We’re on the final leg of the 2019-20 NBA regular season and while certain award races like MVP and Rookie of the Year seem to be locked up, there’s still time for bettors to capitalize on the remaining NBA player awards.
These include NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, and only one of those awards has an odds-on favorite with Anthony Davis at -150 to win DPOY.
Online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag has got the goods and released updated betting odds for every award to be given out for the NBA’s annual ceremony on Monday, June 22, prior to the NBA draft on Thursday, June 25.
Defensive Player of the Year
Los Angeles Lakers forward/center Anthony Davis sits comfortably as the -150 fave to win Defensive Player of the Year after opening the season at +800. Davis has been a beast down low for the Lakers this season and while his rebound numbers are down (9.4 boards per game), he makes that up in blocks and steals and is the only player to average over four steals and blocks combined.
Then when you look at the defensive metrics year over year for the Lakers, it’s pretty simple to see his impact as Los Angeles ranks seventh in points allowed per game this season (107.1) compared to 21st last season (113.5).
At this point, if Davis continues this level of play, it’s his award to lose but don’t sleep on the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, who opened as the preseason favorite for this award. Gobert still ranks third in rebounds per game and seventh in total blocks so at +450, he might be worth a sprinkle if the Jazz can get back on track and finish the season strong.
NBA Most Improved Player
If you were one of the bettors who invested in New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram to win Most Improved Player instead of taking preseason fave Jayson Tatum (+1000), congratulations because he looks like a solid betting option with 22 games left to play. The former Laker, who was the central piece in the Anthony Davis trade, has picked up his scoring at 24.6 points per game, which ranks 14th in the NBA.
The new surroundings in New Orleans have been a blessing for Ingram as he made his first all-star team this year and has the Pelicans in a good spot to make a playoff push and get the 8 seed in the Western Conference. Outside of Ingram, the next option on the list is another first-time all-star in Bam Adebayo, who had preseason odds of +2000 to win the award.
Adebayo has been the driving defensive force with the Miami Heat and much like last year’s winner Pascal Siakam, he seems to be only getting better as the season goes along. If you’re a betting option for both Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player, you’re doing something right and Adebayo will likely be a fixture in awards races for years to come.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year
What could eventually be renamed “The Lou Williams Award,” the Sixth Man of the Year race seems to be narrowed down to three players and you’re not gonna believe this: Lou Williams is nominated to win it again at +200.
That being said, Williams is not the favorite to take home the hardware, with point guard Dennis Schroder of the Oklahoma City Thunder holding that distinction at +125. Schroder may not be averaging a career high in points this year (18.8) but he hasn’t had to with the squad already having Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the starting backcourt. Instead, the German guard is content with being in a closer spot for OKC and it’s paid dividends with the Thunder in a prime spot to make the playoffs in the West.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I just dismissed Lou Williams and Clippers running mate Montrezl Harrell as legit candidates because they both average more points per game than Schroder and play fewer minutes for a team that is higher in the standings than the Thunder. There’s likely not a bad pick among the three.
NBA Coach of the Year
After losing Kawhi Leonard to free agency, not much was expected of the Toronto Raptors as many experts predicted a regression, with some having the Raps to barely make the playoffs. Well, it turns out head coach Nick Nurse didn’t get the memo as the Raptors have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 42-18 SU in 60 games, which is also the third-best record in the NBA.
Nurse has been excellent this season retooling the Raptors’ defensive scheme and Toronto is first in the NBA in points allowed per game and has been able to weather the storm of injuries to key players like center Marc Gasol and guard Norman Powell. His odds at +150 are ripe for the picking because when it comes time to vote for these candidates, no team had to deal with the loss of an MVP candidate like Leonard while remaining competitive.
The value may be all but gone after Nurse’s preseason odds were +5000 but the only other candidates I would consider are either Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer (+200) or OKC Thunder head coach Billy Donovan (+1800) mainly due to the narrative. The Bucks are the most dominant team in the NBA and voters tend to want to reward success, while in OKC, they were pretty much left for dead after the Russell Westbrook and Paul George trades and the fact that they even have a winning record is reason to reward.
How to Read NBA Awards Odds
When you go to any sportsbook, you’ll see prop odds for the various NBA awards listed like so:
Sixth Man of the Year
Lou Williams +150
Spencer Dinwiddie +300
Terrence Ross +500
Generally, favorites are represented by the minus sign (-), whereas underdogs are shown by the plus sign (+). In this case, the player with the lowest odds is the front-runner, the rest are dogs.
If you were to bet $100 on Williams, you’d get a payout of $250 – you get your $100 back along with your winnings of $150. That same $100 on Ross would give you $600 – your original money is returned coupled with your prize of $500. Bets on underdogs are riskier, which is why they come with greater rewards.
To find out what you’d win based on your bet amount and the odds offered at the betting site, check out our Odds Calculator.
What is an NBA Prop Bet?
This is a wager on the occurrence or non-occurrence of specific player or team milestones that may not directly relate to the outcome of a certain game. The prop bet here is on odds to win different NBA awards. These are set by oddsmakers early but you’ll notice that the lines move as the season progresses. A coach could be a lock for Coach of the Year in December only to see his odds shift as his team underperforms in February. We suggest jumping on odds you like when you see them to get the most value out of your bets.