The NBA Draft Lottery takes place on Tuesday. If you are a degenerate gambler you probably are considering placing a bet on which team will get the 1st pick. That would be silly, there is no value betting the NBA Draft Lottery.

With most sporting events the outcome is uncertain. That is true with the lottery as well but the probabilities of each team getting the 1st pick are known. Traditionally, bookmakers offer prop bets and bettors place wagers on sides they feel are offering value. However, with the lottery there is no value.

The Celtics (+280) are the favorites to get the top pick thanks to a trade with the Nets. The implied probability of Boston picking first is 26.32%. The true odds are 25%, meaning there is no value in betting the Celtics. The same is true for every other team.

The ping-pong balls can bounce in funny ways. The Cavs won the top pick in back-to-back years (2013-14) despite having the 3rd and 9th best odds. Since 2000, the three teams with the best odds of winning the lottery have gotten the top pick 8 out of 17 times, less than the odds imply.

I’m not saying you can’t but there is no value betting the NBA Draft lottery.

For anyone wondering, the teams with the least amount of juice attached to their odds are the Hornets and Pistons.


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2017 NBA Draft Lottery odds (Sportsbook.ag)

TeamWin 1st PickImplied OddsTrue Odds
Celtics (via Nets)+28026.3225
Suns+38020.8319.9
Lakers+50016.6715.6
76ers+70012.511.9
Magic +10009.098.8
Timberwolves+17005.565.3
Knicks+18005.265.2
Kings+33002.942.8
Mavericks+55001.791.7
Kings (via Pelicans)+85001.161.1
Hornets+120000.830.8
Pistons+135000.740.7
Nuggets+150000.660.6
Heat+175000.570.5