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The Best 2023 NBA Futures Bets As Season Winds Down

Jan 28, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) drives against Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The  2022-23 NBA season is quickly concluding. With less than two weeks left in the Association’s regular season, there is still much to decide and time to get on potentially lucrative regular season future bets. The following will examine some of the  2023 NBA Future best bets, such as teams to make the playoffs, MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved, and 6th Man of the Year.  

The Best 2023 NBA Futures Bets As Season Winds Down

Best NBA Futures Bets: To Make Playoffs

While each NBA team has about eight games remaining, only seven of the 20 teams (eight play-in) that will qualify for extra games have clinched a spot – four in the Eastern Conference and three in the Western Conference. Four teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, leaving 19 squads fighting for the final 13 slots. As a reminder, the playoffs don’t officially begin until the play-in games are completed.    

Chicago Bulls +320 

Chicago is very appealing at three times the money to make the playoffs. The Bulls (36-40) sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have played well since the calendar turned to 2023, going 20-20, including posting a 10-7 record with a +4.8 scoring margin since the all-star break. 

Chicago has a friendly schedule down the stretch with five winnable games left. The Bulls should maintain their slot in the play-in game, as they hold a two-game advantage over the 11th-place Wizards and could move up a spot or two to give them a little more chance to get out of the play-in round. 

Toronto (38–38) and Atlanta (38-38) are just a game ahead of Chicago. The Raptors have a demanding schedule, with four of their last six contests coming against teams with a winning record. The Hawks, who the Bulls will face in Chicago next week, struggle on the road and are 5-5 over the last 10 games. 

If Chicago gets at least one home game in the play-in, the Bulls have a good chance as the Raptors and Hawks to secure a playoff spot. The Bulls are 6-3 against the Raptors, Hawks, and Heat – who is sitting in seventh in the East. Chicago swept Miami and has taken two of three from Atlanta this season.   

Los Angeles Lakers – 150

Los Angeles (38-38) looks like a sure-fire playoff participant, as long as the Lakers are healthy, despite sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference with seven games to go. While the Lakers are technically one-half game away from being in 11th place in the conference, they are theoretically also just two and one-half games out from fifth place. They were playing well before running into a buzzsaw that was the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, and all six remaining games are very winnable. 

The problem is nobody knows the quality of the Lakers. The Lakers have used 37 different starting lineups this year, with their top lineup starting only nine games together. Their top two players, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, have played in 50 and 49 games and started 24 times together.  

There is good news. The Lakers are playing their best basketball of the season, going 9-6 in their last 15 games with a +2.8 scoring margin. The Lakers, who will play their first three contests of this final stretch on the road, have won four of their last six away from home. 

Davis has played very well over the last 13 games, averaging 27.2 points along with 12.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Dennis Schroeder have also played well during this stretch. 

Moreover, the other teams battling for the final playoff spots – Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, and Dallas Mavericks – have their issues. The Mavs are 3-7 in their last 10 games, while the Lakers will face the Timberwolves on Friday; the Pelicans and Thunder are average teams at best. 

Los Angeles is 3-1 against New Orleans and 2-1 versus OKC this year. But the Lakers are 1-3 against the Mavericks and 1-3 versus the Wolves. Three of the four games against the Mavs were decided by four or fewer points. Davis missed two games against Dallas, and James was absent for one.      

Best NBA Futures Bets: Most Valuable Player

Nikola Jokic +105

Is Nikola Jokic really going to do something that Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Stephen Curry, or  James hasn’t ever accomplished? It appears so. 

The 20022-23  MVP race appears to be the Jokic’s to lose after Joel Embiid missed his 15th game of the campaign when the Denver Nuggets and the Philadelphia 76ers squared off on Monday night. The Joker took advantage of Embiid’s absence and recorded his 29th triple-double of the campaign. Joker totaled 27 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists, and two blocks to lead the Nuggets to a 116-111 victory. 

There is still time for Embiid to convince voters he is a more deserving candidate for the award. But Jokic’s all-around numbers — except for points per game – are better than Embiid’s, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jayson Tatum’s

Jokic is averaging nearly a triple-double with 24.9 points, 11.9 caroms, and 9.9 assists. He is shooting a career-best 63.4% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc in 67 appearances. The two-time 2022-23 NBA Player of the Month (January/February) leads the league in advanced stats like true shooting percentage, PER, Win Shares, Box Plus/Minus, and VORP. He also ranks in the top five in rebounds and assists per game. 

If Jokic does win the prestigious award this year, he will join a select company. Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell are players that have won the MVP in three consecutive seasons. 

Defensive Player of the Year

 Brook Lopez -110

The 2022-23 NBA Defensive Player of the Year appears to be a two-man race between Brook Lopez, and Jaren Jackson Jr.  Jackson is the most deserving of the award. However, Jackson has missed 17 games and averages fewer minutes than the other two. Here is a case where the best ability is availability. 

Lopez is the betting favorite at -175, while Jackson is at -120. It is like splitting hairs between the two players. The 34-year-old center is a major reason that Milwaukee is behind the Cavaliers as the league’s best defense. The Bucks were 14th in defensive rating a season ago, as Lopez missed 69 games due to back issues. 

Lopez ranks second in the league in blocks with 2.5 a game and fourth in defensive win shares (3.9). More importantly, the Bucks’ defense is significantly better with the 7-footer on the floor. The Bucks allow nearly six points per 100 possessions fewer, and while Lopez is a great rebounder, Milwaukee grabs 79.3% of the defensive boards while that number drops to 74.6% when he is off the court. 

Lopez is also a strong rim protector, in addition to being an outstanding shot-blocker. Opponents shoot 51.8% from within six feet of the basket when Lopez is on the floor. The Bucks’ opponent’s shooting percentage is also almost 10% lower within 10 feet of the basket than expected when Lopez is on the court. He does struggle to guard on the perimeter due to his relative immobility. 

Best NBA Futures Bets: Most Improved Player

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander  +330

The Most Improved Player is also a pretty tight race. All three leading contenders for the award have taken their game to another level. Lauri Markkanan is the pretty heavy favorite at -450. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is listed at +330, and Jalen Brunson is a long shot at +2500.

Gilgeous-Alexander is a pure scorer who plays both ends of the floor. The 24-year-old combo guard has topped the 40-point mark six times and averages 31.2 points a contest. He contributes 5.4 assists, 4.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks while producing a shooting slash line of .510/.350/.904. 

Best NBA Futures Bets: 6th Man of the Year

Malcolm Brogdon +260

Immanuel Quickley (-220)  has shot up the boards to become the favorite for the 6th Man of the Year recently. But Malcolm Brogdon is the best bet here. Brogdon has been more consistent and has better numbers than Quickley. Most of Quickly’s numbers come from his 20 starts, where he averages 21.0 points a game. Brogdon has come off the bench in his 63 appearances for the Celtics, averaging 25.6 minutes a game. 



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