NBA Futures: Are Any 2022 Division Races Worth Betting?
There are only about seven weeks left in the 2021-22 NBA season. With less than two months until the postseason, teams are going to be doing everything they can to end the campaign on a high note — especially if there’s a chance to win their respective division.
Wagering on futures is popular when it comes to NBA betting, with a lot of bettors putting money down on major markets such as the MVP award race or who’ll win this year’s championship. However, fans can also wager on each of the divisional races.
Here’s a look at the odds for each of the NBA’s six division races, as well as whether or not any of them are worth betting on.
All odds are from BetMGM unless noted otherwise.
2021-22 NBA Division Races
Atlantic Division Odds
- Philadelphia 76ers (-200)
- Boston Celtics (+325)
- Toronto Raptors (+700)
- Brooklyn Nets (+1200)
- New York Knicks (+25000)
The Eastern Conference has been tight all season and the Atlantic Division is no exception. While the Philadelphia 76ers are the -200 favorites to win it, only 4.5 games separate them from the fourth-place Brooklyn Nets (+1200).
Having said that, it’s tough imaging Philadelphia not winning the division, especially with the addition of James Harden. The 2017-18 NBA MVP hasn’t even played for his new team yet and they were already looking like a contender without him.
Nevertheless, bettors could have some fun by going with the Toronto Raptors at +700. The Raptors are 9-2 in their last 11 games and are one of the hottest teams in the league. They’re also just 2.5 games back of the 76ers, with two games left on the schedule between the two rivals. Although Philadelphia seems like a lock to win the Atlantic, Toronto could make it interesting.
Central Division Odds
- Milwaukee Bucks (+105)
- Chicago Bulls (+200)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (+250)
- Indiana Pacers (+100000)
- Detroit Pistons (+100000)
The Central Division race is probably one of the closest in the league heading down the stretch. Only 2.5 games separate the top three teams, making it one of the divisions worth watching.
Bettors should jump on this race as soon as possible. While the Milwaukee Bucks are BetMGM’s odds-on favorite at +105, they do not currently lead the Central Division. Instead, that honor goes to the Chicago Bulls and their 38-21 record.
With the Bulls being listed at +200, NBA bettors can get some decent value out of the division leaders. Chicago also has a game in hand compared to the Bucks, which could come in handy down the stretch. It also helps that the Bulls are on a five-game winning streak as of Feb. 21 and that type of momentum could lead to them creating separation from the rest of the division.
That’s why it’s important for fans to wager on the Central Division race as soon as possible. If the Bulls continue their winning ways, the value may not be there anymore in the coming weeks.
Southeast Division Odds
- Miami Heat (-10000)
- Charlotte Hornets (+3000)
- Atlanta Hawks (+4000)
- Washington Wizards (+50000)
- Orlando Magic (N/A)
Even though the Eastern Conference is close for the most part, the same cannot be said for the Southeast Division.
The Miami Heat have absolutely run away with the division. Their 38-21 record has them 9.5 games ahead of both the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks, with them showing no signs of looking back any time soon. Now, the Heat have -10000 odds to win the division, making them a virtual lock to do so.
There was a time when it was looking like the Hornets could win the division, but a 1-9 record in their last 10 games has likely taken them out of contention. Meanwhile, the Hawks have struggled with consistency throughout the NBA season and can’t keep things flowing long enough to make a run at the Heat.
Taking all of the above into account, the Southeast Division isn’t worth betting on. There’s no value to get out of putting money on the Heat at -10000, are too inconsistent to trust.
Northwest Division Odds
- Utah Jazz (-750)
- Denver Nuggets (+55o)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (+3000)
- Portland Trail Blazers (+25000)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+10000)
By looking at the above odds, some may think that the Northwest Division isn’t worth betting on. After all, the Utah Jazz are heavily favored at -750 odds, making it seem like winning the division crown is a guarantee.
However, the actual NBA standings tell a different story. While the Jazz currently lead the Northwest Division, they’re only 3.0 games ahead of the Denver Nuggets, who have won five of their last six games.
The Jazz have also recently been successful, having won six straight games before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers before the NBA All-Star Break. Nevertheless, Utah has been streaky at times this season and the Nuggets are getting hot at the right time.
If these trends continue, Denver could make a serious challenge for the division crowd down the stretch. At +550 odds, there’s solid value to be made by going with the Nuggets if these trends continue.
Southwest Division Odds
- Memphis Grizzlies (-1200)
- Dallas Mavericks (+750)
- Houston Rockets (+100000)
- New Orleans Pelicans (+100000)
- San Antonio Spurs (+100000)
While the Southwest Division has been competitive in the past, that hasn’t really been the case this season. The San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets are all 17.5 games or more away from the division lead, leaving only two teams in the race: the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks.
The Grizzlies have been one of the better surprises this season, with NBA MVP candidate Ja Morant leading the charge. Memphis currently sits atop the Southwest Division with a 41-19 record, placing them 5.5 games ahead of the second-place Mavericks.
The Mavericks may have an exciting young roster and 5.5 games isn't an insurmountable deficit, but it’s hard imagining them catching the Grizzlies. Memphis has just been too consistent lately and won’t be entering a slump any time soon.
Taking that into account, there’s not a lot of money to be made from taking the Grizzlies at -1200 and the Mavericks don’t look like a team that’ll make their +750 odds worth it. This is another division to avoid.
Pacific Division Odds
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.
- Phoenix Suns (-800)
- Golden State Warriors (+600)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+49000)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+49000)
- Sacramento Kings (N/A)
The Pacific Division is also down to a two-time race, with the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors leading the way. Even though the Suns are heavy -800 favorites because they lead the Warriors by 6.5 games, things could get interesting down the stretch.
It was announced on Sunday that Suns PG Chris Paul would miss the next six-to-eight weeks with a thumb injury. That means Phoenix will likely be without its top playmaker for the rest of the regular season.
Still, the Suns are as complete as they come and while losing Paul hurts, they’ll likely be okay. Meanwhile, the Warriors have lost four of their last five games, which could come back to bite them. With how both teams are playing, it’s tough imagining Phoenix blowing this lead, thus making the Pacific Division one to avoid wagering on.
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