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 fourth week of the season. For last week’s edition, click here.
The Phoenix Suns remain the favorite, somehow, to win this division. The Suns have underperformed to start and will likely settle. They’re unlikely to finish as the 20th-ranked team in adjusted plus-minus.
The Warriors, however, does look like a real juggernaut. Their schedule has been a cakewalk, but they’ve also jumped out to a two-game lead on the Suns. (The Suns are second in the West at 7-3, but their expected record based on point differential is 6-4.)
At +175, the Warriors’ implied odds are 36%. Based on their performance and that of the other division teams, I think the Suns are significantly closer to a coin flip for the division. The Warriors are absolutely going for it in terms of wins this season and competing for a title. I’m comfortable with them at any plus number.
Draymond Green Defensive Player of the Year +2000 (DraftKings, 0.10u)
Golden State has the second-best adjusted Defensive Rating behind the Denver Nuggets, and you can’t really believe the Nuggets’ impressive, physical start to hold throughout the year.
The Warriors, however, are certified. They have a reputation for defensive excellence, committed, experienced veteran defenders throughout, and Green anchoring it all. The Warriors actually have a better Defensive Rating with him on the bench than on the floor, but on the floor they’re still allowing an insane 100.1 Defensive Rating, per NBA Advanced Stats.
Green also brings the reputation you want. Voters know him well and he’s just as likely to receive credit if the Warriors win a top-two seed in the West with the top defense as Stephen Curry is to get MVP credit if they get top-two with an elite offense.
Green also makes plays no one does, like reading that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was going to reverse the screen here, and having the quickness to beat him to the baseline and shut down the play.
Rudy Gobert is still the favorite, but I think we have time to get him at a healthy plus number. I’d rather take Green at big plus number now. He should shorten considerably throughout the season, offering cash out or hedge opportunities later.
More from Moore: How These 5 Teams are Beating the Spread
Matisse Thybulle Defensive Player of the Year +4000 (DraftKings 0.15u)
It is time to get value on this while the Philadelphia 76ers‘ defensive numbers are still a little low, the team is under the radar, and the value is still this high.
Blocks and rebounds used to be the cheat sheet for DPOY. It was easy just to find the player with the most combined numbers in those categories and bank on them. (Marcus Camby won Defensive Player of the Year for crying out loud, in Denver!)
But impact has become a bigger determining factor. Thybulle is a guard and it’s difficult for guards to generate that kind of buzz, but Thybulle has the kind of stats that will grab voters who don’t want to do the work of watching thousands of defensive plays to gauge impact.
Thybulle ranks fourth in steals per game and, stunningly for a guard, ninth in blocks per game. He’s third in defensive box plus-minus, and he routinely makes plays like this, multiple efforts to shut down transition plays.
He’s seventh in deflections per game. The Sixers allow five fewer fastbreak points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, a stunning amount when you think of how that shrinks the opposing offense overall, and the Sixers’ Defensive Rating is a 5.6 points better per 100 with him on-court.
Thybulle has floated in the discussion the past two seasons even when he was a rookie, that’s how great he is.
This is the year voters will start to take note and I expect these odds to shorten considerably by the end of the year if he remains healthy.