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Who is getting the most love for NBA Rookie of the Year so far?

We take a look at some preseason betting splits for 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year from DraftKings Sportsbook.

New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin celebrates with teammates after a play during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 NBA season starts in less than a week and we’re almost done with the very brief preseason schedule. Normally, this isn’t a time to overreact to anything. With that said, we don’t get a full training camp/preseason schedule to get a good glimpse at the incoming NBA Rookie Class. So instead we’ve got to try and get an edge where we can. As a result, we’re seeing very sharp money going on a few rookies with the latest betting splits provided by DraftKings Sportsbook. We’re going to take a look at said splits and give some early analysis.

Let’s start at the top with the two favorites: Charlotte Hornets G LaMelo Ball and New York Knicks F Obi Toppin. We’ve seen both in two games so far and both players have lived up to their hype. Ball is going to be a walking highlight reel, so that will definitely help his case from an exposure standpoint. Toppin has similar highlight upside and seems to be in line for a decent-sized role off the bench. Ball also appears poised to come off the bench. While both players no doubt have the talent to take home the award, with that being said, there may be rookies who will have larger roles.

One of the those rookies is James Wiseman of the Golden State Warriors. He’s yet to play in the preseason, but could have the inside track to starting at center at some point this season. The way he’s looked in practice would suggest he won’t be held back by the way the Dubs like the run the break. Wiseman, Ball and Toppin make up some of the favorites who are getting a high percentage of bets.

If we look at some long-shots, Bol Bol of the Denver Nuggets is getting a lot of love despite seemingly having a small role for the team. He barely played in the first preseason game. I don’t know if that’s because of a nagging injury or just how Mike Malone was handling rotations that night. Bol played a decent amount in the seeding round in the NBA bubble, but those games were less than important. I understand the hype and his odds are favorable, but I just don’t see the minutes being there.

Tyrese Maxey and Cole Anthony have gotten some hype in the preseason. Anthony should be the primary backup PG to Markelle Fultz, which puts him in good position to produce. Maxey should be one of two guards off the bench for the Sixers. Kentucky products usually translate well to the NBA, so Maxey could become this year’s Tyler Herro.

If there’s one name I’m a bit surprised isn’t on here it’s Cleveland Cavaliers SF Isaac Okoro. He’s looked very good in the preseason contests and could end up starting at wing for the Cavs. Okoro will have a chance to play big minutes and produce. At +2000, at this point in time, he’d be one of my favorite long-shot bets for ROTY.

Preseason NBA Rookie of the Year splits

Player Odds % Handle % Bets
Player Odds % Handle % Bets
LaMelo Ball +400 28% 16%
Obi Toppin +600 20% 14%
James Wiseman +600 8% 6%
Bol Bol +2500 7% 9%
Cole Anthony +3000 6% 8%
Tyrese Maxey +4000 6% 9%
Patrick Williams +2200 5% 8%
Killian Hayes +600 3% 5%
Tyrese Haliburton +1500 3% 5%
Malachi Flynn +6000 2% 2%

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