most beloved pure hoopers and the inherent Los Angeles Lakers bump and at 14-1, I want this involved.
My first Finals matchup of the year. I love betting this in the NBA because the playoffs are so much less random than any other sport. The seven-game series played out over average 100 possessions per game is so stable as to allow better value now, even this far out.
So I’m taking the teams I think are the two best long-term plays. I bet the Heat to win the Eastern Conference last week, so this is inherently a play against it. I already have Milwaukee Bucks futures, but I wanted this matchup specifically.
Miami has been awesome, dominant, but Milwaukee at full strength still projects as a juggernaut and it’s clear they’re not stressing about the regular season. They are cruising right now while they get everyone back healthy.
When the Eastern Conference dust settles, it sure looks like the Brooklyn Nets, Bucks, and Heat are the three teams with serious chances to make the Finals.
I wrote earlier this week why now isn’t the time to bet the Nets’ futures: the books aren’t shaking at all from the Nets’ early struggles. And Miami, for all its impressive performance, still has issues in half-court offense, which showed up in that loss to the C’s.
But even with Miami’s success knocking out the Bucks in the Bubble and Kyle Lowry’s experience doing the same a season prior, I still give the edge to this Bucks team at full strength with this super-monster version of Giannis Antetokounmpo we’re seeing.
In the West, sure, it’s early. But look at what the Golden State Warriors are doing — 6-1 with Stephen Curry having gone through three separate fourth quarters without scoring. Their offense hasn’t even really gotten in gear yet, Klay Thompson’s not back yet and Curry is “only” shooting 37% from 3.
Golden State has the NBA’s second-best in adjusted Defensive Rating per Dunks and Threes. Every player to play more than 100 minutes has an on-court Net Rating of +8.0 or better.
We can build on Miami matchups later. If you want to pass because the playoffs are six months away, I get it. But I don’t think this number will be 22-1 by All-Star break, I think it’ll be much shorter. I’m getting that position started now.