NBA Betting Notebook, Odds, and Schedule: Orlando Strikes Gold in Draft Lottery

Aside from the NBA playoffs, plenty of news has been circulating throughout the most entertaining league in North American sports. There is plenty to cover in the world of hoops and we break it all down for you in this edition of the NBA Betting Notebook.

Last Updated: May 20, 2022 11:09 AM ET Read Time: 5 min
NBA Draft Lottery 2022
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the latest edition of the NBA Betting Notebook for May 20, 2022. Today’s NBA Notes concern the results of the NBA Draft Lottery, questions about the future of the Phoenix Suns, and betting outlooks for the Conference Finals. Let’s dive in.

NBA Notebook: May 20

Click on each item to read the full update.

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NBA betting news for this weekend

Orlando Magic win the draft lottery

While the postseason is in full swing, this week was also a time of anxiety and celebration for the have-nots of the NBA world, as the NBA Draft Lottery took place in Chicago on Tuesday. The Orlando Magic secured the number one overall pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder snagged second, the Houston Rockets nabbed third, the Sacramento Kings jumped up to fourth, and the Detroit Pistons fell to fifth.

While the top three picks of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, and Paolo Banchero seem locked in, the drama might begin with the Kings at four. Jaden Ivey is widely considered the best prospect likely to be available at four, but the Kings might not want to take another guard high in the draft. With a mandate to win and win now, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sacramento trade down or make a surprising choice at that spot.

Fallout from Suns' early exit

With the Conference Finals well underway, there has still been growing fallout from the Phoenix Suns' shocking blowout loss in Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns, who had been the best team in the regular season — and even a few games earlier seemed ready to cruise to the Conference Finals — got utterly annihilated by Luka Doncic and the Mavs. Phoenix has been one of the favorites to win it all for much of the year and with its departure, the Warriors saw their title odds leap to their highest watermark yet of +100.

The Suns are left with a lot of questions. For one, there was a bench incident between head coach Monty Williams and Deandre Ayton during Game 7, and after the game when pressed for why Ayton only played 17 minutes, Williams said that “it’s internal”.

Given that Ayton failed to reach an agreement with Suns’ ownership over a contract extension and is now entering restricted free agency, there are growing doubts about whether the Suns are committed to him long term. A sign and trade looms as a possibility, with teams like Detroit, Charlotte, or Portland looking for long-term answers at the five spot.

Warriors, Celtics have strong showing in Conference Finals

After getting crushed by the Miami Heat in Game 1 with a limited roster, the Boston Celtics roared back in Game 2 last night to even the series. This win boosted Boston's odds to win the title ahead of Miami as the Celtics sit at +200 and the Heat are +550. These odds saw a major swing with the C's being able to steal a game on the road, while the status of P.J. and Kyle Lowry remains questionable.

Turning to the West Finals, should bettors expect a similar bounce back tonight from Dallas? The data suggests yes. While the Warriors won Game 1 in overwhelming fashion, a lot had to go right for them to do it. Namely, the Dallas Mavericks missed a whole lot of shots that they normally make. Per Shot Quality, the Mavs would typically have expected to win Game 1 by 2 points given their relative shot diets. Bettors should strongly consider banking on Dallas for Game 2.

In-Season tournament

The NBA is pushing forward with its plans to launch an in-season tournament, similar in style to the FA Cup in English football. While some are skeptical of these games, I believe in time they will become another exciting addition to the NBA calendar. As we’ve seen during March Madness and more recently during the Play-In tournaments in the NBA, single-elimination basketball is highly entertaining. 

But the NBA has to ensure that the creation of this tournament does not add additional games to the already overlong NBA calendar. Wear and tear injuries induced by the grueling NBA schedule already impact the NBA playoffs greatly, and any additional games are likely to turn off the NBA’s best players. As long as it doesn’t add additional games to the calendar, I think this is an experiment well worth a shot.

Transition take foul legislation

In news that was music to every basketball fan’s ears, the NBA Board of Governors has had preliminary discussions aimed at eliminating the so-called “take foul” from NBA play. Take fouls are used primarily to limit fast break opportunities by opposing teams when they are caught out of defensive position. 

Their use has exploded throughout the NBA in recent years, with their ubiquity this season becoming a frequent point of conversation on NBA broadcasts. The take foul exclusively removes the most exciting play in basketball, namely a fast-break dunk, and eliminating it from competition will lead to a much more entertaining product. The board has recommended that the penalty for a take foul will be one free throw plus possession, which is the current model used in the NBA G League.

NBA schedule for this weekend

Friday, May 20

Mavericks vs. Warriors (Game 2), 9:00 p.m. ET, TNT

Saturday, May 21

Heat vs. Celtics (Game 3), 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Sunday, May 22

Warriors vs. Mavericks (Game 3), 9:00 p.m. ET, TNT

Monday, May 23

• Heat vs. Celtics (Game 4), 9:00 p.m. ET, ABC

Check out the full NBA schedule, matchups, odds, and more!

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