Setting The Pick – Betting on Trade Rumours
The NBA trade deadline often is a major catalyst for teams looking to commit to a direction.
Franchises either throw in the towel and set up for a rebuild or contending teams sell off future assets to bolster their current rosters for a championship push.
With live win totals still available on FanDuel, this is an excellent opportunity to bet on the direction of teams if you have a clear lean.
By 3:00 pm on Thursday, several of these lines will be altered, reflecting the moves made at the deadline.
Here are three win totals worth evaluating before Feb. 8th.
New York not done
Since making their trade for OG Anunoby, the Knicks have gone 15-3, second-best in the NBA, and sit one game back of the No. 2 seed in the East.
Before the trade with Toronto, New York was 8th in the conference and only two games above .500.
There’s no denying the Knicks feel encouraged to make a push considering how fragile some of their competition has looked of late.
The loss of Joel Embiid for Philadelphia improves New York’s probability of locking up homecourt advantage in the first round.
Milwaukee looks shaky with new head coach Doc Rivers at the helm.
Even with Julius Randle and Anunoby missing the previous four games, New York has managed to go 3-1.
They hold a powerful trade chip in Evan Fournier, who is on an $18.8 million contract with a team option for 2024-25.
The Frenchman has only played three games all season and is clearly not part of New York’s future.
His expiring contract is necessary to match salaries with any contributing player the Knicks try to acquire.
On one hand, they aren’t technically pressured to leverage his contract this trade deadline. Because of the team option for 2024-25, New York has the cap space to hold onto Fournier and wait until the summer to pull off a similar trade.
But given the momentum New York has, they could very well make the biggest splash on Thursday.
The play: Knicks over 51.5 wins (-105)
Wizards fire sale
Where’s a safe place to go in the event of fire? Jump into the pool.
Every starter on Washington has been mentioned in trade rumblings except for Jordan Poole.
After being cast off by the Warriors during the off-season, the Wizards hoped Poole could evolve into an All-Star level, score-first combo guard.
Instead, he’s become one of the biggest busts in the NBA and a regular laughingstock on social media.
The issue isn’t that he’s underperforming. It’s his four-year, $128 million contract that makes him an untouchable asset.
Washington is essentially stuck with him in the near future.
Several of his teammates are highly coveted by contending teams, and Washington would be shrewd to capitalize on the demand.
Tyus Jones was amongst the very best backup point guards last season and could excel in that role on a championship contender.
Kyle Kuzma’s combination of scoring and size could help many teams who are in the market for a stretch four. Even though he’s under contract for three more seasons, it’s structured in a declining format going from $25.6 million this season to $19.4 million in 2026-27.
That makes a trade for him more palatable as his cap hit essentially compounds positively as the salary cap increases.
If the front office and coaching staff are aligned, the Wizards should do everything in their power to remain in the bottom three to have an equal shot at the first-overall draft pick in 2024.
At nine wins, they’re currently second-last and fighting off two lottery ball competitors in Charlotte and San Antonio, both who sit at 10 wins.
It’s already a lost season for Washington and come Thursday, expect their team to be even thinner than they currently are.
The Play: Washington under 17.5 wins (-152)
Brooklyn won’t be buyers
After making the most noise ahead of the deadline last year, trading away Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets will likely continue focusing on their rebuild.
In their trade with Phoenix, Brooklyn found their potential franchise player in Mikal Bridges.
He opened this season as the betting favourite to win Most Improved Player on FanDuel and was expected to make a major leap.
Unfortunately, his trajectory has plateaued to the point he’s not even available to bet on for MIP anymore.
To open the season, the Nets were given a 36.5 win total.
Currently at 20-29 in the 11th-seed, their .408 win percentage projects them to finish between 33 to 34 wins.
Given how Chicago and Atlanta (the two teams above them) have been trending recently, chances are the Nets end up just outside the play-in tournament.
Bridges isn’t on the trade block, but Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and even Nicolas Claxton have had their names floated in trade ideas.
With their current win total on FanDuel set at 35.5, one off the preseason number, Brooklyn would have to go 16-17 to hit the over.
Perhaps the Nets stand pat come Thursday, but they most certainly won’t be buyers.
I don’t feel the current line reflects the franchise’s rest of season outlook.
The play: Brooklyn under 35.5 wins (-144)