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Bets You Should Avoid for the 2021 NBA Draft

| July 26, 2021 5:20 am PDT

The NBA Draft is an exciting time of year. The top prospects are under a microscope and inches from a life-changing contract.

Teams are hopeful they’re either landing the next generational superstar or at least getting better. And fans can make money betting on how it all unfolds.

Okay, so most people pay attention to the NBA Draft for basketball reasons only, but hey if there’s money to be made, why not go get it?

There are definitely some good ways to profit from the 2021 NBA Draft. If you want to see how just check out Michael Wynn’s best bets for the 2021 NBA Draft.

I’m on the other side of things, as I’ll try to deter you from NBA Draft bets that you need to avoid. Let’s go over the big ones that may seem alluring for some reason but are better off left alone in 2021.

The 1st Overall Pick in the Draft

This is a big “no thanks” from me. There have been whispers that the Detroit Pistons could pass on Cade Cunningham or even trade the pick, but I am blocking out the noise.

Two things tell me it’s a bunch of nonsense.

  • Cunningham is the best player in the draft
  • He has insane -5000 odds

Sure, you could take a crack at worthwhile prospects like Jalen Green (+1200), Evan Mobley (+1600), or Jalen Suggs (+1800), but the Pistons aren’t that stupid.

Detroit doesn’t have a ton of untouchable talent on their roster. They lack generational players that can really change the franchise.

They need one, and Cunningham appears to be the best bet to be that guy in this year’s draft. That has to be who the Pistons covet, and even if they did trade out of the top spot, anyone making the deal to trade up would almost certainly want Cunningham.

Cunningham is the pick, but you don’t want to invest a ton of cash in him at this disgusting -5000 price tag.

Spending $5,000 to get back $100 is just not worth it. It’s unlikely, but there is a chance that the Pistons do the unthinkable and pick someone else.

From every angle, this looks like one of the main NBA Draft bets to avoid in 2021.

Who Will Be Selected Inside the Top-10?

I will drop in a disclaimer here that there are SOME bets within this wager that could be good. However, the further you go down the line, the price gets more alluring but the safety gets shakier.

For instance, Cade Cunningham feels like a slam dunk to go 1st overall. After him, you can mess with the order all you want, but the likes of Mobley, Suggs, and Green seem like amazing bets to be picked inside the top-5, and at the very worst, somewhere in the top-10.

After that group, things get hairy in a hurry.

Bovada is one of the best sites for betting on the 2021 NBA Draft, but the top options favored to go inside the top-10 just aren’t welcoming.

Look at these odds.

  • Jonathan Kuminga (-10000)
  • Scottie Barnes (-10000)
  • Davion Mitchell (-300)

The odds do get a bit more interesting after that, but you also get further and further away from a concrete bet.

It’s quite likely Kuminga, and Barnes are top-10 locks. However, some mock drafts have Barnes sliding to the bottom of the top-10, and the pricing is even worse here than it is for the #1 pick.

I’d absolutely avoid these two bets when it comes to betting on who will be picked in the top-10 this year. It may not be a bad idea to stay away from guys like Mitchell, either, especially since some mocks have him outside of the top-10.

Corey Kispert’s NBA Draft Position

There are some NBA Draft bets to avoid based purely on price and some that you just have to pick your spots with.

This one focuses on a bet that just seems tricky enough to stay away from. Why? Because I’m not sure anyone knows what to make of Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert.

When you look at his offensive game and floor spacing, sure, he’s a potential lottery pick. Factor in his athleticism, defense, and playmaking at the next level, though, and his projection wavers.

That’s why he made my list of 2021 NBA Draft prospects that could slide this year.

Top Prospects That Could Slide In the 2021 NBA Draft

The 2021 NBA Draft figures to be pretty straightforward. When it comes to the #1 pick, that is. Even that is somewhat up in the air, seeing as the Detroit Pistons aren’t sure if they want to keep the pick. Whether they do or not, however, few would...

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I’m not at all saying Kispert is bad or can’t do well in the NBA. He has an elite jumper, and over time, I’m sure the rest of his scoring ability will translate, too.

It isn’t some lock that the NBA GMs picking in the lottery will see it that way, though, and right now, the best NBA betting apps are pricing Kispert’s draft position at an impossible to peg 14.

That means you need to bet that he’ll be taken before pick 14 (-130) or after (-110). The pricing doesn’t change things for me, but this is about smack dab in the middle of where he could go.

Seriously, just look at where some reputable NBA Draft mock experts have him going right now.

NBA Draft Mock Site Kispert’s Predicted Draft Position
Kyle Boone – CBS Sports 29th
Gary Parrish – CBS Sports 22nd
NBADraft.net 17th
ESPN Site Mock 13th
Jonathan Wasserman – Bleacher Report 14th
Tyler Byrum – NBC Sports 14th

Translation; some are not very high on a potentially one-dimensional offensive player, and it’s quite possible that 14th pick spot could be his floor.

Needless to say, it’s a nightmare of a prop that may just be better off left avoided.

Who Will Be Taken 2nd Overall?

One more NBA Draft bet to avoid is trying to predict the second overall pick. It should be easier than last year when many felt choosing between Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball was a literal toss-up.

From a talent perspective, it probably was. But that dilemma doesn’t exist at first overall in 2021.

Instead, (gulp), it resides at the two spot.

Cade Cunningham really looks like the lock to end all locks this year. But after him, what happens? Truly, nobody knows, as there are at least three viable options to be picked after him, and you could argue for more.

Here are the odds for this wager right now.

  • Jalen Green (-225)
  • Evan Mobley (+170)
  • Jalen Suggs (+600)
  • Cade Cunningham (+2000)
  • Jonathan Kuminga (+2000)

Obviously, there is a time and a place for projecting things, taking on some risk, and targeting some value. However, there is just not much certainty here.

Green is priced as a fairly sizable favorite to be the second pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but the mocks you can find online give a different answer at every turn.

Mobley is the play if a team wants a big man, and then it’s a toss-up if they’re looking for a scorer or a point guard.

To make matters worse, Houston is presently the holder of the #2 pick, and they could use a little bit of everything. They technically have certain positions spoken for with the presence of guys like John Wall, Kevin Porter Jr., and Christian Wood in town, but for a team this bad, you could really say just the opposite.

If you’re betting on the 2021 NBA Draft, you’re always going to assume some risk. However, Green isn’t that fun for the risk at this price, and the odds assigned to everyone not named Mobley make them feel like bad bets.

Given the odds for the favorite, you may be better off investing your time and money on NBA Draft position props you feel good about.

Betting on the NBA Draft in 2021

I wanted to cover multiple bases here and look at the worst NBA Draft bets from a few different angles.

The obvious one is the top pick. Betting on Cunningham at -5000 (or worse at some sites) just isn’t worth your time, and betting on a value pick doesn’t make much sense, either. The other bets just look like questionable spots, or the value doesn’t add up for me.

There are many other player prop bets to avoid when betting on the 2021 NBA Draft, but I also think some circumstantial bets should be left off of your betting ledger. Bets dealing with numbers of players from schools, whether players will be taken in the first round or not, and potential draft day trades all look like bets to avoid.

Then again, this is the NBA Draft, and we should have fun with it.

I think this is a good time to assume a little risk, aim high for some upside, and rack up some winning bets that offer modest returns. I just wouldn’t target the bets detailed above, is all.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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