As the season has progressed, we have a good idea of which one of these teams has a serious chance for contention, and who is a good bet to win end-of-season awards. Let’s use that information to find winning NBA picks.
- Defensive Player of the Year
Currently, the Defensive Player of the Year board shows Jaren Jackson is the heavy favorite to win the award at -175. However, there’s no value in betting on Jackson right now. Therefore we must look to a different player to make a sharp wager.
The Brooklyn Nets are poised to make another run of the standings when Kevin Durant returns to the lineup. Although these are individual awards, we know that team success is usually a harbinger of good things to come when winning these awards.
The Nets have a great chance to be heavy in the public consciousness with a huge winning streak as the season ends. Voters keep the end of the season in their minds more than the beginning of the season.
Nico Claxton’s development has been huge for the Brooklyn Nets. Claxton is averaging 2.63 blocks per game and almost one steal per game. His development into a defensive force changed the Brooklyn Nets’ outlook for this season.
Claxton is also an excellent switch defender which means the Nets can play a versatile defense. Highlights of Claxton defending guards out on the perimeter will be interspersed with Claxton’s show-stopping shot blocks.
I know Jaren Jackson is the favorite to win the award for a good reason, but Nico Claxton is the best value bet that you can make right now.
NBA Futures Pick: Nico Claxton to Win the Defensive Player of the Year (+500) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Eastern Conference Champions
The Boston Celtics are the favorites to win the East right now. At +190, there is no value to bet on the Celtics right now. However, there is value in the Milwaukee Bucks.
Kris Middleton’s Influence
The Milwaukee Bucks are finally healthy and moving in the standings. The Bucks have won five in a row now that Khris Middleton is back in the lineup and their three best players are all playing together. Khris Middleton means so much to this team.
You could argue that if Khris Middleton was not out of the lineup in the playoffs last year, the Milwaukee Bucks would have defeated the Boston Celtics last season. They have treated his injury very carefully.
The Bucks have not rushed him back into the lineup because they know how important it is for Middleton to be at full strength. With a fully healthy Middleton, the Bucks have a great chance to upset the Boston Celtics and be the Eastern Conference champions.
NBA Futures Pick: Milwaukee Bucks to Win the Eastern Conference (+375) at Caesars Sportsbook
Golden State Warriors
- Western Conference Champions
The Denver Nuggets are having the best regular season in the West right now and are the favorites at +350. Yet in betting on the Warriors you are betting on a team with a pedigree that has shown that when things go right, they are the best team in the NBA.
The Warriors have struggled to start the season with a championship hangover and then had injuries to key players.
Andrew Wiggins means so much to this team and his absence from the lineup made it hard for the Warriors to defend at the level that they need to do to be a championship team.
Andrew Wiggins’ Return
With Andrew Wiggins back in the lineup, the Warriors are playing excellent defense again. I expect the Warriors to move up to the standings and we know that in a seven-game series, they have the experience necessary to be able to come through in the clutch.
With none of the Western teams really pulling away and looking elite, it is another chance for the Warriors to shake out of their early season doldrums and display the form that is made them the top team in the NBA over the last 7 years. There’s great value in the Golden State Warriors to win the West at this number.
NBA Futures Pick: Golden State Warriors to Win the Western Conference (+400) at Bet365