NBA Futures Bets & Picks: Rookies Paolo Banchero, Bennedict Mathurin Show Early Value
Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic.
Welcome back to NBA Futures Friday!
New season, same concept. Every week we dive into the best available bets in the futures market, trying to build a position that will serve us best come spring.
We begin today with a look at what might just be one of the more remarkable rookie classes we’ve seen in a while.
Paolo Banchero -139 (BetRivers)
Barring and injury (knock on wood), this is likely your last chance to get Banchero under -200.
Banchero shot to the forefront of my betting board at summer league. You walk into the gym for a Banchero game, and his level of physical development, polish, handle, and skills, combined with a very clear agenda from Orlando to put the ball in his hands, was evident.
We gave him out consistently on the Buckets podcast over the summer.
We gave him out in preseason as well. The number has only moved one direction and it continues to get shorter and shorter.
Banchero’s start has been perfect if you’ve bet him. He’s been the best overall rookie, but he has room to improve. Compared to his closest competitor, whom we’ll get to in a second, his early success is not based on outlier shooting. Banchero is averaging 25-8-3 per 36 minutes while shooting 50% from the field and 80% from the line.
The strength he already has is incredible. Here’s him bursting past Jarrett Allen for the layup.
He attacks Isaiah Hartenstein’s drop coverage here and knocks him off his spot, allowing him to get space for his runner:
The skillset is there as well. How about a post-up fadeaway on veteran Blake Griffin?
The scoring is phenomenal. Banchero shot 3-of-5 from behind the arc against the Cleveland Cavaliers. If he starts to consistently hit 3s (currently 28%), his numbers are going to get a little ridiculous.
Notably, Banchero’s not just scoring. He’s averaging eight rebounds per 36 minutes so far. That was a big question mark for him. His effort level when rebounding during Summer League waxed and waned. He went a half with one rebound, then would surge in the second half on the glass.
Rebounds for a rookie on a poor-shooting lottery team aren’t going to mean much, but they add to his overall resume.
There are already -200’s in the market for Banchero, and at that point, you’ve missed the value.
Bennedict Mathurin (+480, FanDuel)
Mathurin has better numbers than Banchero. His per 36’s? 27-6.5-3. He started off shooting better than 50% from deep, but he’s 1-of-10 from behind the arc in the past two games. If he regresses a little, he starts to look mortal.
It’s important to note he’s not just a shooter. He’s got slick moves on cuts and drives:
You can watch the games and tell that Mathurin hasn’t made the scouting report yet.
A veteran top-flight defender once told me that rookies, if they’re ready, can take more advantage than they know. Most veterans aren’t going to read the scouting report in the regular season, or at least not in detail. They go off their familiarity with the player.
If you don’t know Mathurin, you’ll allow more space:
I don’t know if Mathurin will continue to shoot as well as he has, but he’s going to have a phenomenal season. If you want to fade the market hyper-reaction to Banchero, he’s your best bet.
Name to Watch: Keegan Murray (+850 DraftKings)
Murray opened his first three games out of Health and Safety protocol shooting 50% from the field and 40% from deep, averaging 17.7 points and 5.0 rebounds.
I don’t want to bet him yet, but if the Sacramento Kings can get their act together to improve offensive flow (“Hahahaha!” he laughed at the suggestion of the Kings, who he bet the over on win total on, getting it together), then Murray’s going jump up the board.