Cats, Dogs, Balls and Pizza: Deadspin's NBA Draft Betting Preview

Zion went first last year ... who’s next?
Zion went first last year ... who’s next?
Image: (Getty Images)

Ah, yet another strange oddity in the sports calendar during pandemic life.

Continuing the shortest offseason in league history, the NBA will move forward with its Draft tonight — a virtual one — only about a month before the new 72-game campaign starts. And nearly a half-year later from the usual June airdate.

Tonight’s activities figure to not just officially launch several promising basketball careers, but also trigger a flurry of zesty moves off the court that could involve some real marquee names. Just ask Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio (yes, he is one).

As important as anything, the Draft provides us with our first NBA action that we can get money down on since The Bubble. And similar to football (which we did well in), the opportunities are endless.

https://deadspin.com/cats-dogs-and-other-weird-betting-lines-on-tap-for-th-1842906968/amp

Being done virtually, there’s plenty of extra wrinkles to the betting menu in addition to the typical offerings for your standard draft prop bets. Who will the No. 1 draft pick hug first? Will he cry? Put the wrong team hat on? Be in the bathroom when his name is called? OK that last one isn’t available — but the others are. Let’s weed through ‘em all and decide on our wagers.

(odds courtesy of BetOnline.ag)

Advertisement

2 / 9

Over/Under LaMelo Ball Draft Position: 2.5

Over/Under LaMelo Ball Draft Position: 2.5

undefined
Image: (Getty Images)

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Ball, even cementing him at one point as the odds-on favorite to go first in this year’s lottery (those odds have since shifted toward Anthony Edwards). If that doesn’t happen, Ball likely isn’t going to the Warriors with the second pick, so deciphering Minnesota’s mind is critical.

The Timberwolves may not have the sharpest history when it comes to drafting (ie. choosing Rubio and Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry). But even they can avoid this potentially franchise-ruining Ball pit.

I don’t get it. Wow, he once scored 92 points in a high school game. Did you know he also shot 7-of-22 from downtown that night, too? And (apparently) in a not-very competitive league that saw Ball’s team win 60 games in a row previously.

Therein lies one of the main weaknesses of Ball’s game: He can’t really shoot. In today’s NBA, that’s only going to severely hinder him. Ball doesn’t look like he’ll be a force defensively either, and his effort can certainly be questionable at times. Ditto that for his maturity. The Wolves already were rejuvenated late last year after the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell and hopefully are smart enough to realize pairing him with Ball wouldn’t work.

Pick: Over +110

Advertisement

3 / 9

Who Will Be Drafted Second Overall?

Who Will Be Drafted Second Overall?

undefined
Image: (Getty Images)

Despite playing a grand total of three games in college, the answer here appears to be freshman James Wiseman.

The 7-foot-1 center is actually a perfect match for Golden State, one that should have GM Bob Myers salivating. Hell, my colleague Carron Phillips highlighted why all the other 29 teams in the NBA should be doing everything they can to stop the Warriors from drafting James Wiseman.

It’s obvious the Dubs are returning to title contention. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are back healthy and couldn’t be hungrier after the laughingstock rodeo they had to endure (from the bench) throughout last year’s 15-50 debacle.

There’s practically a tailor-made spot for Wiseman. He’s the missing piece up front that the Warriors crave, being able to run rim-to-rim well and effectively keep up with Golden State’s up-tempo brand of play. Thus, there’s no need to cash in this No. 2 pick for a big established name. Wiseman not only helps them win now, he can also be a foundational guy for a while.

Pick: James Wiseman (-140)

Advertisement

4 / 9

Will LaVar Ball Be Shown During the Draft?

Will LaVar Ball Be Shown During the Draft?

undefined
Image: (Getty Images)

I mean, this one is a given. Though the elder Ball has been fairly quiet the past few months (at least compared to the initial emergence of the Ball family preceding Lonzo’s arrival), it’s incredibly difficult not seeing him there while he has another son land inside the NBA Draft Lottery. Plus, he’s clearly a caring father.

You really have to pony up, however, for a small return. Predictably, this bet carries intense juice that makes it pretty much unbettable.

Pick: Yes (-2500)

Advertisement

5 / 9

Over/Under Total Draft Day Trades in Round 1: 7.5

Over/Under Total Draft Day Trades in Round 1: 7.5

Illustration for article titled Cats, Dogs, Balls and Pizza: Deadspins NBA Draft Betting Preview
Image: (Getty Images)

Based on limited scouting and the absence of a March Madness, I’m going under here. With organizations not able to apply usual methods in gathering everything they want on a player, why would they be more inclined to trade up?

As it is, this draft class can be described as far from spectacular. The wave of deals inevitably coming up are going to more so revolve around veterans and not necessarily occur during the first round.

Pick: Under 7.5 (+135)

Advertisement

6 / 9

Will Pizza be Seen in any Draftee’s Home?

Will Pizza be Seen in any Draftee’s Home?

undefined
Image: (Getty Images)

Now we can bet on food offerings? Nice.

This is an easy call. At any gathering, let alone one that officially crowns a young man as a professional basketball player, you’re going to have food there. At least in some of those instances — at the very least! — pizza will be on display. There will be 30 chances to eye just one pizza slice.

Pick: Yes (+250)

Advertisement

7 / 9

Over/Under Number of Dogs Seen in Round 1: 3.5

Over/Under Number of Dogs Seen in Round 1: 3.5

undefined
Image: (Getty Images)

Like I stated leading up to the NFL Draft, dogs have been man’s best friend for as long as time. Good boys will be present.

A potential thorn could be that Adam Silver — owner of at least one dog — will be announcing the picks from an ESPN studio and not at home a la Roger Goodell, whose dog made a cameo. That was valuable because there ended up being four dogs making their presence felt to barely squeak out that over. I’m shooting for the same result here anyway.

Pick: Over 3.5 (-170)

Advertisement

8 / 9

Over/Under Number of Cats Seen in Round 1: 0.5

Over/Under Number of Cats Seen in Round 1: 0.5

undefined
Image: (Getty Images)

Even after one cat popped up on our screens to cash the over last April, the oddsmakers are sticking firm to their belief that a cat may not appear at all.

I’ll always back cats in this type of bet. They don’t care what you’re doing. They don’t care where you are. They just stride in whenever and wherever and do as they please. Ride a feline’s instinctual thirst for attention to collect on this simple gamble.

Pick: Over 0.5 (-120)

Advertisement

9 / 9