With Giannis Antetokounmpo the runaway favourite to be named MVP for the second straight season, we look at who else is likely to hear their name called at the end of season NBA awards.
Look, if you like to take your chances by pulling the one armed bandit on slot machine games, you need to know where you stand a chance of winning big. The MVP race is over. That market just isn’t worth your time. The Greek Freak is 1/8 as things currently stand and the only debate left is where he will be unanimously voted most valuable player.
With that in mind, anybody making bets on the NBA awards needs to look elsewhere. Look first to the bench. Dennis Schroeder is currently the favourite at 11/8. That would make him the first European since Toni Kukoc in 1996 and only the second German, since Detlef Schrempf won back to back crowns in 1991 and 1992, to win it. I like his chances but his price is a little too tight, especially with the run in left. Montrezl Hazzell at 11/4 is the value pick for me but it’s worth keeping an eye on Spencer Dinwiddle. At 17/1, he’s got a chance in the final stretch to move up the board and into contention.
Most Improved Player is, for me, the market with the most room for volatility. My personal pick right now is Bam Adebayo, who is only second favourite at 7/2. Brandon Ingram is in pole position but his 6/4 price is way too short to even glance at. The real fireworks could come if the Dallas Mavericks mount a real campaign around Luka Doncic. The Slovenian sensation is in the top five players overall this season, which oddly seems to hurt him in MIP standings. Still, at 5/1 on some markets, he looks tantalising.
Two awards that are almost as clear cut as MVP are Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the year. The former’s clarity is set more by who is second favourite. Zion Williamson missed half the season yet he is still in second at 7/2. There’s no doubt where ROY is going, it has belonged to Ja Morant for months and that won’t change. He is at 1/7 and he should be even shorter than Giannis is for MVP.
DPOY is going to Anthony Davis bar an individual collapse at the tail end of the season. He’s available at 4/7 and that should be grabbed now because he is not getting any longer. Reigning champion Rudy Gobert is out in third at 6/1 on some markets while Giannis being certain of MVP is longer than he ought to be in second at 11/4.
Lastly, we come to coach of the year Nick Nurse is the favourite at evens and, well, that’s a bargain. He’s going to absolutely walk this award. Bet on the coach of the Toronto Raptors.