Wisconsin coach Greg Gard, center, talks to his team during a timeout in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, in East Lansing, Mich. Wisconsin won 85-76. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
- SBD’s Experts make their best futures bets heading into an uncertain 2021 sports landscape
- We offer futures picks in 2021 for the NBA, NHL, MLB, Soccer, and College Basketball seasons
- See our favorite futures bets along with analysis below
The year 2020 for futures bets were not all that shocking. The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship at a price of +450, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series at +700, and the Tampa Bay Lightning won Lord Stanley at +700.
Well, 2021 is in our midst and I think everyone is hoping for a little bit more normalcy. There are a lot of questions circulating the world of sports heading into 2021. The questions we do have the answers to are the best 2021 futures bets you can make it.
Our SBD crew takes a crack at finding valuable futures bets for 2021 below.
|SBD Staff Member||League||Futures Pick||Odds|
|Matt McEwan||NBA||Brooklyn Nets to Win Eastern Conference||+250|
|Ryan Sura||NHL||Nathan MacKinnon to Win Hart Trophy||+600|
|Sascha Paruk||NCAAB||VCU to Win A10 Regular-Season Title||+1500|
|Ryan Metivier||Soccer||AC Milan to Win Serie A||+200|
|Pete Apostolopoulos||MLB||Atlanta Braves to Win National League||+370|
|Mitch Robson||NCAAB||Wisconsin Badgers to Win Big Ten Regular-Season Title||+350|
Odds taken January 1st, 2021 at FanDuel
Simply put, the Nets are the best team in the Eastern Conference. The duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is second to only LeBron James and Anthony Davis. As long as both stay healthy, and committed to basketball, Brooklyn will coast to the NBA Finals.
Giannis Antetokounmpo can’t carry a team on his back in the playoffs, and I don’t believe his supporting cast in 2020-2021 is any better than what he had the last two seasons.
Boston and Miami are scrappy teams that will frustrate other good teams. But neither is capable of beating a great team in a seven game series.
Barring injury, I don’t foresee the +250 odds growing much this season. They opened the season at just +300 to win the East, and some sportsbooks already have them as short as +210. I recommend acting quickly if you like this bet.
The Colorado Avalanche are one of the top favorites to win the 2021 Stanley Cup. With their young and talented core led by head Jared Bednar, the Avs are shooting for the stars this season.
Although this team has incredible depth, the burden of the team’s success falls on one person, and that is Nathan MacKinnon. Since being drafted first overall in 2013 by Colorado, all eyes have been on the Halifax, Nova Scotia native.
MacKinnon finished second in the 2020 Hart Memorial trophy voting behind Oilers’ forward Leon Draisaitl. To put it simply, MacKinnon has not received enough accolades and awards for his dominance over the last seven years.
The 25-year-old has 495 points in 525 regular-season games over the course of his career. He won the 2013 Calder Trophy, the 2020 Lady Byng Trophy, and has been named an all-star twice. This is the year MacKinnon takes it to another level and wins his first Hart Memorial Trophy.
Super Bowl 55 Odds Tracker
Playing alongside Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, and a plethora of other skilled players, I don’t think it’s that crazy to think that he can win the league’s MVP. His odds are shorter than I expected at +600, but he still holds great value heading into this shortened season.
Let’s be clear, I don’t think VCU is going to win the A10. Richmond and St Louis have as good a chance, if not better. But +1500 is a ludicrous price to put on the Rams. They are 7-2 and rated 56th at KenPom.
The only A10 team rated higher is St. Louis (32nd). They already own double-digit neutral-court wins over Utah State (80th) and Memphis (61st), and one of their two losses came at Penn State on a buzzer-beater (72-69).
They only need a 6.3% chance to justify a bet at +1500, and that seriously underestimates Mike Rhoades’ team.
The huge value is long gone, but if you don’t have a bet on the Scudetto so far, this may be the year you can find value betting outside of Juventus, who are the current champions in each of the past nine seasons. Coincidentally, the last team to win not named Juve, was AC Milan in 2011.
This season, heading into the new year you can probably make an argument for any one of eight teams to win the title, one of which is current leaders AC Milan who sit top of the table. The Rossoneri are undefeated in 26-straight league matches and have amazingly scored at least two goals in 16-straight as well.
A bet on them for the Scudetto at +200 has to be considered. But they are still offered as high as +300 if you have access to multiple books. Even if you don’t like Milan, this could be the year to go shopping for value.
With all the talk being about the Padres and Dodgers, the Braves are kind of flying under-the-radar. Freddie Freeman is monster, and won the MVP. Ronald Acuna is arguably the most valuable asset in baseball. Add in two young top-end starters in Soroka and Fried, you have a really dangerous core.
Braves have all of the following under control through 2023.
•Ronald Acuña Jr.
•Freddie Freeman (after an inevitable extension)
Braves future > Padres https://t.co/25E5cZWZZz
— Drew Waters Stan Account (@drewwatersstan) December 28, 2020
I think they’re being overlooked in the NL. San Diego is shuffling a lot of pieces and relying on a lot of young players. I think it may take a year or two for them to really put it all together and win. I also see the Dodgers having bit of a hangover after a burden-lifting World Series win last season.
The Central is relatively weak, with holes in every team. And you could also make the same argument for the other teams in the NL East. Atlanta is one of 3-4 balanced, well-rounded teams in the NL. I think the Braves have some value, and their odds will only shorten as they work their way towards another division title.
I’m picking Braves to get over the hump and make their first trip to the World Series since 1999.
While Iowa and Luka Garza were the darlings of all the preseason hype in the Big Ten – and own the top ranked offense in the country – Greg Gard’s Wisconsin Badgers are the best bet to come out of this year as Big Ten champs.
The Badgers are one of only two teams in the country to rank in the top ten of both offensive (9th) and defensive (7th) efficiency on KenPom, alongside Baylor. Despite a surprising loss to Maryland on Dec. 28th, they’re only other defeat this season has come on a last second tip-in by in-state rival Marquette – the Badgers are for real.
If there’s one reason to trust this team, it’s the overwhelming experience in the starting lineup. All five starters are seniors, and are even older than some NBA starting lineups.
Wisconsin Badgers starting lineup and age:
Trice 24, Ford 24, Potter 22, Reuvers 22, Davison 21.
Chicago Bulls starting lineup and age:
LaVine 25, Markkanen 23, Carter 21, White 20, Williams 19
— College Basketball (@cbbcontent) December 25, 2020
With the playmaking of D’Mitrik Trice and Brad Davison in the back court while Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter patrol the paint and control the glass upfront, this team is built for success in March. With Iowa’s defense nothing more than a middling unit, the value you’re getting with the Badgers is a great bet to make heading into the new year.