There is finally some NBA basketball buzz back in Detroit. With the 2021-22 NBA season set to get underway next week, the Detroit Pistons getting the top draft pick of Cade Cunningham has the city talking — and maybe thinking about some prop bets.
Although the situation isn’t off to the healthiest start, will Cunningham’s performance lift Detroit this season?
Ankle injury hampering Cunningham’s start with Pistons
Cunningham has a lot of hype for the season, but he’s currently sidelined.
An ankle injury suffered in training camp has Cunningham yet to make his preseason debut.
Although coach Dwane Casey has said the team is playing it safe with Cunningham, Casey also has said he wants to see Cunningham at full strength for three or four practices before playing in a game.
The injury seems minor, but ankle issues sidelined Cunningham during his collegiate career as well at Oklahoma State.
Cunningham, Jalen Green favorites for rookie of the year
Despite the minor setback for the new Pistons star, Cunningham still finds himself as one of the favorites on bets to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
DraftKings Sportsbook lists him as a +250 favorite, while the Houston Rockets’ Jalen Green is next at +275. The next closest behind them is the Orlando Magic’s Jalen Suggs at +700.
FanDuel Sportsbook sees Cunningham and Green as co-favorites at +240, while Suggs is listed at +700.
BetMGM Sportsbook has Cunningham as the +250 favorite, while Green is at +300. According to BetMGM, Green has the most betting handle (30.0%) on him for the award. The highest ticket percentage (23.8%) though is for Nah’Shon Hyland of the Denver Nuggets, who is the book’s biggest liability (+4000). The VCU product, the 26th pick overall, has been strong in the preseason, and Colorado is also a state with sports betting.
The past five Rookie of the Year winners have been guards or a guard/forward combo player. The past four have been players selected in the top three of the NBA Draft.
In NBA history, the No. 1 pick has won the honor 22 times. In Pistons lore, the last ROY winner was Grant Hill back in 1995.
The best real-time odds for Cunningham on the rookie of the year market are at .
Cunningham not aiding in expectations for Pistons-related bets
Even though the Pistons added the No. 1 pick, their outlook for the season hasn’t improved much.
BetMGM lists the Pistons at +50000 to win the NBA Finals this year, which is tied for the league’s worst odds along with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic.
The over/under for regular season wins for Detroit is listed at just 24.5. Detroit’s odds to make the playoffs are just +2000.
In turn, Casey isn’t highly considered in the race for Coach of the Year. He sits back at +5000 at BetMGM, which is among the longest odds.
Detroit Pistons a big liability for Michigan sportsbooks
The Pistons’ odds are long, but that simply means it could be a big payday if things work out.
Bettors seem to like their odds coming into the season, as Detroit is getting a lot of action on futures bets at Michigan sportsbooks, including BetMGM.
In the NBA Championship market, Detroit is getting 3.5% of the tickets at their +50000 odds. That’s eighth at BetMGM. The Los Angeles Lakers (+400) are getting the most tickets, at 22.3%. The Brooklyn Nets (+900) are getting the most handle (33%). As of now, Detroit is the biggest liability in the NBA Finals market.
In the Eastern Conference market, Detroit is at +25000 and getting 10.5% of the tickets and 7.5% of the handle at BetMGM. The Milwaukee Bucks (+425) are getting the most tickets at 18.5%. The Nets (-125) have the most handle at 22.8%. The Pistons are again the biggest liability in this market.
The same can be said in the NBA Central race. The Pistons are the biggest liability there with +8000 odds to win. Detroit is getting 26.7% of the tickets and 27.9% of the handle in the division betting. The Chicago Bulls (+1100) has the most tickets (53.3%) and handle (66.3%).
Second-year breakout for Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey?
Cunningham is certainly the big story entering the season, but Detroit has a lot of intriguing players to watch in 2021-22.
Saddiq Bey was in the Rookie of the Year race last season after lighting it up from the arc. Bey averaged 2.5 3-pointers made per game last year.
DraftKings has set his over/under at 2.8 3-pointers made per game for the 2021-22 season. Bey also is listed at +4500 for the Most Improved Player Award.
Another second-year player with a lot of intrigue this season is Killian Hayes. Injuries held him to just 26 games as a rookie. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 assists per game, but also had 3.2 turnovers per contest.
With Cunningham in the mix, it will be interesting to see how the two are used together and how much Hayes will handle the ball. DraftKings listed his over/under at 6 assists per game for the season.
Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk to be veteran leaders
Jerami Grant had a big 2020-21 season as Detroit’s scoring leader. Grant had a career-best 22.3 points per game last year to go with 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Grant is likely to be the Pistons’ pace-setter once again and is at +50000 to win the NBA MVP at DraftKings. His points per game average for the season has an over/under of 21.9 as well.
In the offseason, Detroit signed veteran forward Kelly Olynyk to a 3-year, $37 million deal. Olynyk is coming off a 19-point, 8.4-rebound per game season with Houston last year.
DraftKings sees Olynyk in the mix for the Sixth Man of the Year, giving him +6000 odds to win the honor this season. Olynyk should definitely have a big role with Detroit and also serve as a mentor to the young talent.