Each week, BetPrep Sharp and NBC Sports Betting Analyst Brad Feinberg discusses expected win totals, division odds, championship favorites, and potential award winners with host and BetPrep Editor Michael Salfino of The Athletic and FiveThirtyEight. It’s the official futures podcast of BetPrep, a free sports betting research site that empowers bettors with the same tools both the sharps and the sportsbooks use.
Here are some highlights from the latest episode of the Givin’ Futures Podcast.
76ers -140 to win the Atlantic Division, 70% of a unit
Michael: You want to combine this with the Raptors at 11/1, 16% of a unit. And finally, the Celtics 12/1, 14% unit division. Where oh where are the Nets?
Brad: Originally I was viewing this as a combined bet. The point was I was completely discounting the Nets. And I’m basically cornering the market on everyone else. But in thinking about it further, I like the Raptors bet the best if you want a stand-alone. The Nets have lost eight in a row as we record. They are three games back. And they don’t really care at all about seeding or the regular season. You can make the case that they are better off playing on the road with Kyrie Irving than at home without him (due to COVID restrictions currently in place). I also expect Kevin Durant to miss the next 8-9 games, so things are not getting better for Brooklyn.
Now let’s look at Toronto. They’re starting five is fantastic. They have five 15-point-per-game scorers. Fred VanFleet is averaging 22 per game of late. Pascal Siakam is playing like a legitimate All-Star. Gary Trent had six games in a row of getting 30-plus points. Scottie Barnes has been the second-best rookie in the NBA. Now their depth is a little weak potentially, though I like Chris Boucher. But the key to this bet is that the market says the Nets are the second favorite and I think they are fourth to win the division. Given their respective schedules, with the 76ers sixth hardest and the Raptors one of the easiest (24th hardest as we write this), I think the Raptors have a much better than 1-in-12 chance to win the division. I think the odds should be 3/1 or 4/1.
As for the Celtics, they never had a question about their talent. They are playing very well lately, winning seven of eight. They’re tied with the Nets in the standings and I think they’re better than the Nets now, pretty easily, given Durant’s absence.
Grizzlies minus-400 to win the Southwest Division
Brad: This is free money basically. You send however much to the casino for 27 games and they give you 25% on your money. The Grizzlies don’t have a 20% chance to win the division. They have about a 96% chance. So you should be betting $100 to win $4, not $25. People don’t like these bets because they are smaller payoffs. But when there’s this much value, you make the bet with no questions asked. The Grizzlies are a good team, they are hot, they have a top player, they have a huge lead and the second-place team, Dallas, is not healthy.
Degrom +550 to win the Cy Young Award
Michael: Now we have the fantasy community figuring he’s hurt off of last year. These odds seem to imply he’s hurt, just like that second-round ADP in fantasy. But the reports are that he’s been given a clean bill of (elbow ligament) health by multiple doctors.
Brad: I’m just looking at deGrom the last four years: 2018 he wins the award. 2019, he wins the award. 2020, a final three nominee, did not win. Last year, we know he would have won in the most blowout fashion in the history of blowout fashions, if he did not get hurt. Now he did get hurt. And there is related risk. I just don’t think there’s this much risk based on what we know. But deGrom having a 15% chance to win the Cy Young Award when he’s by far the best pitcher? It’s basically saying there’s a 15% chance he’s healthy and, as you noted, it’s been reported that three doctors said he’s fully recovered and another gave his ligament a clean MRI reading. These odds seem too skeptical on deGrom’s health.
Walker Buehler at 15/1 to win the Cy Young Award
Michael: But let’s assume that deGrom doesn’t pitch a full season. So we need another candidate in the NL. That’s where Buehler comes in.
Brad: You can find this bet at a major sportsbook. I know the odds are lower in most of them but I did get 15/1 this week. Buehler led the league in innings pitched actually last year, or was close enough. (He actually led the loop in starts.) The last two years he’s been healthy, he’s 30-8. I think the Dodgers are a top team. This is not an easy bet. It’s probably going to lose. There are plenty of good pitchers in the National League. It’s just that my choice for the second-best pitcher in the league would be Buehler so I think he should have the second-best odds. I also think his best year is ahead of him and that he’s getting better (entering his age 27 season).
For more picks including a hockey divisional pick and an AL Cy Young pizza bet at 100/1 plus a long shot that should be a lot shorter for AL MVP, listen to the full Givin Futures podcast here.