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DraftKings Sportsbook NBA Betting: Player Awards Picks and Analysis

The NBA season is still over a month away from returning, but the betting markets for the awards races are starting to come back online as excitement builds for play to return. Below you’ll find a comprehensive breakdown and analysis for each of this year’s player…

The NBA season is still over a month away from returning, but the betting markets for the awards races are starting to come back online as excitement builds for play to return. Below you’ll find a comprehensive breakdown and analysis for each of this year’s player awards.

Basketball fans can get in on the betting action here or by participating in the free to play pool here. You can also download the DK Sportsbook app.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


Most Valuable Player

Betting Splits

Most Bets


  • 1. LeBron James
  • 2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • 3. Luka Doncic
  • 4. Damian Lillard

Most Handle


  • 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • 2. LeBron James
  • 3. Luka Doncic
  • 4. Anthony Davis

Betting Odds

Giannis Antetokounmpo


  • Estimated average odds: +110
  • March Odds: -560
  • Current Odds: -5000

LeBron James


  • Estimated average odds: +900
  • March Odds: +450
  • Current Odds: +1000


Breakdown

The Giannis Antetokounmpo vs LeBron James debate was starting to pick up steam in early March, following the Lakers win over the Bucks on March 6, a game in which Giannis also hurt his knee. The injury merely turned out to be a minor sprain, but it did keep Giannis out of the Bucks’ next two games. A lengthy absence wasn’t out of the question, especially given the Bucks’ dominating position in the standings, but the ensuing suspension of the NBA season figures to change the equation in a significant way. Giannis will be at full strength when the action resumes, negating much of LeBron’s opportunity to catch him in the race for Most Valuable Player. – Matt Meiselman


Julian Edlow: Maybe LeBron James would’ve closed the gap a bit more if the season had continued as expected, but these eight games in Orlando are basically just going to be for the Bucks and Lakers to get into shape and officially lock in the top seed in each conference. There’s not enough LeBron could do in Orlando to surpass Giannis, which is why he sits as the -5000 favorite on DKSB. — Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Greg Ehrenberg: There has been some social media love for LeBron James to win his fifth MVP Award, but it’s a narrative I can’t get behind. The reasoning has to do with him dealing with off-court issues and that his season is impressive for age 35. It has less to do with his actual value on the court. If we are only looking at production, as I am, Giannis has been the more valuable player of the two stars. Antetokounmpo is ahead of James in Win Shares, Win Shares Per 48 minutes, Defensive Rating, Box Plus/Minus, PIPM and Value Over Replacement Player. In addition, the Bucks have the best record in the NBA. — Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo


Rookie of the Year

Betting Splits

Most Bets


  • 1. Zion Williamson
  • 2. Ja Morant

Most Handle


  • 1. Zion Williamson
  • 2. Ja Morant

Betting Odds

Ja Morant


  • Estimated average odds: -200
  • March Odds: -715
  • Current Odds: -10000

Zion Williamson


  • Estimated average odds: +600
  • March Odds: +350
  • Current Odds: +1400


Breakdown

The timing of the suspended NBA season looks to be impacting the Rookie of the Year race in the same way as the MVP race. Zion Williamson was closing in on Ja Morant, both in terms of odds and in terms of playoff chances, with the Pelicans making the playoffs looking like his best way to make a case for ROY. The reshuffled schedule hurts the Pelicans’ playoff hopes, as they’ll have fewer games to make up the difference, and in turn makes it a tougher task for Zion to prove he’s this year’s best rookie. – Matt Meiselman


Julian Edlow: This is a similar situation to MVP in some ways. Zion Williamson burst onto the scene, making up ground pretty quickly on Morant. Even if the full season played out, it would’ve been tough for Zion to catch Morant, who’s had a really complete and consistent season. With just the eight games remaining, Morant’s already done enough to secure the award. — Pick: Ja Morant

Greg Ehrenberg: The sticking point here is games played. Due to Zion Williamson undergoing knee surgery just before the start of the season, he’s only played in 19 games compared to 59 for Morant. If the Pelicans were to sneak into the playoffs, maybe there would be enough of a narrative for me to lean toward Williamson to win the award, although it looks like the Grizzlies have a leg up to take the final playoff spot in the West. We also have a precedent here since Malcolm Brogdon won Rookie of the Year over Joel Embiid when there was a games played disparity between the two a few years ago. — Pick: Ja Morant


Most Improved Player

Betting Splits

Most Bets


  • 1. Brandon Ingram
  • 2. Bam Adebayo
  • 3. Luka Doncic

Most Handle


  • 1. Bam Adebayom
  • 2. Brandon Ingram
  • 3. Luka Doncic

Betting Odds

Brandon Ingram


  • Estimated average odds: +1000
  • March Odds: +175
  • Current Odds: TBD

Bam Adebayom


  • Estimated average odds: +1100
  • March Odds: +300
  • Current Odds: TBD

Luka Doncic


  • Estimated average odds: +300
  • March Odds: +600
  • Current Odds: TBD

Markelle Fultz


  • Estimated average odds: +6000
  • March Odds: N/A
  • Current Odds: TBD


Breakdown

The Most Improved Player award has the potential for the most debate, since it seems to be the most ripe for disagreement about what the award actually means. Is rising from obscurity to All-Star level the most impressive feat, or is it more substantial to improve from good to great or from great to elite? Bam Adebayo, Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum and Luka Doncic were all making good cases for the award when the NBA season paused, and it’ll be interesting to see how the layoff impacts their odds. – Matt Meiselman


Julian Edlow: This is by far the most competitive of the awards, and probably the most competitive field for this award of all-time. Doncic took the step to the superstar level and barely edges out the other candidates. Honorable mentions to every deserving player — Bam Adebayo, Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum, SGA, Christian Wood and Devonte’ Graham … and more will receive votes. — Pick: Luka Doncic

Greg Ehrenberg: This is another award with a handful of deserving candidates. I am going a bit off the board by choosing Fultz over the likes of Bam Adebayo, Luka Doncic, Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum, but it’s a position I feel I can defend. A year ago, Fultz looked like he was on the verge of falling out of the league. Between an injured shoulder and a broken jump shot, Fultz had played in 33 games through two seasons after being the top pick in the 2017 Draft. He was written off and a common butt of jokes on social media. Now we get to this season and Fultz is the starting point guard for a playoff-bound team. He’s established himself as an asset in this league and, considering where he was a year ago, I don’t think any other player can claim to have taken a bigger leap in value and public perception. — Pick: Markelle Fultz


Defensive Player of the Year

Betting Splits

Most Bets


  • 1. Ben Simmons
  • 2. Marcus Smart
  • 3. Anthony Davis
  • 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Most Handle


  • 1. Ben Simmons
  • 2. Anthony Davis
  • 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • 4. Marcus Smart

Betting Odds

Anthony Davis


  • Estimated average odds: +150
  • March Odds: -152
  • Current Odds: TBD

Giannis Antetokounmpo


  • Estimated average odds: +500
  • March Odds: +275
  • Current Odds: TBD

Rudy Gobert


  • Estimated average odds: +300
  • March Odds: +350
  • Current Odds: TBD

Ben Simmons


  • Estimated average odds: +3000
  • March Odds: +10000
  • Current Odds: TBD


Breakdown

Defensive Player of the Year looked like a three-horse race back in March between Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert. The Jazz have struggled defensively this season, however, so the two-time reigning champ in Gobert was already faced with an uphill climb and now he’ll have fewer games on the schedule to make it happen. Davis had moved ahead of Giannis as the favorite in part because of Giannis’ aforementioned knee injury, but it’s likely Giannis has recovered some ground with the extra time to rest up. – Matt Meiselman


Julian Edlow: I don’t care if you want to give this award to Giannis or Davis, but with Giannis winning MVP, it feels like the Lakers will get rewarded for their season in some fashion. AD has taken the Lakers and molded them into an elite defense, and even though some of that is LeBron, it took adding Davis to get the team’s defense to this elite level. — Pick: Anthony Davis

Greg Ehrenberg: By most advanced defensive metrics, this is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s award to win. Without a doubt, he has a tremendous impact on defense and the Bucks are first in the league in defensive efficiency. The reason I am going with Davis is because of the change he has brought to the Lakers. A year ago, this team missed the playoffs while playing lackluster defense down the stretch of the season. This season, the Lakers have the best defensive efficiency in the Western Conference and I attribute that mostly to the rim protection that AD has brought to his new team. — Pick: Anthony Davis


6th Man of the Year

Betting Splits

Most Bets


  • 1. Derrick Rose
  • 2. Lou Williams
  • 3. Dennis Schroder
  • 4. Montrezl Harrell

Most Handle


  • 1. Lou Williams
  • 2. Dennis Schroder
  • 3. Derrick Rose
  • 4. Montrezl Harrell

Betting Odds

Dennis Schroder


  • Estimated average odds: +300
  • March Odds: +130
  • Current Odds: TBD

Lou Williams


  • Estimated average odds: +110
  • March Odds: +175
  • Current Odds: TBD

Montrezl Harrell


  • Estimated average odds: +180
  • March Odds: +200
  • Current Odds: TBD

Derrick Rose


  • Estimated average odds: +1200
  • March Odds: +1000
  • Current Odds: TBD


Breakdown

Lou Williams was the favorite for most of the season, but his production started to fall off in February and into March, paving the way for Dennis Schroder to take over as the favorite. This race is clearly still up for grabs, however, and Montrezl Harrell is still in it as well. The most bet on player amongst DraftKings Sportsbook bettors for the award this year is actually Derrick Rose, but he’s remained a distant fourth option for most of the season. – Matt Meiselman


Julian Edlow: This is another competitive award. I think most people are going to look at the Clippers as the better team, and assume it goes to one of their two candidates. But I think Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell could take some votes away from each other. Meanwhile, OKC has been one of the biggest surprises in the league, and Schroder’s been playing at just as high a level as his competition. — Pick: Dennis Schroder

Greg Ehrenberg:This is such a tough award to call. Between Williams, Dennis Schroder, Derrick Rose and Montrezl Harrell, I can’t argue against any of them winning. Splitting hairs, I think Williams has played the most significant role of the potential winners. When the Clippers built a superteam with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, it looked like Williams would play a lesser role this season. Instead, injuries and rest games for the two stars has meant Williams has had to carry a 28.3% usage rating. He’s still managed to be decently efficient, putting up a 54.6 True Shooting % while scoring 22.9 points per game. — Pick: Lou Williams


All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.


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