NBA Draft Lottery Betting Tips

Top 4 NBA Draft Lottery Betting Tips

The NBA will hold its annual Draft Lottery drawing May 17 this year, in Chicago. There is a lot riding on the NBA Draft lottery for a lot of the league's worst teams. 

The NBA Draft lottery determines the order of the first few picks in the NBA Draft, which will be held on June 23. If you're looking to bet on the NBA Draft lottery and the NBA Draft itself, here are some betting tips and some information about how the lottery works.
For a quick 101 we recommend you to check out our NBA draft lottery betting guide first. If you're completely new to NBA betting we also recommend you to check out NBA betting guide first.

NBA Draft Lottery Betting Tip 1 Know How the Ping Pong Balls Drop

All 14 teams in the NBA that didn't make the playoffs are eligible for the NBA Draft lottery. Each of these teams are then weighted so that the three teams that had the worst record in the regular season each have an equal 14% chance of winning the draft lottery and, as a result, getting the #1 overall pick in the draft.
The drawing follows what they do with an actual lottery machine. Each team receives a ping pong ball that is put into the machine, and then four-ball combinations are pulled out one at a time.
The results of this draft lottery will determine the top four picks in June's NBA Draft. The remaining teams whose ping pong balls were not selected in the top four will be ranked from worst record to best record of the teams that are left in the lottery to determine the #5 through #14 pick.
This is a big difference from NBA Draft lotteries in the past, in which all draft positions were selected by ping pong ball selections.

NBA Draft Lottery Betting tip 2 Check Out Who Has the Best Odds

This season, the three teams that finished the regular season with the worst records were the Houston Rockets (20-62), Orlando Magic (22-60) and Detroit Pistons (23-59). As such, each will receive a 14% chance of claiming the top overall pick in the Draft.
After that, the NBA Draft odds go down for each subsequent team in the list of lottery teams. The remaining odds are …

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 12.5%
  • Indiana Pacers: 10.5%
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 9%
  • Sacramento Kings: 7.5%
  • New Orleans Pelicans: 6% (via the Los Angeles Lakers)
  • San Antonio Spurs: 4.5%
  • Washington Wizards: 3%
  • New York Knicks: 2%
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 1.5% (via Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Charlotte Hornets: 1%
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 0.5%

The teams with the three worst records can pick no later than fifth overall. That's another rule of the draft lottery that prevents the worst teams in the league from having terrible luck and falling down too far.

NBA Draft Lottery Betting Tip 3 Play the Odds

The NBA Draft lottery is pretty straightforward. Betting on the event is obviously based around the odds that each team has to win the lottery. Since there is absolutely no skill involved and instead just pure luck, you're literally playing the lottery if you want to wager on this event.
If you do, keep in mind that while three teams have a 14% chance of winning the lottery, there are two other teams that have odds of 10% or better. You might be able to get some more value out of a bet on the NBA Draft lottery by taking one of these teams -- either the Thunder at 12.5% or the Pacers at 10.5%.

NBA Draft Lottery Betting Tip 4  Bet on the #1 Pick Itself

Another option is to watch the NBA Draft lottery and bet on the actual NBA Draft itself. One of the more popular bets on the Draft is choosing which player will be selected with that top overall pick.

Odds for this work just like many other futures bets. Sportsbooks set odds for each of the likely #1 overall picks, and then you wager on them. It can be a little more of a crapshoot betting on this before the NBA Draft lottery even takes place -- since you might not know where a particular team might be looking -- but you can also sometimes get better odds this way.

For example, once the lottery takes place and you know which team is picking first overall, there will be information coming out about what that team needs and doesn’t need and which players that team likes. This could drive the odds down if the team appears to be zoning in on one particular player or one position.
As of right now, some of the top players in contention for the #1 pick include…

  • Jabari Smith +106
  • Chet Holmgren +193
  • Paolo Banchero +220

Those three players are generally considered the odds-on favorites to be the #1 pick. All other likely contenders who have odds posted for them are at least +9500. That's quite a drop-off. In other words, if you're going to bet on who will be the #1 overall pick at this point in time, your best bet is to go with one of those three.