NBA futures odds: Is now the time to bet on the Golden State Warriors?

Often, it’s always darkest before dawn. 

When it comes to betting sports futures, that can occasionally be a profitable proverb to take to heart. Buying when a team is at its lowest point means you’re certain to get a higher rate of return than you otherwise would.

What if I told you can bet on a four-time champion, a team that came into this season a legitimate threat to win a fifth title in a decade, at some seriously good odds? 

Or are you done with the Golden State Warriors?

With forward Draymond Green suspended indefinitely on Dec. 14, head coach Steve Kerr made a change to his starting lineup, benching Andrew Wiggins. The Warriors lost at the L.A. Clippers anyway, crumbling late to fall to 10-14, but the incorporation of Brandin Podziemski into the first five was a step in the right direction.

The status quo won’t fly. Just over a quarter of the season in, there’s plenty of time for the Dubs to recover. 

Since there’s a play-in tournament now, Golden State only has to finish among the Western Conference’s top 10 teams in order to have a chance at realizing their season-long goals. As of Tuesday morning, they’re in the 11th spot. This same conversation can be had about Memphis with Ja Morant returning Tuesday. The Grizzlies are nearly six full games behind the Warriors. 

While the Grizzlies are to win the West, the Warriors are . Clearly, there’s a difference.

However, those futures odds are still ninth among the conference’s teams, better than only the Pelicans () and Rockets () among teams currently ahead of the Warriors in the standings.

Let’s take a closer look at whether Golden State is worth investing in at a point when many have thrown in the towel on their realistic chances of competing for a title. 

Golden State Warriors NBA futures odds

Before diving in, let’s look at the latest Golden State Warriors NBA futures odds at top-rated sportsbooks: 

  • To win NBA title:
  • To win Western Conference:
  • To win Pacific Division:
  • To reach playoffs:
  • Win total:

Draymond Green faces an uncertain future, but a return is inevitable

No matter what your opinion is regarding Green, whether you view him as a future Hall of Famer or a role player who lucked out beyond belief to have ended up with Golden State, don’t diminish his importance. He’s been invaluable to this dynasty’s run, as a leader, teammate, enforcer, defender, passer, rebounder and screener.

The Warriors are going to miss him. No, the 33-year-old is no longer in his prime, but he’s still a plus defender and was shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point range when he flailed and struck Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face.

Teams that play off him daring Green to shoot may have to start thinking twice if he returns from suspension shooting like he had been. He shot 50 percent from 3-point range in November. Before choking Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert on Nov. 14, he’d shot 9-for-18 from beyond the arc. When he returned from his first timeout this season, Green made eight of his next 16 3-pointers. 

Still a gifted passer that can setup who shooters Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Green’s 5.8 assists per game mark his lowest average since 2014-15. But he had a season-best 13 helpers on Dec. 8 in the last game he finished without incident.

Green will return at some point in 2024, likely within the first few weeks of January even though there’s no set date established. His legs will be fresh, but it remains to be seen whether his attitude adjustment will take. If it does, will he still have his competitive edge? An emotional tightrope awaits, but once he’s back, expect to see Golden State’s power forward/small-ball center to be an asset.

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Led by Podziemski, Warriors youth movement bolstering Warriors futures bets

Podziemski, a rookie taken out of nearby Santa Clara with the 19th pick, wasn’t utilized much over the season’s first few weeks, but has become an invaluable piece for Kerr. Golden State needs his energy, and the 20-year-old supplies it.

He was everywhere in college when playing for Herb Sendek’s Broncos, inspiring teammates and playing this hybrid playmaker role while also battling bigger guys for rebounds and shooting 3-pointers whenever open. 

To see him translate that same impact to the pros, especially this quickly, has been stunning, but undeniable. Podziemski, averaging over 11 points and six boards this month, replaced Wiggins in the lineup in part because Wiggins’ energy has been non-existent. 

Often the Warriors’ second-best player during their most recent championship, Wiggins just hasn’t been the same since going on a 21-game hiatus last season to deal with what was eventually revealed to be a medical issue involving his father, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins.

Related: NBA Rookie of the Year odds 

A former No. 1 overall pick, Wiggins entered December shooting less than 28 percent from 3-point range and is averaging a career-low 12.6 points per game. He still has the physical attributes to get the job done, but is shooting a career-worst 43 percent from the field, scoring over four points per game fewer than he did as a rookie, and also averaging career-lows in minutes, assists and steals.

Getting Wiggins back on track offensively will be crucial since he’s still by far Golden State’s top perimeter defender. The 25 points he scored Sunday against Portland marked his third-highest output of the season and offered hope he may be able to excel off the bench since he also stuffed the stat sheet.

Beyond Wiggins’ improvement, 21-year-old Jonathan Kuminga has taken Green’s place in the starting lineup and has scored in double-figures seven times in eight games entering Tuesday’s showdown against the Celtics, a testament to his improved aggressiveness. If Golden State can get him to make a leap during Green’s absence due to increased playing time, that’s one positive that could come out of the suspension. 

21-year-old Moses Moody is also playing a larger role than he ever has in his third season and opened December with a 21-point game against the Clippers.

The current youth movement is certain to improve the Warriors’ depth and should be an asset going forward if Podziemski, Kuminga and Moody can all perform consistently once Green returns.

Curry needs Splash Brother to step up for Golden State futures to cash

Curry comes off his first game without a 3-pointer since Nov. 8, 2018, finishing 0-for-8 against Portland on Sunday. The streak ended at 268 games, but rest assured, the two-time MVP has still got it.

He’s averaging 28 points per game, still knocking down about five 3-pointers per game and shooting them at a clip of over 40 percent. At 35, he’s still reliably capable of delivering a game-changing Curry flurry. 

Despite being a couple years younger, there’s been nothing reliable about Klay Thompson this season. He’s shooting a career-worst 41.8 percent from the field and 37.4 from 3-point range.

While those aren’t terrible numbers, the fact Thompson is failing more than ever before does have the buzzards circling. Even Kerr benched him during crunch time earlier this month, and Thompson has grown visibly frustrated.

Handicapping whether the Warriors are worth a futures bet or indeed should be written off does hinge on where you fall regarding Thompson’s ability to snap out of his slump. 

Since going 1-for-8 in two of three games earlier this month, most recently dropping one of those duds in the Suns loss where Green got tossed, Thompson has found his touch again. He enters the week on a 17-for-31 run from 3-point range.

If the future Hall-of-Famer now has his legs under him, betting against Golden State is indeed a foolish proposition. 

More NBA Futures: 2024 NBA Championship odds | NBA MVP odds

If you want to bet Warriors futures, now is the time

Nothing in this piece should sway you if you’ve written the Warriors off. If you’ve stuck the fork in them, they’re done. If not, Golden State still has redeeming value.

Green will be back, almost certainly on his best behavior. Thompson may be back, if his recent form holds. The Warriors’ kids are all talented and may be blossoming. They need Wiggins to play well, and he’s physically capable of doing so if he holds up mentally. A lot needs to go their way, but the team’s odds probably won’t get much better than this. 

Golden State is to win the Pacific Division, to win the Western Conference and to win the NBA Championship.

Ironically, the Warriors are just to reach the playoffs. With the Dubs, the chip and a chair analogy plays. There’s too much in place for that not to be the case.

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