How to Bet NBA Futures After All-Star Game: These Teams are Best for DraftKings Bet + Get Promotion
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic
DraftKings just unveiled a very interesting and enticing promotion titled “NBA Futures Bet + Get.”
To summarize the terms, you need to opt-in, then place a wager of at least $25 on an NBA team to win the title.
Afterward, you receive a $10 Same Game Parlay for the next day and a free bet of which the amount is determined by “every regular season win your team gets after the all star break.”
They divide these wager amounts into three tiers — and the amount earned — in free bets per win.
- $25 – $49.99 = $1 “for every regular season win your team gets after the all star break.”
- $50 – $99.99 = $2 “for every regular season win your team gets after the all star break.”
- $100+ = $5 “for every regular season win your team gets after the all star break.”
Your max return on each tier is to bet the fewest amount of dollars while qualifying for that tier. A $25 wager returns 4% back per win for the free bet, a $50 wager returns 4% back per win for the free bet and a $100 wager returns 5% back per win for the free bet.
So in the long-run, you can see the largest return with a $100 wager based on percentages. As a result, I’ll be using the $100 wager as a point of reference moving forward in this analysis.
Given the injuries to both Chris Paul and Draymond Green, I’ll also be looking for value in the Western Conference for this promotion.
There are a couple of interesting wrinkles to this. The promotion says “NBA Championship bet must be placed before February 28th at 7 p.m. EST.” However, teams start playing games after the All-Star break on Thursday, Feb. 24.
As a point of reference, the Nuggets play three games between now and the deadline to opt in and make your wager. You can opt in and make your wager after those three games and if the Nuggets won all three games (they play the Kings twice and the Blazers), you’d know at a minimum you’d receive a $15 free bet back.
With that in mind, it makes sense to wait until the last moment to enter your championship wager because you’d already know the floor for the return from these teams.
To avoid any confusion, The Action Network confirmed with officials at DraftKings that this is the proper interpretation of the promotion.
Another thing to consider is the total number of games left to be played. The Clippers have already played 61 games this season, so they have just 21 games remaining and their max return on this promo is a $105 free bet if they went 21-0 — an unrealistic outcome for a variety of reasons. On the opposite end, the Raptors have played just 57 games, so their max return is $125.
While free bets are not the same — nor as valuable — as free credits (i.e. with FanDuel), they still have inherent value and it’s important to try and maximize that.
So who do we back with this type of promotion? I’m realistically looking for a team to secure 15 wins, which would bring back a $75 free bet. It’s not the entire amount, but it’s significant and it cuts into the initial cost basis of my ticket.
Moreover, it depends on how you look at futures. There’s a specific strategy we’ve written about regarding how to use free bets to build a portfolio of futures.
If you don’t have futures on the Bucks, Suns, Warriors, 76ers or Nets already, then maybe this is an opportunity to open up a position. But I also think you could just wait on those teams and get a similar number at the end of the regular season (barring a catastrophic injury) and roll the free bet you’d receive from this promotion into that bet (the terms state the free bet will be issued on April 11).
I’m looking for a team that has at least 24 games left to play, is fighting for playoff positioning, has a ceiling as a title contender and has odds that are likely to be slashed by the time the playoffs start.
The Suns are without Chris Paul and have such a big cushion that there’s less incentive to truly push for wins. The Warriors likely do not care if they are seeded second or third. And in the East, the conference is so stacked that it’s tough to pick a team considering six teams could come out of the conference.
Two teams that stand out are the Nuggets (+3500) and the Lakers (+4500), but I like the Nuggets better because they’re significantly less likely to be involved in the play-in tournament.
Moreover, I don’t think we have seen their ceiling with both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. likely to return this season.
Plus, where the Nuggets are currently seeded, they likely have a date with the Grizzlies, Jazz, or Mavericks in the playoffs. If the Nuggets are healthy I like them in any of those matchups in the first round of the playoffs.
Additionally, the Nuggets have a significantly easier remaining strength of schedule (SoS) than the Lakers — eighth-easiest compared to third-toughest, per Tankathon.
We can take a rudimentary look at the math involved here, but if you take the Nuggets’ 56.9% winning percentage you’d expect 13.656 wins in their remaining 24 games, but since the Nuggets have had the seventh-hardest strength of schedule thus far, it’s reasonable to expect more wins against lesser opponents moving forward.
I don’t see any reason that they cannot go at least 15-9 (62.5%) and bring back a $75 free bet. As I previously mentioned, you cannot value a free bet as equal to credits or cash, but if you think of this return as cutting into your initial cost basis of the wager, a $75 free bet would take your basis down to just $25 while keeping the same payout of $3500 on the futures wager. This takes the odds from 35-1 to 140-1.
I’d be remiss to mention that the Nuggets are just 7-14 against top 10 teams in point differential this season despite having the 11th-best point differential in those games, per Cleaning the Glass.
Much of this could change during the playoffs, though, with the Nuggets anticipating the returns of Murray and MPJ. So, I’m less concerned about their prior performances. Although it may not translate this season, the Nuggets absolutely wrecked teams with Murray, MPJ, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic last season.
In 232 possessions, they had a point differential of +17.1 while scoring 127.2 points per 100 possessions and allowing just 110.1, per Cleaning the Glass. Looking at lineups with at least 200 shared possessions this season, that Nuggets’ lineup would be in the top 10 in the league.
Considering all of these factors, I think the Nuggets are the best value on the board given their odds, their playoff path, and their untapped ceiling. Wait and see if they sweep their three games right out of the All-Star break and start yourself off with at least $15 in free bets.