The Supreme Court made a decision a couple of weeks ago that could allow states to legalize and regulate sports betting if they so choose.
It hasn’t affected the day-to-day life of sports bettors yet, as states still need to prepare to allow such gambling. But with the NBA already having a plan to cash in on legal sports betting, it will be greatly impactful on the world of sports when its more widespread and legitimate.
With that in mind, what better time to open The Grizzly Bear Blues Sportsbook & Casino. Our amenities include: bonding over Courtney Lee, a 90” projection screen that ONLY shows Mike Conley highlights from Game 4 against the Spurs in 2016, and odds on the most specific Memphis Grizzlies actions that you ever did hear about.
First up on the Memphis docket: the NBA Draft. There are plenty of possibilities as to what can happen. The Grizzlies haven’t been this high in the draft for years so we’re in slightly uncharted waters. The last time Memphis picked so highly was 2009. The game has changed so much that Hasheem Thabeet out of college likely wouldn’t be considered as highly a prospect, simply out of positional value. If the league knew shot-creation and 3-pointers were going to fully dominate the league, Steph Curry and James Harden would have been drafted #1 and #2. It’s just different now.
What’s not different is who is going to be making the selection. The front office has been retooled and revamped, but Chris Wallace is still, at least publicly, the lead executive again armed with a top-five pick. There can be as much noise pre-draft possible about what the Grizzlies *might* do, but it won’t matter too much if the Suns, Kings, or Hawks make a wild move and muck up those plans. So we need to prepare for a variety of scenarios here at GBBSBaC (name-in-progress).
A primer on betting odds: -XYZ would be a favorite while +XYZ is the underdog. The actual number indicates how much you would win if the bet turned out to be correct. A winning -200 bet would earn the bettor $100 for betting 200. A winning +200 bet would earn the bettor $200 for betting $100. For reference, the Golden States Warriors were a -1000 favorite to win The Finals before the series began while the Cleveland Cavaliers were a +750 underdog.
Let’s check the board.
Drafting Deandre Ayton
No matter what you think of Deandre Ayton as a prospect, it’s almost unfathomable to see him slip to four, or even seeing a team trade out of the opportunity to select him. The Atlanta Hawks at #3 would be the perfect spot for other teams to trade up and leapfrog Memphis for the chance to pick Ayton, a big man prospect that could join the unicorns in the NBA like Karl-Anthony Towns with his offensive talent.
Maybe Memphis packages what few assets they do have to trade up, preferably to #2 if Doncic goes #1. But I’m not sure if there’s anything Memphis can offer that will rile up any rival execs to pass up on a possible generational player like Deandre Ayton. I tried suggesting possible scenarios where the Grizzlies would trade up and Kings fans were not happy with that. It’s harder than I thought.
Drafting Deandre Ayton is a heavy underdog, and while those are fun to bet, I’m going out on a limb and saying it’s likely not the smartest use of money. This is coming from someone who spent $39.99 on a humidifier he’s used once.
Drafting Luka Doncic
This is more of a possibility than drafting Ayton, simply because there’s been smoke - faint, but still smoke - that Doncic could fall to #4. Reports are that the Kings and Hawks are more likely to draft an American big man (Ayton if Doncic goes #1, Jaren Jackson Jr or Marvin Bagley III) and pass on The Donc Man. It would be very surprising that Doncic falls below two. The Suns hired his former coach for cryin’ out loud. Grizzlies fans shouldn’t be expecting Doncic, but the slightest possibility that he comes to Memphis will be plenty enticing.
As a bettor, you gotta take the YES +600 for the value and the possibility of doubling down on your happiness when it’s all said and done. If you walk out with Luka Doncic on your team and 6x your bet, you had a pretty good night in my mind.
Over/Under number of trades on draft night: 1.5
Over 1.5 +200
Under 1.5 -200
I feel like having it at 0.5 trades would be too easy a bet, so I bumped it up to 1.5 to see if we’re really cookin’ with gas. This theoretically wouldn’t be too hard; if Memphis trades down from #4 and makes a similar type of deal to last year where they buy their way into the second round, it could be a nice little return for your bet. They don’t need to game-changing deals here, just two transactions to hit the over. This seems like an easy bet to me.
Memphis drafts a Kansas player
Well there aren’t many Kansas prospects to choose from this draft, but G/F Malik Newman from KU is the best chance to hit this bet with the #32 pick in the draft. There are two other Kansas prospects though: PG Devonte Graham and SG Sviatoslav Mykahiliuk. Both project to be late-2nd round picks to possibly undrafted, but the fact that they’re available boosts the odds of Chris Wallace drafting from his favorite school.
This is an easy bet. Just bet yes and double your money because you know it’s gonna happen.
Is Marc Gasol traded?
The fact that the Grizzlies reportedly wouldn’t even entertain Marc Gasol offers at the trade deadline this past February leads me to believe he will simply never be traded.
Teams reaching out to Memphis on Marc Gasol have been consistently shut down, league sources tell ESPN. Grizzlies refuse to discuss trades on the franchise center.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
But Memphis has a lot more clarity on their entire franchise. Robert Pera cleared up the ownership situation by announcing he will continue to be the controlling partner of the Grizzlies. And the team made J.B. Bickerstaff their permanent head coach. Criticisms aside, the continuity does help in this regard.
But Gasol has only gotten older with even less money on the books that he’s owed. It would make logical sense to trade Big Spain, even if Memphis is hesitant. Despite his talent, there are too many teams trying to offload their center to teams that could be one big man away (see Valanciunas, Jonas and Vucevic, Nikola) for what seems like years now.
This trade would be polarizing among Grizzlies fans, and the organization has shown a tendency to not want to rock the boat in that sense. Marc Gasol being traded isn’t likely, but it should be considered on draft night.
Drafting Jaren Jackson Jr. or Marvin Bagley III
This seems to be the most obvious result of the draft, which is why it’s such a big favorite. I was fine with making specific props about Ayton and Doncic because those are on the outer reaches of possible/plausible. This should be the expected result, decidedly boring but still likely the right choice. Atlanta gets their own choice and Memphis has to live with the backup, even though they both seem to good prospects in their own right.
No one is happy with outcomes that feel premeditated or too likely, but sometimes it might be the right choice. If Memphis doesn’t trade up and if Doncic doesn’t fall, they shouldn’t try to get too cute at #4. Picking one of these two would be a safe and understandable decision. What’s so wrong with that?
Well, as a bettor, that value. Those odds (even though I made them) aren’t enticing enough to make a bet I’m not entirely sure about. There’s a chance that the Grizzlies do get cute with their pick and go with Mohamed Bamba or Wendell Carter Jr. with the fourth pick. There is also a chance Memphis trades down and simply won’t be able to choose one of the two. NO +900 is pretty interesting value.
Good luck placing your bets. We prefer cash being mailed to our headquarters, but we will also accept giant bars of gold and knapsacks sporting a giant green dollar sign overflowing with cash.