One of the earliest introductions to sports gambling comes when many of us are just five or six years old. Sports trading card collecting, more specifically purchasing packs and boxes, is in itself a form of gambling. The collector – no matter the age nor sport – has no true idea what the outcome will be after they rip open a hobby box or tear into a wax pack, but just as in gambling, profits are possible. So, while you pursue the latest 2020 NBA championship odds, realize that the current NBA trading card market is scorching hot with many veteran superstars’ and rookie phenoms’ rarest pieces hauling tens-of-thousands-of-dollars.

shai gilgeous-alexander

This card sold for more than $23,000!

Another way to look at the synergy between NBA title odds and these valuable pieces of cardboard is to realize you’d need to risk $100 on Oklahoma City for a chance to win just $8,000 should the Thunder accomplish the impossible. However, what would you say if I told you a one-of-a-kind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander autographed rookie card recently sold for more than $23,000? It happened back in March. Talk about madness.

If SGA’s asking price for his rarest signature cards brings in a return 3x the amount of a $100-bet on his Thunder to win the 2020 NBA title, you get a sense of the $$$ premium this year’s loaded rookie class cardboard is seeing at auction.

The Rookie$ (plus one NBA $ophomore)

At last check, back in late-February, Zion Williamson still trailed Ja Morant as the favorite to win the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year award. The Pelicans’ franchise player was +210, while the Grizzlies point guard was the heavy favorite at -250 with about six weeks to go in the original regular season. However, both Williamson and Morant have earned the right to fight for one of the Western Conference’s final playoff slots this summer. While Memphis is currently the No. 8 seed in the West, bookmakers at Bovada believe Zion and Co. have a much better chance to win it all.

Whether either raises the Larry O’Brien Trophy or not this October, card collectors continue to cash in on the duo.

Zion Williamson

This one-of-a-kind Zion Williamson could fetch more than $100,000 with ease.

Zion Williamson (Pelicans +8000 odds to win 2020 NBA Title)

The best way for me to illustrate Williamson’s economic impact on the trading card industry is to have you follow this link to his recent eBay sales. Just know that while most clear $100+ with ease, even his most basic rookie cards – sans flare or rarity – sell for $50-or-more. However, a quick filter flip from most-recent to highest-grossing Zion card sales indicate an upwards trajectory that will flirt with $100,000+ this summer. Make no mistake, with Williamson’s rarest cards fetching more than $25,000 right now, his holy grail – the 2019-20 Panini National Treasures 1-of-1 Logoman Rookie Card, will have the most avid and, let’s say, passionate collectors cashing out 401k positions and pensions to add this one-of-a-kind card to their collection. Depending on if Zion’s rookie logoman is sold privately or at highly-publicized auction, there’s little doubt that card will reach six figures and possibly before Williamson turns 20 years old on July 6.

Or you could risk $100 to win $8,000 should New Orleans shock the world this October!

Ja Morant (Grizzlies +20000 to win)

While Morant’s rarest basketball cards aren’t quite at Zion’s level, he does have more than a handful that have sold for MORE THAN $10,000 in recent months. With Williamson’s premium too rich for most collectors, many have turned their attention to Morant who not only could win the 2019-20 ROY Award, but also evolve into the NBA’s top point guard for the next 15 years.

Luka Doncic (Mavericks +3500 to win)

While the 2019-20 NBA rookie class changed the card collecting game forever, those who pay attention to the industry may have noticed that Luka Doncic’s stock remains at all-time highs heading into July’s regular season reboot. A $100 bet would pay $3500 should he and Kristaps Porzingis lead the Mavs to the 2020 NBA Title. The $3,500 would pay for most of this 2018-19 Panini Impeccable Doncic Rookie Patch Auto sold on eBay last month.

NBA Champion$hip Favorite$


Sold for $12,199!

So, if you’re just now learning that large sums of money are being exchanged on a daily basis in the name of Williamson, Morant and Doncic, you’re probably wondering what the market is for some elder statesman and first ballot hall of famers, eh?

Despite the three month national television hiatus, LeBron James’ cards have never been hotter. The cleanest version, a.k.a. professionally graded, of his premiere rookie card, the 2003-04 Topps Chrome just sold for $9,155 last night on eBay. This same card could have been purchased for $6,400 back in early-March and less than $3,000 back in late-2019. At +200 to win the 2020 NBA Title, you’d have to risk more than $4,500 on the Lakers to cash in close to what James’ top rookie card is hauling in these days.

At 3-to-1, you’d have to risk more than $4,000 on the Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA championship to come close to this uber-rare, pristine condition Giannis Antetokounmpo rookie card sold on eBay last month.

Who would have thought pieces of cardboard would ever have it this good?

Latest 2020 NBA Championship Odds (via Bovada)

Team 2019-20 NBA Championship Odds (6/8/20)
Lakers +200
Bucks +300
Clippers +325
Celtics +1200
Rockets +1500
Raptors +2000
Jazz +2200
76ers +2200
Nuggets +2200
Heat +2800
Mavericks +3500
Nets +4000
Pacers +5000
Pelicans +8000
Thunder +8000
Trail Blazers +12500
Grizzlies +20000
Spurs +25000
Magic +25000
Kings +25000
Wizards +25000
Suns +50000

Sean Love

A native son of Las Vegas, Sean Love was born on Valentine's Day 1975 and has been sharing his passion for casino games and sports gambling the past 20+ years. An avid fan of the NFL, you'll find Mr. Love on the couch every Sunday during the fall. His mission is to make you all wiser with the wager no matter your preferred taste of the action.

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