2021 NBA Draft Prop Betting Picks: Best Position Over/Under Bets from The Action Network Podcast
Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images. Pictured: Cade Cunningham
The Action Network’s basketball analysts Matt Moore and Brandon Anderson broke down the upcoming NBA draft and shared some of their favorite draft bets on the latest episode of The Action Network podcast.
Check out their in-depth thoughts about some of the latest rumors, who is undervalued, who is overvalued, and what their strategies will be going forward when betting the draft.
All odds listed are via BetMGM and were listed at the time of recording on Wednesday.
Cade Cunningham is -5000 at BetMGM to go first overall. Is there anyone else worth betting to go first?
Brandon: There’s no one else I want to bet on to go first. It’s possible he goes first to another team, but if the Pistons do choose that he’s not their guy, then it has to be a move down from the Pistons. If you want to play something, take Cunningham at +3500 to go second.
Is there any value on Scottie Barnes to go fourth at +225?
Brandon: If you’re playing Suggs not to go fourth, I like the value on him to go fifth at +425 much more than betting Barnes to go fourth at +225.
Matt: Suggs to go fifth at BetMGM is +425. The Magic will not let one of Barnes or Suggs go past them. Even if something crazy happens like Kuminga goes third, then the Magic will take Suggs at fifth because he is better than Barnes.
Who Will be Drafted Higher Than People Expect?
Brandon: Jaden Springer.
He is a very high floor prospect because he’s good at everything without being great at something, and those type of prospects tend to be undervalued. We love to talk about this guy’s jumper, or this guy’s defense or this guy’s [fill in the blank]. He doesn’t really fit that because he has a quieter, more rounded game.
He’s a very good defender who really locks in and plays with high energy on that end. He’s gonna be a good guard defender. He fits well in a lot of team concepts because he can play on or off the ball. His shooting numbers were good this year though not on super high volume – so there is a little concern there.
His free throws look good. The shot looks confident. He can dribble and pass. He can create for himself or others. He’s not great at any of those things. The one concern with him is that he’s not super bursty, so he’s not gonna beat his guy on his own to get to the rim consistently.
To me, Springer and Suggs are similar because of the understated nature of their game. Springer played hurt this entire season on a sprained ankle that he kept reinjuring. A lot of the reports from the combine were that he looked healthier, and he had that pop again. Of all the things we didn’t like about him, if it’s that burst, then that jives with a thing that would’ve been hampered by an injury.
The Tennessee offense didn’t have very good spacing whereas Gonzaga had great spacing. Springer is 15 months younger than Suggs. To me, if you give Springer 15 months to get better and ask if he can lead that Gonzaga team to the championship game, I think he can.
I have Springer in my tier with Suggs. I think he has a very high floor to be a very good contributor – think like a George Hill or a Malcolm Brogdon type of player. I think that is a median outcome, but there is a lot more upside. I have him fifth on my board, but his over//under is 22.5. There is a real cognitive dissonance somewhere here. Draft Twitter likes him a lot too, but not as much as me.
Matt: I bet Springer at Under 23.5 at -110 everywhere I could find it when the odds first dropped. Draft Twitter will all latch onto a guy and like him more than the consensus, but he won’t get drafted as high as they think he should.
Springer is a high-IQ player. He’s a good defender, he’s all-around, he’s productive, and he’s a playmaker. He makes other guys better. His shot release is painfully slow. Coaches believe that getting him to shoot more everyday will help speed that up. On BetMGM, his under is juiced to +110 at 22.5. I think this still has to be a best bet.
Who is Another Player Who Will be Drafted Higher Than People Expect?
Matt: Moses Moody – Little Rock Lightning. I’ve got a lot of money on Moses Moody unders (his current over/under is 11.5).
He’s a high floor player. He’s gonna be good. He’s gonna score, play defense. He’s not gonna be your superstar, but if you’re saying we need to nail this pick, Moody is your guy.
Brandon: He’s another guy that draft Twitter is very high on. He’s young. He’s long. His shot is pure and looks great. He’s the exact 3 and D guy you want to slot in. He can easily become that kind of 16, 18, or 20 points a game guy in time once he gets more opportunity. What you’re hoping for with him is the Warriors at 7 or the Kings at 9 where a team isn’t looking to hit a home run but instead hit a double. This is a good fit for a team looking for someone who fit in right now and make a difference on my winning team. Why are you shaking your head at me?
Matt: I feel very confident that the Kings will pick either Franz Wagner or Sengun. If the Kings take someone who’s not one of those two guys there, it’s because someone fell to them whom they were not expecting to fall to nine. Kuminga would be someone that could fit that. I don’t think Moody goes to the Kings at nine.
Brandon: Moody’s over/under is 11.5. Your out with Moody is that you can put him on any team in the NBA because every team needs shooters on the wing who can play defense. He’s a potential pick for any team because he fits with any construct of a roster. He gives you a slight extra out at any spot after the top five, so I think that the under still makes sense.
Brandon, who do you like best among the International Players?
Brandon: I like Usman Garuba best. I like Garuba and am underwhelmed by Giddey and Sengun.
Garuba reminds me a little bit of Serge Ibaka because he’s a Spanish power forward. He’s already playing on the Spanish Olympic team (which is impressive because Spain would be the favorite if the USA falters). He’s already the best defender in the draft right now. I think he’s a classic four who can play five just like Ibaka eventually was. He can switch on the perimeter while also defending the rim.
Offensively, he’s more of a play finisher who can play in the dunker spot. I like that he moves naturally and gets into easy spots for good buckets. Being a center on offense isn’t a good thing, but he uses that ability well. He can pass in the short roll a little bit. He can play that center role well.
What I’m bummed about is that more NBA teams have an offensively skilled center, like Jokic, KAT, or Vucevic, but need help defensively at the four. I would love to see one of those teams get their hands on Garuba. I’m a Timberwolves fan, and I’d love to see Garuba next to Towns or Evan Mobley or Chet Holmgren.
Matt, who do you like best among the International Players?
Matt: Josh Giddey’s over/under is at 10.5 with the under at -200. Even despite that number, I think there might still be value on the under. Last year, Patrick Williams was another late riser, and I had his under in my props article, and he ended up going fourth to the Bulls.
It wasn’t just that the Bulls liked him, but there were four different teams that like him, and with Giddey there’s something similar. For example, I’ve heard the Raptors like him a lot, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go fourth to Toronto.
Oklahoma at six is not someone I will remove from the equation for Giddey. Warriors at seven is in play. The rest is Orlando at eight – which they might trade. Kings at nine is still Wagner or Sengun. But at 10.5, he’s probably going to the Grizzlies at 10. I know you hate the juice, but at -200, I still like it.
Brandon: I don’t love the juice, but my quick case against him is that he’s an incredible passer who can make every creative pass, but I don’t trust him as a shooter, scorer, or defender. He’s kinda like the thing people thought LaMelo was going to be, but he turned out to be a much better scorer and a little better defender. The thing that people still think Ricky Rubio is, but Rubio is a solid defender. That’s my concern, but he’s very young and can improve in those areas.
He has a lot of those “you can’t teach it” sort of things going for him. Here’s the case for the under: international ball is taking over. Every team is terrified of missing on the next great Euro star, and that will push him up the boards. I think the international guys will go higher than expected because people don’t want to miss on him.
Thoughts on James Bouknight Over/Under 6.5?
Matt: Bouknight had an incredible 1-on-0 workout with a bunch of people in attendance at the combine and blew them away.
Brandon: Kinda like Yi Jianlian?
Matt: You’re the second guy to bring up a Yi Jianlian comparison.
The analytics hate him. He shot 33% on 3s last season, and there’s no evidence that he’s gonna be a quality shooter, mathematically. Draft Twitter isn’t high on him. The consultants aren’t high on him.
The execs are very high on him. Extremely high. He has said publicly that he had dinner with Sam Presti, which has a lot of people pencilling him in at six to the Thunder.
The over/under on him is 6.5. I will ultimately tell you that this is a stay-away. The under is -135, and the over is +110. The noise is so strong on him that i can;t recommend the under, but all of my analysis (or analysis-based sources) say over.
A lot of it comes down to this: he’s not going 1-4. At five: maybe? It’s possible the Magic take Bouknight over Barnes. There’s an assumption for him at six which I hate. Why? The worst kept secret is that Oklahoma City desperately wants to move up for a top-four pick. They don’t want 1800 picks; they would rather move up and get a better one. Does someone trade down to take Bouknight? It’s not impossible, but I have a hard time seeing it. The Thunder also have the tightest-lipped organization in the NBA. Sam Presti telegraphing what he does doesn’t sound right. I’m more concerned about Kuminga at six than Bouknight.
Brandon: I agree with everything you said. Bouknight at 6.5 makes no sense to me. We’ve been talking about how we know who the top five guys are. All that leaves left is just one spot for him to go under 6.5. It doesn’t make sense to Oklahoma City.
It doesn’t make sense that the Thunder would leak a pick – they always make these picks that don’t make sense to us. It seems so obviously that this is not a play, and it seems like a free money play. I’m seeing the “it’s a trap” meme in front of me, and maybe they know about a trade up that is lined up, and it’s more than I know. It makes sense, and I can’t do it.
What are your other Favorite Draft Bets?
Matt: Ayo Dosunmu Under 26.5. There was word earlier this week that he doesn’t get past the Lakers at 22. However, there are two other names associated with the Lakers, so maybe that’s just agent talk or they liked him and moved on. I do want some cushion with all these, so having four more spots after the Lakers gives me a little more breathing room.
Isaiah Jackson Over 20.5. I think that’s probably an over – it’s juiced at -120. I think he’s more likely to go Knicks at 21 more than anything higher. I just don’t think bigs are going to be in that big of a demand this year.
Chris Duarte has slid. He was being talked about as a potential lottery pick. I think one of the reasons for this is because Davion Mitchell is sliding too. Mitchell’s over/under is 12.5, and I’m going to bet the over at +100.
Rokas Jokubaitis Under 43.5. He’s got a first round interest.
Brandon: I like the under on that one. I’ve seen him in a lot of high second round mock drafts where you can draft and stash guys.
Matt: Joshua Primo Under 27.5. Both sides on this at BetMGM are at even money, and I like the under.
Brandon: He’s the youngest player in the draft. I think there’s upside there.
Matt: JT Thor Under 31.5.
Brandon: Yeah I love JT Thor. I have him near late lottery. He’s definitely not gonna go late lottery, but I can see some Pascal Siakam development curve in him. He’s a guy with defensive skills and a deep skillset.
Are there any general strategies you’ll be using heading into the draft when looking for other bets?
Brandon: My M.O. is going to be looking for guys whose over/under is in the 6-20 range, and I’m gonna be looking for overs. Guys projected at the back of it might go sooner, and the guys who are projected at the top of it might slip. I think it’s gonna be a weird mix in the middle of the first round.