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The Best Prop Bets Before the NBA Draft

And the most ridiculous prop bets, too

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The 2017 NBA draft is Thursday night, and we have plenty of draft coverage to get you prepared. Except, up till now we’ve neglected one essential element to the draft: gambling. On the latest episode of Against All Odds, Cousin Sal and Bill Simmons counted down their favorite prop bets heading into draft night. Here are some of the best and worst:

The First Three Picks

Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson (minus-120)

Any other combination (minus-110)

Bill Simmons: I personally think the Celtics are gonna take [Jayson] Tatum at no. 3 if they keep the pick, and if they trade the pick, Jackson will go no. 3.

Cousin Sal: Interesting.

Simmons: Basically, I’m telling you not to bet on that one.

Sal: Yeah, ’cause you don’t know.

The Lakers Pick

Lonzo Ball (minus-260)

Sal: This morning [it] was minus-260. It’s taken off the board [now]. But wouldn’t this be the funniest moment in draft history, if they passed on Lonzo Ball?

Simmons: I was rooting for it, but it really seems like the last five days they’ve dialed in on him and now, trading [D’Angelo] Russell is basically a concession they’re taking him.

Sal: Right. Right.

Dennis Smith Jr.

Drafted eighth or earlier (minus-110)

Tate Frazier: I think you gotta take that. I feel like some team is gonna take him because that vertical — [48]-inch vertical. People will go crazy over that.

Sal: I agree.

Simmons: Dennis Smith has the highest wild-card potential. Like he could go no. 3. He could go no. 12. I’m prepared for anything. I agree with Tate. I think he sneaks in.

Sal: He’s right at where the Knicks would draft. Right? So that’s gonna control his destiny right there.

Frazier: Most people have him at no. 9 to the Mavericks.

International Players

More than four drafted in the first round (plus-130)

Sal: [There were] eight in last year’s draft. I’m only counting like three [this year].

Simmons: [Lauri] Markkanen doesn’t count as a foreigner or no?

Sal: No, no, he’s not an international player. … I only put it at four. But I understand the thinking like, "Yeah, this is where teams would take a chance because [they want] the next Greek Freak. They want the next [Kristaps] Porzingis."

Freshmen

More than 16 drafted in the first round (plus-115)

Sal: Boy this seems high! Sixteen and a half! [In] 2014 there were nine. [In] 2015, 13. Last year, 10. Sixteen and a half.

Simmons: Ooof. So that one just comes down to the last four picks.

Sal: Five out of the first seven [picked] are [likely to be] freshmen.

Frazier: That’s like if Tony Bradley, Frank Jackson, those guys are like no. 29, no. 30. That’s when it gets to 16. Those like late, late guys — no. 29, no. 30.

Sal: And none of these foreign players count as freshmen, right?

Frazier: No.

Simmons: There’s a difference between gambling and having a gambling problem. And if you’re betting on that, you have a gambling problem. There’s no way to actually have an opinion on, "Oh, I see 17! I counted four times!" Like, you’re just throwing shit against a wall at that point.

Sal: Well then I’m betting it cause I have a gambling problem.

Kentucky Players

More than two taken in the first round (minus-400)

Sal: There’s a heavy [favorite] on this, minus-400. [De’Aaron] Fox is a lock. [Malik] Monk is a lock.

Simmons: Minus-400? That should be like minus-2400!

Sal: The center, Bam Adebayo.

Simmons: Bam’s going in the first round! … Would you be shocked if he fell past no. 25?

Frazier: Yeah, I see him at like the no. 17 to no. 21 range.

Simmons: Me too! I think he’s gonna be in the teens.

Sal: I’ll put a star by that.

Josh Hart

Drafted 39th or earlier (minus-135)

Sal: This guy is a San Antonio Spur if I ever [saw one]. He should’ve worn a Spurs jersey this past year, instead of Villanova. Perfect, perfect fundamentals. I think they take him. I don’t think they pass on him.

Simmons: Do you have teams no. 31 through no. 40?

Frazier: Yeah, so you have Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, Kings, Magic, Sixers, Celtics, Bulls, 76ers, Pelicans.

Simmons: Feels like a Bull waiting to happen. Pencil him into the Bulls.

Frazier: What about the 76ers too? №36? Stay hometown. They’ve watched him play in Philly.

Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.