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76ers +130 to win the Atlantic Division.
Brad: A month ago, I got Philadelphia in this bet at 5/1. And then even four days ago, this bet was there at plus-165. Unfortunately, it’s gone down since two plus-130. As we tape this, they have a one game lead over Brooklyn. Kevin Durant is out another month. You are giving me plus-130? Are you nuts? And the next seven games, I expect the Nets to have a losing record. Their schedule is tough. This is going to be very scalpable. When the Nets fall behind by a few games, you can bet them at nice plus-money to win the Atlantic. Additionally, maybe the 76ers get something for Ben Simmons would help this year. Daryl Morey really has a crush on James Harden. He wants him. He’s a smart guy. But if there is one player in the NBA I would not want it right now factoring in money, age, everything: James Harden would probably be my pick. So I think it would be an awful move; but Morey just seems like he’s got blinders on for this one particular player. If they really have been offered Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield for Ben Simmons, that would win them the title. They’d be the most talented team. Joel Embiid is almost playing like Bill Walton back in the day. He’s healthy this year. He’s probably going to win MVP. I would not waste a prime Embiid season. He may have 10 more. He may have one more. He may have three more. No one knows. To throw one away is criminal. But that’s a postseason story. They don’t need anything to beat the Nets without Durant and with Kyrie Irving only playing on the road and Harden no longer near the top of his game.
Next, the Kings Under 31.5 wins.
Brad: As we tape this, they need to go 15-17 to hit this. That is a 37-win pace. They have played 28 home games and 23 road games. They’re on a 29-win pace. Who in the world is setting these numbers? I think maybe it’s going back to the preseason expectations and putting in that win rate for the remainder of the year. They may have been expected to be a 37-win team. But this is clearly NOT a 37-win team.
Switching to hockey, you like the Avalanche to win the Central Division at minus-450.
Brad: I understand. People are like, “Jesus, why do you want to tell me to take the Chiefs minus-450 when they’re about to go up 28-3, Feinberg; we’re gonna be bankrupt.” I understand the thought process. Minus-450 is scary. But I bet the Chiefs before halftime when they were plus-300 and their win probability was 98%. So the process was right. Again, it’s process over results. This Colorado team is 20-2 in the last 22 games; you heard me correct. That is almost impossible. But the Avalanche are playing at a crazy-high level. This should be minus-900, according to my projections. So minus-450 while scary, actually is half of what it should be. I checked the projections sites and they are giving them a 94-95% chance to win the division. So they agree there is big value in minus-450, too.
Frédéric Anderson to win the Vezina at 12/1.
Brad: I don’t pretend to be a hockey expert, but I’m a numbers expert. Anderson is playing great. He leads the league in wins. He’s second in save percentage. He’s first in goals allowed. The competition is crazy. I get it. But you’re telling me these numbers right now are a one in 13 chance to win the trophy for best goalie? No. That makes no sense. We’re taking the goalie that is right now, today, is first in wins and second in percentage and first in goals against. If Anderson doesn’t win, is he in the final three? Yes. So I’m getting 12/1 on a final-three finalist. And the team has had so much success, right? The team has been great. What do I think the odds should be, on the blind? I would have to think maybe 5/1. Make a pizza bet on this one.
Jonathan Huberdeau to win the Hart (MVP) Trophy at 9-to-1.
Brad: Huberdeau leads the league in points. Florida has been great all year. He’s been the best player on the best team in the East. Now, two of the top favorites are Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Both on Edmonton. And in-between them at second favorite is Alex Ovechkin (out with COVID after recording). But Edmonton hasn’t had a great year this year. And I do think hockey MVP is closer to football and basketball where your record matters. The Capitals have been disappointing even with Ovechkin being great. Huberdeau is getting 9/1. If he was 3/1 like Ovechkin and Ovechkin was 9/1, I’d be telling you to bet Ovechkin. If things keep going as they have gone, Florida is the best team and Huberdeau is the leading scorer, I think Huberdeau has a much better than one out of 10 chance to win the MVP.