Top Favorites & Top Bets For NBA Season Awards – NBC4 Washington

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Leader in the Clubhouse: Early favorites for NBA awards originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

* Throughout the 2021 NFL season, NBC Sports Washington’s Mike DePrisco will follow all NBA Awards races as part of the Leader in the Clubhouse series. Here, he looks at where each award race is at the start of the season.

The NBA is in full swing for a full 82-game regular season for the first time in two years. Over-reaction is inevitable after the first few games, especially when those games feature teams like the Lakers and Bucks losing big to teams they shouldn’t.

But Vegas never overreacts, and we’ll try to follow the same formula throughout the season with updates for every NBA awards run.

Here are the betting favorites for each NBA award, the best bets for each honor, and an analysis for each awards race (all odds provided by partner NBC Sports, PointsBet United States). For our NFL fans, we’ve got you covered at the start of each week here.

Most Valuable Player

The betting favorite: Giannis Antetokounmpo (+450)

Best bet: Giannis Antetokounmpo (+450)

Keep an eye on: Stephen Curry (+500), Kevin Durant (+600)

Something clicked for Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2021 playoffs. After winning the MVP title and losing early in the playoffs for two consecutive seasons, the 26-year-old superstar has become a truly unstoppable force en route to his career. first NBA title.

The Bucks started using him more as a screen and roller instead of relying primarily on him as their primary ball handler. This transition to an Anthony Davis-like role helped Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton stand out and make Antetokounmpo nearly impossible to protect. Not to mention that he seems to have improved his shooting mechanics and is more confident in the midrange.

This year the monkey is on the back of the Bucks and with the Brooklyn Nets still considered the title favorites in the East, they have the motivation to play even better than they did towards the end of the season. last.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for two former teammates, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. The West is wide open with the Nuggets and Clippers dealing with injuries to Jamal Murray and Kawhi Leonard respectively, so if the Warriors can make a push to the top of the table, Curry is going to get some serious MVP buzz.

For Durant, Kyrie Irving’s absence will require more of him and James Harden for the Nets to follow Milwaukee. So far, Durant has been brilliant for Brooklyn to start the year, averaging 33 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the opening games of the year.

Defensive player of the year

The betting favorite: Rudy Gobert (+240)

Best bet: Joël Embiid (+900)

Keep an eye on: Bam Adebayo (+1200), Draymond Green (+2000)

Right now Rudy Gobert is the favorite to win his fourth Defensive Player of the Year title, but I love Joel Embiid for winning his first.

Embiid shared the votes with Ben Simmons last year and given Simmons’ current status with the Sixers, Embiid won’t be sharing the votes with anyone this time around. The seven-year veteran is in an interesting position where he will get all the credit for his team’s success and virtually no blame as long as Simmons is out.

The road to victory for the Sixers without Simmons will be on the defensive end, and even without him, they have a good chance of building excellent defense. This is what happens when you have a big, dynamic man protecting the rim and can guard the perimeter.

Rookie of the Year

The betting favorite: Jalen green (+200)

Best bet: Jalen Green (+200), Cade Cunningham (+450)

Keep an eye on: Scottie Barnes (+600), Josh Giddey (+1600)

As good as Cade Cunningham is and will be for the Pistons all year, the stats Jalen Green is going to put together in Houston might be too hard to overcome. Green is already a borderline elite scorer and he’s part of a team that will need all the offense he provides. Expect a ton of 30-point performance from Green, but don’t expect a lot of wins.

Don’t sleep on Barnes either. He’s a starter for a Raptors team that could fight for the playoffs and never stop playing hard. His jump shot will likely dictate the type of counting stats he displays, but Barnes almost always makes a game that makes you shake your head in disbelief.

Sixth man of the year

The betting favorite: Tyler Herro (+400)

Best bet: Jordan Poole (+1000)

Keep an eye on: Montrezl Harrell (+1200)

Herro is expected to take a big step forward this season for the Heat, and given that he’s going to come off the bench almost exclusively, it makes sense that he’s the favorite for this price. However, look for Jordan Poole to overtake him before too long.

Poole is another breakout candidate this season with Golden State and is expected to have plenty of offensive responsibilities as Klay Thompson continues to recover from an Achilles injury. He’s a shooter that fits perfectly alongside Curry and Draymond Green with his ability to space out the floor and create himself from the dribble.

Most Improved Player

The betting favorite: Ja Morant (+550)

Best bet: Ja Morant (+550)

Keep an eye on: Jordan Poole (+1000), OG Anunoby (+1000)

It’s rare that you see players as talented as Ja Morant win the Most Improved Player title, but if he continues to play the way he did in the first week of the season, that particular race is over.

Morant, who was a team’s best playoff player last season, appears to be making the jump to superstar early on, averaging 35 points and eight assists in the first week of the year. He nearly pulverized the Lakers on his own on Sunday, but LA was able to escape with a win thanks to Carmelo Anthony.

Poole deserves to be watched for the same reasons he’s a good bet for Sixth Man of the Year, although he’ll have to really explode to keep up with Morant. Anunoby is in a similar place where he has a chance to jump into the All-Star conversation, but again, Morant has been overwhelming so far.

Coach of the Year

The betting favorite: Billy Donovan (+800)

Best bet: Billy Donovan (+800)

Keep an eye on: Tyronn Lue (+2000)

There’s no clear choice for Coach of the Year just yet, as there have been a ton of coaching changes in the league after the end of last season. So for now, if the new-look Bulls are really revitalized under Billy Donovan, he’s going to have the best case on the hardware side.

However, keep an eye out for Tyronn Lue. Kawhi Leonard is out for the foreseeable future and the Clippers are playing extremely hard for their head coach. They’re going to win more games than people think and if that happens, Lue deserves most of the credit.


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