While there is plenty of value to be had betting sides and totals in the NBA summer league day-to-day, it's also worth looking at futures prices and the playoff format before any of these teams even take the floor. Roster construction is clearly crucial, but summer league futures are often priced more on hype than player experience, talent and depth.
It's no surprise that the New Orleans Pelicans (+1400) and New York Knicks (+800) are two of the three biggest favorites to win the Las Vegas summer league. Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett will draw the crowds, but are their squads really the best suited to make a legitimate run?
Teams with big-name rookies are generally overvalued entering summer league. It's rare to even see rookies taken near the top of the draft play more than two or three games before getting shut down to avoid injury (not to mention teams could be extra cautious this time around after seeing star players go down during the playoffs this past season). Every team participating in summer league will play four games before the top eight are seeded in a single-elimination tournament. The teams facing off in the championship will ultimately be playing seven games in 11 days. That isn't anything the owners, general managers and coaches will be electing to jeopardize their franchise's future on.
Give me the second- and third-year players that are vying for minutes in the rotation this upcoming season or a roster spot at all. Often times, it will be a team constructed of multiple players with professional experience -- not top-tier rookies -- contending in the end (see the Portland Trail Blazers last year). There are two rosters in Las Vegas this weekend that check all of the boxes and offer up value relative to their price in the futures market.
Here are my two best Vegas Summer League futures bets.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.