Each year, more than 120 media members vote on one award in which a team’s won-loss record means very little. Rookie of the Year is the NBA’s beauty contest, and losing three quarters of one’s games does not uglify any contender.
Did a first-year player do enough for a non-playoff team to merit a reward? That was certainly the case last season with Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, who is now among the contenders for Most Valuable Player in his second season. Six years ago, Michael Carter-Williams on the award for a Philadelphia 76ers team that won just 19 games.
The following season, Andrew Wiggins got the award for a Minnesota Timberwolves team that won just 16 games.
Voters cast first-, second-, and third-place votes (worth five points, three points, and one point, respectively). The player with the highest point total, regardless of the number of first-place votes, wins the award. Only Ralph Sampson, David Robinson, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard and Karl-Anthony Towns have been voted Rookie of the Year unanimously.
The race for this year’s award was impacted considerably in the preseason when Zion Williamson went down with a knee injury that kept him out until mid-December. Now that he’s back on the court, his eligibility is locked in.
While Zion sat out, Ja Morant (Memphis), R.J. Barrett (Knicks), Kendrick Nunn (Heat) and Eric Paschall (Warriors) were the brightest lights, with Coby White (Bulls), Brandon Clarke (Grizzlies), Tyler Herro (Heat), Rui Hachimura (Wizards) and P.J. Washington (Hornets) comprising the second tier.
When Williamson returned his ROY odds had dropped all the way to +1800 at DraftKings Sportsbook, but dazzling highlights and steady play on the court moved him right back in the hunt at the end of February.
Zion made up more ground right before the NBA’s hiatus that began in March, but Morant is still looking like a lock to win this thing. A look at the latest NBA Rookie of the Year odds.
NBA Rookie of the Year odds 2020
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. Odds for futures bets are set during the preseason, but change throughout the season based on news and results.
Residents of Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana and West Virginia have access to online sportsbooks, including the platforms created by industry titans DraftKings and FanDuel. William Hill and other online books also offer great opportunities to bet on NBA games and Futures.
In order to bet on MVP, users can click on the NBA tab and find the tab labeled “Futures” and move to “Player Futures.” Regular Season MVP should be one of the categories along with Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and more postseason awards.
Best NBA betting sites
Where you can bet legally
Sports betting is currently legal at a regulated sportsbook in the following states:
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.