Check out our NBA prop picks for the top awards of the 2020-21 season.
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Sports bettors are always so concerned with macro NBA futures. They're focused on investing in win totals, or in who's going to win the NBA Finals. So much less time is spent wagering on NBA prop picks.
Let's change that.
Our focus will be with NBA players' prop picks—or more specifically, the year-end awards races. Not every individual honor is bettable at sportsbooks. They tend to only drop NBA odds on the main ones: MVP, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year, and Rookie of the Year.
To get us started, let's take a look at NBA MVP odds as of the beginning of February, courtesy of Bovada:
As always, remember to confirm these NBA betting lines before deciding on any wagers. The odds on these awards are fluid, and sportsbooks will often pull them from their ledger for days at a time, before reposting them.
2021 NBA Prop Picks
Everyone's favorite NBA award is league MVP. So we'll start there.
NBA MVP Prediction
This year's NBA MVP race is mind-melting. At this moment, no fewer than nine players have a genuine argument to finish in the first place.
Looking at MVP winners throughout history, we are able to narrow it down a bit. The victors usually don't come from teams that finish lower than third in their conference. That leaves us with a field of main options that include LeBron James (+350), Kevin Durant (+500), Joel Embiid (+550), Nikola Jokikc (+600), and Kawhi Leonard (+5000).
As you can see, this is still a lot. Long-shot bettors will gravitate towards Leonard. We don't blame them. His Los Angeles Clippers have a chance to finish with the best record in the league, and a 50-to-1 payout is incredibly tantalizing. We all know LeBron is a threat to win MVP, too.
And yet, we find ourselves drawn to Embiid. His injury history renders this a risk, but he's been historically dominant at both ends of the floor this season. No other serious candidate can say the same.
OSB Prediction: Joel Embiid (+550)
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Prediction
Here are the most up to date Defensive Player of the Year odds we could find:
Four players stand out more than everyone else for us: Anthony Davis (+200), Rudy Gobert (+300), Myles Turner (+800) and Joel Embiid (+1200).
Davis' defensive value is tough to quantify. He doesn't have the same counting stats as others, but he anchors what is the league's best defense for the Los Angeles Lakers. Gobert remains a transcendent presence around the rim. Turner is doing everything for the Indiana Pacers. Embiid warps the very fabric of opposing offenses.
If we're being honest, Embiid is our pick when talking about who deserves the award. But this is a prediction. And NBA voters rarely hand out DPOY and MVP to the same person. Keep an eye on Turner as a result.
OSB Prediction: Myles Turner (+800)
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Prediction
Let's take a gander at the latest Sixth Man of the Year odds:
|Gary Trent Jr.||+3300||+3300|
This year's Sixth Man of the Year race is difficult to pin down. Not only does it feel as if the award won't go to a volume scorer like usual, but some of the candidates may wind up starting too many games to qualify.
Longer-shot bettors should consider Chris Boucher (+1400) of the Toronto Raptors or Shake Milton (+1400) of the Philadelphia 76ers. They're both in the midst of career years that include gaudy counting stats.
In terms of raw impact, though, we have to go with Jordan Clarkson (+250). He's shooting a career-high from both beyond the arc and from two-point range, and he remains the engine that makes the Utah Jazz's bench go.
OSB Prediction: Jordan Clarkson (+250)
NBA Most Improved Player Prediction
Here are the top Most Improved Player odds:
|Michael Porter Jr.||+2000||+2000|
|Jaren Jackson Jr.||+10000||+10000|
Christian Wood (-125) is the heavy favorite for a reason. Voters tend to gravitate to players under the age of 26 who are having All-Star-caliber seasons.
But this year could be different. Wood flashed his current level of brilliance for a huge chunk of last season. Jerami Grant's candidacy (+320) checks more of the usual boxes. He's gone from a three-and-D specialist with the Denver Nuggets to the driving force behind both the Detroit Pistons' offense and defense.
Bargain-bin shoppers are free to consider Jaylen Brown (+2500) or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+3000). They're both already household names, which works against them, but they each could very easily earn a ton of votes and sneak in a victory if their main competition falls off.
OSB Prediction: Jerami Grant (+320)
NBA Rookie of the Year Prediction
And here are some Rookie of the Year odds for your consideration:
|Kira Lewis Jr.||+20000||+20000|
Though more than 20 players are laying lines for Rookie of the Year, you would be wise to zero in on two: LaMelo Ball (-140) and Tyrese Haliburton (+325).
LaMelo is going to be the more popular pick, mostly because he will likely finish the season with more influence over the Charlotte Hornets offense. But Haliburton is giving him a real run for his money. He has already established himself as one of the most well-rounded players in the league—a terrific shooter, solid finisher, stout playmaker, and disruptive defender.
If fans voted on this award, we'd roll with LaMelo. But they don't. So we won't.
OSB Pick: Tyrese Haliburton (+325)
Check out the below list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NBA betting: