The Boldest Bet You Can Place on Every NBA Team This Season
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The 2022-23 NBA season figures to be filled with parity, storylines and unpredictability. And that last item should extend to the betting market, where you could find daring plays and large potential payoffs for each team within the league.
To seek out the boldest bet from FanDuel’s sportsbook for every of the league’s 30 teams, we’ll follow just a number of rules.
First, let’s define daring. Technically, “boldest” could imply whatever’s available and has the longest odds. Here, we’ll attempt to strike a balance between long odds and realism. None of those picks might be wholly unattainable.
On the chances, specifically, we’re in search of those of the longer variety, but that was harder than others for a number of teams.
And eventually, each of the bets you will find below are ones that were actually available on FanDuel as of writing.
With the loose ground rules laid out, let’s dive in.
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Dejounte Murray Will Lead the League in Assists per Game: +6000
Betting on either Dejounte Murray or Trae Young to steer the league in assists might look like madness. Each put up big numbers in 2021-22, but they figure to separate playmaking duties this season.
There is a world by which most games play out like their first preseason contest, though. In a win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Young took 19 shots to Murray’s 13. Murray had nine assists, to Young’s three.
If the usage pendulum has to swing somehow, it should go to Young (usage relies on shot attempts, trips to the road and turnovers). He’ll be the most effective goal Murray has distributed to since a torn ACL kept him out of the 2018-19 campaign.
This may occasionally be a lofty total, but he and Young can average 16 to 17 assists per game, and Murray accounting for nine of those could be enough to steer the league.
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Boston Will Get to 60 Wins: +240
There’s loads of offseason turmoil to point to, however the Boston Celtics are returning the majority of the rotation minutes from a team that just posted some extent differential in keeping with that of a typical 59-win team.
Missing Robert Williams III from the frontcourt for the primary few months will hurt, but Malcolm Brogdon’s addition to the opposite end of the lineup could offset the raw production loss. This absence could also force the Celtics to lean even further into the positionless lineups.
Last season, they were plus-6.5 points per 100 possessions when Al Horford was on the ground and Williams wasn’t. And Jaylen Brown thrived in those situations, when he averaged 27.5 points per 75 possessions with a 62.4 true shooting percentage.
Oh, and Jayson Tatum, who finished sixth in MVP voting last season, continues to be around, too.
All of that’s to say that Boston should still be plenty strong while it awaits Williams’ return. And if it hits a midseason groove prefer it did in 2021-22, 60 wins aren’t out of the query.
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Ben Simmons Will Win Defensive Player of the 12 months: +2700
If the Brooklyn Nets are going to contend for a title, they’ll likely need the most effective version of Simmons, and that player could be a nightmarish defender.
Simmons was First Team All-Defense in each 2019-20 and 2020-21, and he finished second in Defensive Player of the 12 months voting within the latter season.
He’s adequate on the perimeter to alter Brooklyn’s prospects on that end, and if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving push the Nets toward the highest of the East, the Defensive Player of the 12 months narrative could swing toward Simmons.
The award is usually reserved for rim protectors and interior anchors, but Marcus Smart can have opened the door for more perimeter defenders in the approaching years.
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Charlotte Finishes Under 35.5 Wins: -162
The bolder bet could be predicting that the Charlotte Hornets finish with over 35.5 wins, but that may tip the scales too distant from the realism factor discussed earlier.
After a tumultuous offseason featuring a training change and domestic violence charges against Miles Bridges—who has been accused of assaulting Mychelle Johnson in front of their two children—it now looks just like the Hornets may even be without LaMelo Ball to begin the season.
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
If that results in a bunch of losses out of the gate, Charlotte will certainly be tempted to ride that wave so long as possible. This season, the more losses you may pile up, the higher your possibilities of landing Victor Wembanyama are.
And the thought of a Wembanyama-Ball pairing is mighty intriguing.
This continues to be a daring bet, though, mostly because Ball is on the roster. And if he returns to 100% and Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward remain mostly available, 35.5 is not an unattainable bar to recover from.
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DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine Each Average Over 26 Points: +440 (two-leg parlay)
Last season, DeMar DeRozan (27.9 points per game) was well clear of the edge identified above. Zach LaVine (24.4) was comfortably below it.
As the previous enters his age-33 season, the distribution between those two lead scorers could level out a bit.
Such a development would not result in some out-of-character average for LaVine, either. Over the course of the 2 seasons prior to DeRozan’s arrival, LaVine averaged 26.4 points and three.3 threes with a 56.0 effective field-goal percentage.
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Evan Mobley Wins Defensive Player of the 12 months: +2000
Evan Mobley can have finished second in Rookie of the 12 months voting, but there is definitely a likelihood he winds up as the most effective player from his draft class.
The upside has lots to do with what he’s (and might change into) on defense.
Last season, Mobley averaged 6.2 defensive rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 0.8 steals per game. There are only seven rookies in NBA history who matched or exceeded all three of those marks, and the common Hall of Fame Probability of those seven is over 50 percent (thanks largely to the presence of names like David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon).
Mobley’s defensive estimated plus-minus (a preferred catch-all metric housed at Dunks and Threes) ranked within the 96th percentile leaguewide.
And after a breakout campaign and the addition of Donovan Mitchell within the offseason, more eyes figure to be on Mobley in 2022-23.
That and a few improvements on that end for the 21-year-old could put him within the Defensive Player of the 12 months conversation.
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Christian Wood Will Win Sixth Man of the 12 months: +950
The boldness of this one comes from Christian Wood’s status as a reserve. He’s coming off the bench now, but it surely’s not hard to assume that changing at a moment’s notice.
If he stays on this role for over half his appearances and stays eligible for the Sixth Man of the 12 months award, he’ll almost definitely be within the conversation.
During the last two seasons, Wood has averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 threes and 1.0 blocks while shooting 38.4 percent from deep, and that is and not using a playmaker like Luka Doncic to set him up.
Even when he continues to play with the second unit, he’ll almost definitely overlap with Luka for many of his minutes.
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Nikola Jokic Will Win MVP: +1000
Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird are the one players in NBA history to secure three straight MVP awards. Given a few of the overreaction to Nikola Jokic winning two straight, the probabilities of the voters putting him in the corporate of those three legends seem slim.
There is a world by which he’s the undeniable selection, though.
Jokic is just 27 years old, and he averaged 26.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and eight.1 assists over the past two seasons. Now that Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are back, his life could be even easier, and the Denver Nuggets needs to be a much tougher out.
Similar averages (and even somewhat less scoring and somewhat more playmaking for the supporting forged) and Denver ending near the highest of the West will at the very least put Jokic within the conversation again.
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Jaden Ivey Will Win Rookie of the 12 months: +450
Winning this award over the scoring forwards taken in front of him (Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith Jr. and Keegan Murray) might be an uphill battle, but Jaden Ivey is in a situation that might lend itself to Rookie of the 12 months contention.
In lineups with Cade Cunningham, Bojan Bogdanovic, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart, all of whom can shoot (assuming Cunningham can get back to the extent he was at in college), the ground needs to be spread and driving lanes needs to be nice and wide for Ivey.
That may mean plenty of possibilities to complete on the rim or spray out to catch-and-shoot threats. If that results in a scoring average within the mid-to-high teens and Detroit outperforms Orlando, Houston and Sacramento, Ivey has a shot.
Golden State Warriors
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Draymond Green Will Average Seven Assists: +130
Draymond Green has averaged more assists than field-goal attempts in each of the last two seasons, and it’s hard to assume that trend reversing as he enters his age-32 season.
Each time he’s on the ground, Draymond will almost definitely be in search of higher scoring options, and within the Golden State Warriors’ starting five, there might be at the very least three (and possibly 4, given Kevon Looney’s efficiency).
That ought to mean that repeating or improving upon his 2021-22 average of seven.0 assists could be very much in play.
The one caution could be increased ball-handling responsibility for a few of the younger players, like Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.
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Jalen Green Will Average 24 Points: +170
There’s all the time some danger in banking on small samples from the top of the previous season, but it surely’s hard to not get enthusiastic about how Jalen Green closed 2021-22.
Over his last nine games, Green averaged 28.1 points and 4.6 threes while shooting 42.7 percent from deep.
And this season, with Wood in Dallas and a more pass-minded center in Alperen Şengün within the starting lineup with Green, he should get much more scoring opportunities.
A 24-point-per-game season is in play.
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Tyrese Haliburton Will Average 10 Assists: +160
Tyrese Haliburton goes to need to do lots for the Indiana Pacers this season. Sooner or later, they’ll almost definitely lean harder into the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, and Haliburton’s responsibility will get even heavier.
And for Haliburton, that does not necessarily mean a ton of shots. He’s more of an old-school point guard who first looks to set teammates up, as evidenced by his 9.6 assists in 26 appearances for the Pacers.
In 2022-23, with the offense entirely on his shoulders, he has a likelihood to nudge that as much as double-figures.
Los Angeles Clippers
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Kawhi Leonard Will Win MVP: +2700
It’s pretty obvious what makes this one daring. Even before he missed all of 2021-22 with a torn ACL, expecting 60-plus games in a season from Kawhi Leonard was a stretch.
And if he cannot get to 65 in 2022-23, he may take himself out of the MVP conversation, whatever the numbers he might put up.
Assuming he’s healthy, though, and cargo management comes more in the shape of sitting fourth quarters like 2015-16 Stephen Curry, the Los Angeles Clippers should find a way to push for first place within the West.
If that happens, the “best player on the most effective team” argument will come into play (which is how Devin Booker secured a handful of points in last season’s MVP voting). And the Clippers’ pecking order is so clear that Paul George publicly declared himself Kawhi’s No. 2.
Los Angeles Lakers
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Los Angeles Lakers Will Miss the Playoffs: +194
The Los Angeles Lakers went 33-49 last season. The fit between LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook was borderline disastrous, and all three are actually a 12 months older.
Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder were advantageous additions, but the remainder of the offseason featured names like Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr., Thomas Bryant and Juan Toscano-Anderson.
That just doesn’t feel like enough so as to add 10-15 wins to a team led by a soon-to-be-38-year-old, an injury-plagued big man and a poor shooting, ball-dominant guard.
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Grizzlies Will Win 55 Games: +250
The Memphis Grizzlies won 56 games in 2021-22 and are led by a 23-year-old point guard who garnered some MVP buzz at various times last season.
So, a preseason over-under of 48.5 naturally feels somewhat low.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is starting the season on the injury report, and Kyle Anderson and De’Anthony Melton are off to other teams, but that much of a drop for the team fails to acknowledge how good it has been at developing young talent.
Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, Dillon Brooks and Steven Adams are all available. The coaching staff is as well-equipped as any to maximise David Roddy and Jake LaRavia.
Ending at or around last season’s total would not be shocking.
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Tyler Herro Will Win Sixth Man of the 12 months: +1500
The identical caution laid out for the Dallas bet applies here. Tyler Herro won’t win Sixth Man of the 12 months if he’s a starter. And to this point, he’s began the one preseason game he’s played.
The Miami Heat have a powerful track record with him coming off the bench, though.
In actual fact, Sixth Man of the 12 months, which Herro won in 2021-22, and first place within the Eastern Conference is about as strong because it gets.
Herro will probably get his shots to begin games, but there is a likelihood coach Erik Spoelstra defaults to what worked so well last season. And one other campaign with 20-plus points off the bench for a superb Heat team might be tough for other reserves to top.
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Bobby Portis Will Win Sixth Man of the 12 months: +4000
Bobby Portis is one other intriguing Sixth Man of the 12 months candidate.
He began on the 5 for many of 2021-22, averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.8 threes and shot 39.3 percent from deep.
Now that Brook Lopez has returned from the back injury that kept him out for the majority of that campaign, Portis figures to return to the bench, but he should still get loads of minutes.
Lopez has the aforementioned back issues and is 34 years old. Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is not more likely to push him much higher than the 22.9 minutes he played last season. That ought to mean mid- to high-20s for Portis, who may be among the best floor-spacing reserve big men within the league (ultra-specific role, but still true).
That together with the Bucks ending at or near the highest of the East could make Portis a Sixth Man of the 12 months contender.
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Rudy Gobert Will Lead the League in Blocks per Game: +480
Rudy Gobert is a future Hall of Famer, a three-time Defensive Player of the 12 months and the most effective rim protector of his generation, but he hasn’t led the NBA in blocks per game since 2016-17.
He’s normally near the highest of the leaderboard, though. His average finish over the past seven seasons is third. That alone should offer you some confidence that he’ll be in the combo.
Then, when you concentrate on that his presence means Karl-Anthony Towns might be chasing 4s across the perimeter, it starts to get pretty easy to assume his shot-blocking opportunities going up. D’Angelo Russell is not exactly a lockdown perimeter defender, either.
Depending on the event of Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, there’s actually a superb likelihood Gobert has more defensive help than he had during his last couple seasons with the Utah Jazz, but there should still be loads of possibilities to guard the rim.
Recent Orleans Pelicans
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Zion Williamson Will Lead the League in Points per Game: +1600
There might be plenty of competition for the scoring title in 2022-23, but Zion Williamson has a powerful likelihood to be in that blend.
Injuries have made his profession sample size pretty small, but he’s third in NBA history in profession points per 75 possessions, and the players around him are all-time great scorers.
- Joel Embiid (30.3)
- Michael Jordan (30.3)
- Zion Williamson (28.9)
- Luka Doncic (28.7)
- Kevin Durant (27.8)
4 of the highest five players being lively kind of detracts from Zion’s argument, but he’s the youngest of the bunch. Durant and Embiid each have high-volume scorers alongside them who could level off their usage a bit.
The identical might be said for Zion, who’ll play with CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, but he may be more of an opportunistic scorer than Embiid or KD.
Those two often need the ball (whether within the post or isolation) to do a few of their damage, while Zion can pile up half his total on timely cuts and offensive rebounds. For him, fiddling with solid perimeter scorers may mean little greater than widening those cutting lanes.
Again, the competition might be stiff on this one (especially from Luka), but Zion is a superb dark horse pick.
Recent York Knicks
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Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett Will Each Average 20 Points per Game: +248 (two-leg parlay)
This is generally a bet on Jalen Brunson and the expanded role he’s entering into with the Recent York Knicks.
RJ Barrett just averaged 20.0 points as a 21-year-old despite taking a step back by way of three-point efficiency in 2021-22. Predicting a slight increase from him is not all that daring.
But Brunson’s profession high is 16.3 points, which he did last 12 months playing alongside Luka Doncic. Nobody on the Knicks dominates the ball as much as Doncic, and Brunson figures to be the first playmaker now.
Last season, he averaged 23.7 points per 75 possessions with a 56.7 true shooting percentage when Doncic was off the ground.
Oklahoma City Thunder
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Josh Giddey Will Average Eight Assists: +400
As a 19-year old, Josh Giddey averaged 6.4 assists in 2021-22. This preseason, he’s putting up 11.0 assists per 36 minutes.
Granted, one among his performances got here against a non-NBA team, but these games appear to be signaling much more playmaking responsibility for the 6’8″ Australian distributor.
Even with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the roster, the unselfishness and improving skill set of Giddey makes eight assists per game feel like a comparatively low benchmark.
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Paolo Banchero Will Average 20 Points: +230
Briefly, No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero has a fairly significant challenge in front of him: Lead this offense out of the abyss it has been in for a decade.
There are many other intriguing talents on the roster, including Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr., but Banchero needs to be the point of interest from Day 1.
To this point this preseason, he’s averaging just over 20 points per 36 minutes, a trend that might proceed when his playing time increases within the regular season.
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Tyrese Maxey and James Harden Will Each Average 20 Points: -130 (two-leg parlay)
That is one among the few bets on the slideshow with minus odds, but it surely’s removed from a given.
Even in today’s fast-paced and three-point-heavy game, having three players from the identical team average 20 points is hard (it’s only happened 24 times within the three-point era).
Joel Embiid clearing that threshold is a given. It might be for Harden, too (though his 22.0 in 2021-22 was his lowest average since 2011-12). Which means this bet is essentially on Tyrese Maxey, whose stock is soaring.
After averaging 18.7 points after the 2022 All-Star break, Maxey bumped his production as much as 20.8 points within the playoffs. This preseason, he’s putting up over 40 points per 36 minutes (no, seriously).
In fact, he won’t maintain that pace within the regular season, but Maxey’s slashing and three-point shooting should make him a nightmare against third option defenders.
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Deandre Ayton Will Win Most Improved Player: +8000
The chances on this one suggest we’re going way out on a limb, but at a certain point, the Phoenix Suns can have to show over somewhat more of the offense to Deandre Ayton.
With Chris Paul entering his age-37 season, now would be the time to provide Ayton a number of more shots.
In 2019-20, Ayton averaged a career-high 14.9 shots per game, but he wasn’t nearly as efficient as he’s now. If he can get back to that volume while maintaining his points per attempt over the past two seasons, he’ll average 21.5 points in 2022-23.
That, in addition to nine or 10 rebounds and Phoenix overcoming the narrative that it’s imploding will generate some Most Improved Player of the 12 months buzz for Ayton.
Portland Trail Blazers
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Trail Blazers Will Make the Playoffs: +154
The West is loaded, especially with Zion Williamson, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Kawhi Leonard all getting back from injuries that kept them out for all or most of 2021-22.
The competition for play-in spots goes to be ridiculous, unless the hype for Victor Wembanyama leads some unexpected organizations toward tanking (an actual possibility).
But Damian Lillard is back, and Jerami Grant should assistance on each ends of the ground.
With the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets already angling toward the Wembanyama lottery (to various degrees), the Portland Trail Blazers may only need to worry about jumping one team to get to tenth (and a play-in spot).
From there, you may have Lillard in a winner-take-all situation. And while the opposite three teams within the play-in are sure to have loads of talent too, few players have clutch credentials quite like Dame.
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Keegan Murray Will Win Rookie of the 12 months: +450
There are a number of interesting candidates for Rookie of the 12 months, including Paolo Banchero (+200) and Jaden Ivey (+450), but nobody has looked as unphased by the jump from college (or elsewhere) as Keegan Murray.
Granted, we have only seen him in summer league and the preseason, however the 6’8″ sharpshooter never looks sped up. He has one among the sweetest-looking jumpers in the sport, no matter experience. And his combo forward frame and skill set are in heavy demand immediately.
It’s hard to see how Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown can keep him out of the Kings starting lineup for much longer. And once he’s flanking De’Aaron Fox-Domantas Sabonis pick-and-rolls, he should get loads of catch-and-shoot threes and opportunities to attack closeouts.
A scoring average within the high teens for a team pushing the playoff mix is an actual possibility for Murray, and that ought to get him within the Rookie of the 12 months conversation.
San Antonio Spurs
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Spurs Will Make the Play-In Tournament: +1600
On the Portland slide, the San Antonio Spurs were just mentioned as a team in the combo for Wembanyama. But with the variety of teams that might enter that fray over the course of the season, backpedaling into tenth place in either conference is an actual possibility.
And while the Spurs front office can have assembled a roster seemingly destined for the lottery, it’s hard to assume coach Gregg Popovich taking any dives in individual games.
The Spurs will almost definitely play the suitable way, and the talent of Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Jakob Poeltl may lead to a handful of unexpected victories.
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Raptors Will Win the Atlantic Division: +850
The Atlantic Division is loaded. The Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets all have enough talent to complete first within the East. The Recent York Knicks haven’t got as much star power, but a return to the playoffs is not out of the query.
Betting on any of the above to win the division feels pretty daring, however the Toronto Raptors at the very least have a shot.
Toronto is bringing back all of crucial pieces of a team that won 48 games in 2021-22, and Rookie of the 12 months Scottie Barnes could take a leap. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. are all under 30, too.
This team continues to be developing and about as well-equipped as anyone to totally embrace positionless basketball.
With the extent of parity within the NBA immediately, ending within the low 50s could also be enough to win any division, and the Raptors can get there.
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Lauri Markkanen Will Win Most Improved Player of the 12 months: +5500
By trading Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz dove headfirst into the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes and embraced the “let’s get weird” philosophy for 2022-23.
Within the spirit of the latter, let’s go along with an extended shot for the Utah Jazz.
At those odds, winning a bet of just $10 would bring you $550, and Lauri Markkanen must have the chance to take loads of shots for this team.
During the last three seasons, he’s averaged just 14.4 points. This preseason, he’s putting up 22.5 per 36 minutes, and that is on the heels of the 27.9 he put up for Finland at EuroBasket 2022 (second only to Giannis Antetokounmpo).
On a team cruising toward the lottery, Markkanen’s “most improved” resume could look awfully enticing to awards voters.
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Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis Will Each Average 22 Points per Game: +151 (two-leg parlay)
Even in a down, injury-plagued 2021-22, Bradley Beal finished with a median of 23.2 points. He hasn’t been below 22 since 2015-16. He’s just about a given for this bet, which is why his individual odds to average 22-plus are -700.
Parlaying those with Kristaps Porzingis attending to 22 suddenly gets you into plus territory, though. And the 22.1 Porzingis averaged in 28.2 minutes per game with Washington last season suggests he can do it.
Improvement and a corresponding increase in usage for forwards like Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Kyle Kuzma could definitely hurt KP’s possibilities, but there’s also a likelihood that more surrounding talent means more open looks for Porzingis.