NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

Betting favorites, history, and how to bet


NBA Rookie of the Year odds have been posted at top US sportsbooks with the Rockets’ Jalen Green and the Pistons’ Cade Cunningham as the favorites. Green was +200 at DraftKings Sportsbook on the day of the start of the season with Cunningham owning +300 odds. Jalen Suggs (+750), Evan Mobley (+1000) and Alperen Sengun (+1400) also appear at the top of odds boards.

NBA Rookie of the Year odds

Here are NBA Rookie of the Year odds for the 2021-22 pro basketball season.

NBA Rookie of the Year candidates

The Favorites

Jalen Green (+200): The No. 2 overall pick is ready to explode onto the scene for the tanking Rockets after spending a year in the G League. Green, a 6-foot-5 guard from California, has openly discussed his vendetta to outplay Cunningham since he believes he should’ve been the top pick in the draft. Green averaged 17.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 2.8 APG while shooting 46% from the floor in the G League last season. Another injury to John Wall would open the door for Green to run the Rockets offense and raise his profile.

Cade Cunningham (+300): Touted as the likely first pick in the 2021 draft for several years, Cunningham brings a slew of leadership intangibles to the table in addition to his impressive physical skills. The 6-foot-8, 220-pounder from Texas is more of a point forward than a combo guard, and he should be a perfect fit in the modern NBA. In his one season at Oklahoma State, Cunningham averaged 20.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.5 APG while shooting 40% from 3-point range. He thrived in limited action during NBA Summer League and is going to have ample opportunities to run the offense on a dreadful Detroit team.

The Contenders

Jalen Suggs (+750): Suggs exploded onto the scene during Gonzaga’s run to the NCAA Championship last spring, hitting a huge buzzer beater from nearly halfcourt to secure a Final Four win over UCLA. The 6-foot-4 point guard out of Minnesota demonstrated incredible court vision and leadership skills that may help him separate from a crowded backcourt in Orlando to post excellent rookie year numbers.

Evan Mobley (+1000): A 7-footer with freakish quickness and athleticism, Mobley is capable of thriving in the modern NBA. The off-season trade of Larry Nance to Portland will allow Mobley to get a ton of minutes for the Cavs in his rookie campaign.

Scottie Barnes (+1400): The Raptors have been incredible in terms of developing talent, particularly with forwards such as Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Chris Boucher. Barnes, a former high school teammate of Cade Cunningham’s at Montverde Academy, enters the league with far more recognition than those players. The 6-foot-8 forward out of Florida State has incredible strength and finishing ability.

Notable Longshots

Davion Mitchell (+1800): A key cog in Baylor’s run to the NCAA title last spring, Mitchell earned co-MVP honors for his role in helping the Kings to a Summer League title. But the 6-foot, 205-pound point guard will have a hard time finding playing time and usage with De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton set to run the show during the regular season.

Josh Giddey (+2000): Perhaps the biggest riser of the draft, Giddey went sixth overall to the Thunder. But OKC is not trying to win games and if the Australian point guard begins to play well, he could find himself on the bench for several games as the Thunder pursue their tanking strategy.

James Bouknight (+2800): The 6-foot-5 wing out of UConn had a solid Summer League for the Hornets and could have a shot at serious playing time now that Malik Monk is no longer in Charlotte. Bouknight could be part of the Hornets corps going forward, but he might need an injury to Gordon Hayward to see enough usage for a potential Rookie of the Year campaign.

Jonathan Kuminga (+3500): The Warriors will hope that they scored a fantastic deal when Kuminga – who was once projected to be a top-three pick – fell to them at No. 7 overall. Golden State has a pressing need for an athletic wing to play alongside Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, and opportunities will be there for Kuminga with Klay Thompson (Achilles) slowly returning to form.

Cam Thomas (+4500): The co-MVP of the Summer League went off for 36 points to showcase his talents for the Nets. The championship favorites won’t need him to carry a heavy load, but with James Harden showing some signs of becoming injury-prone at his age and Kyrie Irving likely being unavailable for many nights, Thomas could get heavy minutes in the regular season.

What happened in past years?

The 2020-21 NBA season wrapped with LaMelo Ball earning Rookie of the Year honors and NBA Rookie of the Year odds are up at key sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

The NBA ROY award is voted upon by a panel of 100 media members who are not affiliated with any NBA franchises. That panel will vote for a ROY based on their regular season performance.

Each member of the panel casts a vote for first to third-place selections. Each vote counts incrementally towards a player’s total and the player with the highest total wins the award.

There is plenty of precedent where a player misses too many games and members of the panel decide they shouldn’t be eligible.

Last year, Ball played in 51 of 72 games, missing 21 with a broken wrist. In 2019, Zion Williamson played 24 games and finished third in ROY voting with only one first-place vote. In 2017, Joel Embiid finished third behind Malcolm Brogdon and Dario Saric after playing in 31 of 82 possible games, but he got 23 first-place votes.

How to bet on NBA Rookie of the Year

Betting on the ROY winner is one of the more popular options for outright bets known as “Futures,” which are usually wagers on a season-long outcome such as the NBA champion, NBA division winner, or individual award winners. It’s also possible to bet Over or Under on Team Win totals, i.e. the number of games a team is expected to win during the regular season.

Odds for futures bets are set during the preseason, but can change throughout the season based on news and results.

For the purposes of ROY betting, players will be listed in order of the favorites. So, Houston’s Jalen Green (+200) is considered the favorite to win the award.

These odds refer to the potential payout if the bet is successful. So, a $100 bet on Cunningham to be named ROY would profit $200, whereas a $100 bet on a longshot such as James Bouknight (+2800) would profit $2,800 if voters select him after the season.

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Where you can bet legally

Sports betting is currently legal at a regulated sportsbook in the following states:

Colorado online sports betting
Indiana online sports betting
Iowa online sports betting
Michigan online sports betting
New Jersey online sports betting
New Mexico
New York sports betting
Pennsylvania online sports betting
Rhode Island
Tennessee online sports betting
West Virginia online sports betting
Virginia online sports betting

Legislation is on the table in a number of states with more states sure to legalize sports betting in the upcoming years.

NBA ROY trends and history

Twenty-one winners were drafted first overall. Sixteen winners have also won the MVP award in their careers; Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld earning both honors the same season. Nineteen of the 42 winners have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Three seasons had joint winners — Dave Cowens and Geoff Petrie in 1970-71; Grant Hill and Jason Kidd in 1994-95, and Elton Brand and Steve Francis in 1999-2000.

As mentioned above, stats matter most. So when choosing a player to wager on, minutes played if often a good place to start … the thought being that the more minutes a player plays, the more he can stuff that stat sheet.