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Current NBA Team Futures Market – Who's Got the Early Edge?

At this point in the summer, the dust from the NBA free agency stampede still settling, looking at team futures odds for the next pro basketball champion may seem somewhat premature. However, wise wagers made before odds change, often prove rather profitable.

We've taken a look at the most recent team futures odds for division, conference and championship winner from the DraftKings NBA sportsbook. Some big-name trades, plus the subsequent navigation of certain free agents to new cities, have totally changed the landscape of the NBA.

We've taken a look into some aspects of these three sets of odds to see if we can spot any trends for you. We'll begin with a scan of the favorites to win each division and see how those match up with conference projects, ultimately pinpointing the most appealing odds for next season's NBA champ.


Division Futures

Four out of the six divisions have large gaps between the projected winner and second place. Milwaukee -560 has the biggest advantage over the Pacers +390, with the rest of the Central Division having little more than a wing and a prayer of capturing outpacing the Bucks'

There is a similar situation in another Eastern Conference division, where the Miami Heat -118 nearly double-ups Orlando +130. None of the other three are given much of a chance here either. Philadelphia -143 is projected as head-and-shoulders above Boston +440 and defending champion Toronto +480 to take the Atlantic Division.

Mid-summer futures in the Eastern Conference point to clean roads ahead of the three best teams in their respective divisions. The Western Conference is by no means as clearly defined. In fact, there are some confusing odds for the trio of divisions out west.

The only division in the West with a clear-cut favorite is the Southwest. Houston's acquisition of Russell Westbrook widened the gap between the Rockets -225 and the San Antonio Spurs +280. The other pair of divisional favorites comes with a twist when we look ahead to the projected conference winner and eventual NBA champ.

The LA Clippers have an unusually high gap between themselves and their cross-town rivals. Certainly, we can't forget the Lakers roster boasts the name of two big-name players. It may seem hard to fathom that LeBron James and Anthony Davis wearing the same team jersey wouldn't earn a nod as the favorite in the division.

However, that is what happened when Paul George and Kawhi Leonard decided to join forces on the other half the LA connection that plays inside Staples Center. The Clippers being favorite isn't nearly as much of a surprise as the gap between the two teams is. Clippers are -167 and the Lakers come in at +220.

The Lakers and Clippers gap is the closest for winning the division, just behind the Miami and Orlando spread. There is one division that has been rated a tossup. It's also one division that seems to have quirky odds when we step to the next level of picking a conference winner. You can find the full Los Angeles Lakers roster on

Denver and Utah are currently projected to be in a dead heat for the Northwest Division title. All the division odds changed dramatically when the biggest free agents signed last week and Oklahoma and Houston finalized the Russell Westbrook deal. Now, looking into the conference winner odds begins to show where some questions may be for the oddsmakers.


Conference Winners

In the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee at +150 is projected as the early favorite. Logically, Philadelphia's free agent moves and solidifying of last year's title contending team has them a very close second at +220.

After that, the odds to represent the East in the Finals drop tremendously. The biggest surprise is the third most alluring team to oddsmakers is the Boston Celtics +700. No other team, including the defending champion Raptors +1,400 is under a full +1,000 to win the East.

Out West, there is a far more open race. The first perplexing thing is the gap between the Clippers and Lakers to win the Western Conference is actually slightly tighter than the gap for winning the division. The Clippers +200 and the Lakers +270 are the two favorites.

Even reuniting Russell Westbrook with his old buddy James Harden in Houston only pushed the Rockets up to a +500. However, at least the oddsmakers think Houston has a bettor's chance of pushing one of the two LA teams for a spot in the conference finals.

Now, Golden State and Utah have matching +1,000 odds of winning the West, with Denver actually rated lower than Utah. Might that be a clue to which team oddsmakers will win the potentially lucrative odds for winning the Northwest?

In addition, might the tighter gap between the Lakers and Clippers give some clue to which of the LA teams oddsmakers really believes is better? One thing the matching +1,000 odds of winning the West for the Warriors and Jazz means is oddsmakers' think the run of Golden State's west coast dominance will come to an end.


NBA Champion Futures

When we navigate over the list of team futures for next season's NBA championship, some things follow an orderly progression, but a couple simply do not. The Clippers +325 continue to hold an advantage over the Lakers +425.

Obviously, both LA teams cannot play in the finals, so Milwaukee's favorite line of +650 is logical. However, it is a full 250 better than the odds of the Sixers winning the NBA title. Plugged in the middle between the Bucks and Philadelphia is Houston at +800.

Okay, so we appear to be headed for a battle for Los Angeles leading to one of the two LA teams hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy next year. We also seem to be moving on from Dub Nation's league-wide dominance.

One more quirky number in the list of futures odds for eventual NBA champion may not win a championship, but they might win you some cash picking the division winners. Utah, the same Jazz +1,300 team even-up with the Nuggets for the division, is a full 1,000 better than Denver +2,300 for winning the whole enchilada next year.

Now, we're not advocating that Denver or Utah may have the talent to win the NBA championship next year. But, following the progression down from Northwest Division winner odds through the championship, someone must think Utah is going to pull a few surprises.

As we navigate our way through the dog days of summer in pro baseball and kick off the new NFL season, the NBA will rest. A lot of vigorous activity the first week of July may have your head spinning.

The landscape of professional basketball has changed dramatically. NBA rosters will be vastly different. Two of those rosters are in the City of Angels. What's it all mean when looking at the NBA team futures market? There is going to be an all-out battle to be the best team in town, let alone the best in the world.

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