2021 NBA Players' Props Betting Picks

Quinn Allen
By , Updated on: Dec 21, 2023 07:00 PM
2021 NBA Players' Props Betting Picks

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:

MVP PickBovadaXbetBookmaker
LeBron James+350+350+350
Kevin Durant+500+500+500
Joel Embiid+550+550+550
Luka Doncic+550+550+550
Nikola Jokic+600+600+600
Giannis Antetokounmpo+700+700+700
Stephen Curry+1000+1000+1000
Damian Lillard+2500+2500+2500
Anthony Davis+4000+4000+4000
James Harden+5000+5000+5000
Kawhi Leonard+5000+5000+5000
Paul George+5500+5500+5500
Jayson Tatum+8000+8000+8000
Trae Young+8000+8000+8000
Devin Booker+10000+10000+10000
Donovan Mitchell+10000+10000+10000
Bradley Beal+15000+15000+15000
Zion Williamson+15000+15000+15000

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.

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

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.

Joel Embiid To win MVP

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:

DPOY PickBovadaMyBookieBetUS
Anthony Davis+200+300+200
Rudy Gobert+300+450+300
Giannis Antetokounmpo+450+800+450
Myles Turner+8001000+800
Ben Simmons1000+12001000
Joel Embiid+1200+1200+1200
Bam Adebayo+1200+2200+2200
Draymond Green+2200+5000+5000
Kawhi Leonard+5000+5000+5000
Marcus Smart+5000+6600+6600
Jarrett Allen+6600+8000+8000
Brook Lopez+8000+8000+8000
Jrue Holiday+8000+8000+8000
Mitchell Robinson+8000+10000+10000
Andre Drummond+10000+10000+10000
Kyle Lowry+10000+10000+10000
Pascal Siakam+10000+12500+12500
Jimmy Butler+12500+12500+12500

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)

Myles Turner To win Defensive Player of the Year

NBA Sixth Man of the Year Prediction

Let's take a gander at the latest Sixth Man of the Year odds: 

SMOY PickBovadaBetOnline
Jordan Clarkson+250+250
Terrence Ross+750+750
Caris LeVert+800+800
Goran Dragic+900+900
Montrezl Harrell+1000+1000
Chris Boucher+1400+1400
Lou Williams+1400+1400
Shake Milton+1400+1400
Danilo Gallinari+1800+1800
Bogdan Bogdanovic+2000+2000
Davis Bertans25002500
Derrick Rose+2500+2500
Eric Gordon+3000+3000
Gary Trent Jr.+3300+3300
Alec Burks40004000
Joe Ingles+5000+5000
Norm Powell+5000+5000
Aaron Holiday+6600+6600
Brandon Clarke+6600+6600
JJ Redick+6600+6600

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)

Jordan Clarkson To win Sixth Man of the Year

NBA Most Improved Player Prediction

Here are the top Most Improved Player odds:

MIP PickBovadaBetUS
Christian Wood-125-125
Jerami Grant+320+320
Chris Boucher+2000+2000
Julius Randle+2000+2000
Michael Porter Jr.+2000+2000
Jaylen Brown+2500+2500
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander+3000+3000
Domantas Sabonis+3500+3500
Collin Sexton+4500+4500
Zion Williamson+5500+5500
Ja Morant+6600+6600
Coby White+8000+8000
RJ Barrett+8000+8000
Tyler Herro+8000+8000
Darius Bazley+10000+10000
De’Aaron Fox+10000+10000
Deandre Ayton+10000+10000
Devin Booker+10000+10000
Jamal Murray+10000+10000
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.

Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant

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)

Jerami Grant To win Most Improved Player

NBA Rookie of the Year Prediction

And here are some Rookie of the Year odds for your consideration:

ROY PickBovadaBetDSI
LaMelo Ball-140-140
Tyrese Haliburton+325+325
James Wiseman+600+600
Immanuel Quickley+1200+1200
Cole Anthony+1600+1600
Anthony Edwards+2000+2000
Tyrese Maxey+5500+5500
Obi Toppin+6600+6600
Deni Avdija+8000+8000
Isaac Okoro+8000+8000
Patrick Williams+10000+10000
Saddiq Bey+10000+10000
Desmond Bane+12500+12500
Bol Bol+15000+15000
Devin Vassell+15000+15000
Onyeka Okongwu+15000+15000
Precious Achiuwa+15000+15000
Theo Maledon+15000+15000
Kira Lewis Jr.+20000+20000
Facundo Campazzo+22500+22500
Malachi Flynn+22500+22500

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)

Tyrese Haliburton To win Rookie of the Year

Check out the below list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NBA betting:

Meet the author

Quinn Allen

Quinn Allen leverages his broadcast journalism degree and passion for sports in his betting previews and analysis. Based in Kelowna, Canada, he has emerged as an expert voice with picks featured on OSB, MTS, SBD, and as a ClutchPoints editor. With a lifelong fandom of...

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