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Best bets for NBA Most Improved Player heading into second half of season

We take a look at the lines for Most Improved Player and give a few picks for the second half.

Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks celebrates after drawing the foul late in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on February 27, 2021 in New York City. A limited number of fans are in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With the NBA All-star break officially in the books, the award races for MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Most Improved Player will start to heat up once again. While the MVP and Rookie of the Year races seem to have a convincing front runner, the race for Most Improved is wide open.

To begin the season, it appeared as if Jerami Grant and Christian Wood were the leading top two candidates to win the award. But Julius Randle has entered the fray as a serious contender, along with a few others players making strong cases too. Here, we’ll take a look at our favorite picks to win MIP award. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Favorite to win — Julius Randle (+500)

As things currently sit, Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant has the best odds to win the award at -250. Grant is having a career-year in first season with Detroit, averaging 23.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.9 rebounds per game. But the Pistons are one of the worst teams in the NBA. And the same logic could be use Christian Wood with the Rockets. A good player, who is putting up outstanding numbers on a bad team.

Therefore, the favorite to win it is Julius Randle. The former first-round pick has been playing stellar basketball under Tom Thibodeau and one of the main reasons why the New York Knicks are in the running for a playoff spot in the East. Randle, who also named an all-star, is averaging 23.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Randle is currently tied for the second-best odds to win the MIP award (+500). At those odds (5/1), it is a good time to get on this, especially if the Knicks play well in the second half.

Long shot to win — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+3300)

The Oklahoma City Thunder were suppose to not be a good team this season, especially after they parted ways with head coach Billy Donovan and traded away Chris Paul. But Oklahoma City is shockingly sitting in 11th place in the western conference and only needs to be the 10th seed to compete in the play-in tournament for the playoffs. For them to make that leap and have a chance, it will fall on the shoulders of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The young point has played well as the team’s primary ballhandler and best offensive player this season. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a career-high 23.2 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. He’s also shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three-point range, which is not too shabby.

Currently, SGA’s odds to win the MIP award is at +3300, which is fourth behind the likes of Jaylen Brown, Wood, Randle, and Grant.

Most Improved Player Odds

Jerami Grant -250
Julius Randle +500
Christian Wood +600
Jaylen Brown +1000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +3300
Chris Boucher +3300
Zach LaVine +3300
Collin Sexton +5000
Jarrett Allen +10000
OG Anunoby +10000
Mikal Bridges +10000
De’Aaron Fox +10000
Zion Williamson +10000

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