2024 NBA Draft Lottery Odds, Implied Probability, And Analysis

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2024 NBA Draft Lottery Odds, Implied Probability, & Analysis

The 2024 NBA Draft lottery will take place on May 12. Although it does not have the Victor Wembanyama hype like last year’s lottery, it still may be a franchise-altering event for many teams.

Are the available NBA odds a good proposition, though? And how are bettors attacking the market considering the fact that the public knows each pick’s probability for each team?

Let’s take a closer look at this unique sporting “event,” which really can be looked at almost entirely from a mathematical perspective.

NBA draft lottery odds and implied probability

The following first-overall-pick odds are a mix of BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel numbers. Additionally, the chart displays the implied probability of the odds, which shows how frequently the bet needs to hit to break even in the long run. For example, odds of +300 have an implied probability of 25%. Therefore, a bettor would need to win at least 25.1% of the time for the bet to theoretically have a positive expected value.

The actual probabilities in the table below represent each team’s chances of winning the top pick based on how the NBA set up the lottery system. Finally, the edge column shows the difference between each team’s actual probability of winning the top pick and the team’s implied probability given the odds. A negative edge means that the actual probability is less than what a bettor would need to break even in the long run based on the odds. In other words, a negative edge equals a negative expected value, thus making the bet theoretically a losing proposition. Meanwhile, a positive edge carries a theoretical profit in the long run.

It’s worth noting, however, that the edge is based on expected long-term results. For example, a bet on the Detroit Pistons to win the lottery that is simulated 100 times would be expected to lose money. However, it’s definitely possible that they win the lottery on May 12.

First Overall Pick OddsImplied ProbabilityActual Probability of WinningEdge
Detroit Pistons+600 (FD)14.2%14%-0.2%
Washington Wizards+600 (FD)14.2%14%-0.2%
Charlotte Hornets+600 (FD)14.2%13.3%-0.9%
Portland Trail Blazers+650 (BMGM)13.3%13.2%-0.1%
San Antonio Spurs+800 (FD/DK)11.1%10.5%-0.6%
Toronto Raptors+1000 (FD)9.09%9%-0.09%
Memphis Grizzlies +1200 (FD/BMGM)7.6%7.5%-0.1%
Utah Jazz+1500 (FD)6.2%6%-0.2%
Brooklyn Nets (to Rockets)+1900 (DK)5%4.5%-0.5%
Atlanta Hawks+2900 (FD)3.3%3%-0.3%
Chicago Bulls+5000 (BMGM)1.9%2%+0.1%
Houston Rockets+6000 (DK)1.6%1.5%-0.1%
Sacramento Kings+11000 (DK)0.9%0.8%-0.1%
Golden State Warriors+17500 (BMGM)0.5%0.7%+0.2%

Overall, online sportsbooks have produced a negative edge for 12 of 14 teams, given the odds they offer. Only the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors are theoretically profitable bets in the long run. On the other hand, the Charlotte Hornets (-0.9% edge) own the worst odds when comparing their implied probability and actual probability of winning the lottery

NBA draft lottery betting analysis

The public betting information below is per BetMGM as of May 9. The probability edge column is the same concept as the edge column above, except it only utilizes BetMGM’s odds. A negative edge means that the bet is not expected to be profitable in the long run.

Probability EdgeTicket%Handle%
Detroit Pistons-1.3%30.5%35.2%
Washington Wizards-1.3%21%23.7%
San Antonio Spurs-1.2%7.6%5.2%
Golden State Warriors+0.2%5.7%6.5%
Portland Trail Blazers-0.1%4.8%2.4%
Chicago Bulls+0.1%4.8%2.0%
Charlotte Hornets-2%2.9%11.5%
Toronto Raptors-1%1.9%2.1%
Memphis Grizzlies-0.1%1.9%0.6%
Sacramento Kings-0.4%1.9%5.3%
Utah Jazz-1.6%1.0%0.3%
Brooklyn Nets (to Rockets)-0.7%1.0%0.5%
Atlanta Hawks-0.4%0.0%0.0%
Houston Rockets-0.4%0.0%0.0%
Data per BetMGM

Detroit and Washington own the largest chance to win the first overall pick at 14%, and bettors at BetMGM have responded by backing them. Those teams easily lead the pack in both ticket and handle percentage. Additionally, perhaps bettors have recognized the edge for Golden State and Chicago, as they rank fourth and sixth, respectively, in ticket percentage. The fact that they are big-market teams may also be a key factor behind the amount of action on them, too.

Finally, despite Charlotte possessing the worst edge, it has the third most handle at 11.5%. The Hornets own the third-best chance of securing the top pick at 13.3%, which could be driving the public to favor them. However, the odds are not appealing based on the math.