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Betting Odds for the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Award With A Look at the Top Contenders

| November 26, 2020 6:19 am PDT
NBA Rookie of the Year Early Odds and Contenders

The NBA Draft 2020 is now done and we know where the most talented young players have landed. The leading basketball betting sites have reacted by releasing their early odds for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award for the 2020-21 season.

I explore the prices and share my thoughts on the likely winners of the prize based on what we know about each player and the environment around them.

Rookie of the Year 2020-21 Odds

LaMelo Ball +450
Anthony Edwards +450
James Wiseman +600
Obi Toppin +600
Killian Hayes +700
Tyrese Haliburton +1500
Deni Avdija +1500
Onyeka Okongwu +2000
Isaac Okoro +2000
Patrick Williams +3300

These are the top 10 Rookie of the Year 2021 favorites of the leading NBA betting sites and the winner is likely among them.

Of course, plenty of other players will enter the league. A surprising candidate could still emerge. If you feel another guy could challenge for the prestigious awards, you can find odds for some of the underdogs at most online sportsbooks.

With that in mind, let’s move on to the guys that have the most realistic chance of winning the prize.

LaMelo Ball

Many thought that LaMelo Ball could be the top pick in the 2020 draft, but he was selected third. I believe this improves his chances to become the Rookie of the Year because of the overall environment in Charlotte.

The Hornets are building for the future and Ball is seen as a franchise player down the line. No one expects him to deliver wins and a playoff appearance right away, the goal would be to improve in his debut season.

The best way for young players to grow is to give them minutes and I believe that LaMelo will be one of the rookies who will spend the most time on the floor if he’s fit.

The Hornets will just give him the keys to the franchise and build the offense around him. The most logical outcome would be a season with flashy stats on questionable efficiency.

Ball will certainly get plenty of his assists because of his excellent passing skills and I won’t be shocked if the boy scores 17-18 points per game. That won’t lead to a good record for the Hornets, but it will give the fans some hope for the future.

As a member of the Ball family, the hype around him is guaranteed, so the media popularity required to win such an award will be there too.

LaMelo is the betting sites’ top favorite for the ROTY 2020-21 and I certainly agree with such an assessment. The price for him is still relatively high, so backing the guard looks like a good idea.

Anthony Edwards

Many believe that Anthony Edwards is ready for the NBA because of his insane athleticism and ability to make tough shots. There is one big problem, though – the wing has been inconsistent and his commitment to the sport of basketball is questionable.

That’s never a good sign and you need a certain level of love for the sport to succeed in the NBA. On top of that, Edwards is likely going to be reduced to a bench player and certainly won’t get the same chance to shine as some of the other NBA Rookie of the Year contenders.

Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell will have most of the ball, so don’t expect the new boy to be a major part of the offense in his first year.

That’s why I don’t expect much from Edwards and I don’t think that betting on him represents good value at the price of +450.

James Wiseman

It was no surprise that the Golden State Warriors selected James Wiseman with the second pick of the 2020 NBA Draft based on his potential and his case for the Rookie of the Year award next season is curious.

The Dubs players welcomed the big man almost immediately and the unfortunate injury of Klay Thompson might lead to a bigger role in the upcoming season than we initially thought.

The Warriors don’t have many reliable players in the frontcourt either, so Wiseman is likely to receive plenty of minutes and that should help him shine.

The problem is that big men simply don’t win the award recently. Let’s take a look at the last 10 guys who became the Rookie of the Year.

Year Player Position
2019 Ja Morant Guard
2018 Luka Doncic Guard
2017 Ben Simmons Guard
2016 Malcolm Brogdon Guard
2015 Karl-Anthony Towns Center
2014 Andrew Wiggins Forward
2013 Michael-Carter Williams Guard
2012 Kyrie Irving Guard
2011 Blake Griffin Forward
2010 Tyreke Evans Guard

There is only one center on the list and only two big men overall, not to mention that the last four winners are all guards. That’s a clear sign of where the NBA is going and centers are no longer that valuable to the league.

Guys that can orchestrate your offense are more important and that’s why Wiseman is at disadvantage. On top of that, he is certainly a raw prospect who needs a lot of work.

The center has excellent physical attributes in terms of his height, frame, and wingspan, but he certainly needs to add muscle. I suspect that many opponents would be able to bully him under the rim and that’s going to be a problem.

I don’t think that backing Wiseman is a good idea for a price around +600. He might be an excellent player down the line, but he needs time.

Obi Toppin

The NBA Rookie of the Year Award 2021 odds for Obi Toppin are similar to what you can get for Wiseman and that’s certainly a better wager. The power forward dominated the NCAA Division 1 last year and won pretty much every award possible.

Toppin was the consensus best player in college basketball and he was selected by the New York Knicks in the draft. The reasons he fell down to 8th are his age and ceiling.

The rookie will be 23 soon and many believe that he doesn’t have the attributes to become a franchise player, unlike the previous athletes I highlighted.

And yet, Toppin is likely the most finished player right now. He is a walking highlight reel that can score a ton of points for the struggling Knicks from day one. The forward is a prolific scorer who will entertain the neutrals and that’s always important when it comes to the Rookie of the Year Award.

The biggest problem with Toppin is that he’s part of a team that has a ton of power forwards. The Knicks have Julius Randle as the starter in this position and several other guys that are waiting for a chance.

I expect that Randle will be traded soon and Toppin should be given his role, forming a formidable young duo with R. J. Barrett. That would put Toppin in an excellent position to fight for the ROTY 2020-21, but don’t forget we’re talking about the Knicks here.

There’s a chance that the organization starts the season with a bunch of power forwards and that could be a problem. And yet, when the price is around +600, that might be worth a shot.

Other Candidates

You never know who’s going to explore and many of the rookies have the potential to succeed. Isaac Okoro could shine for the Cavs and the same can be said about Killian Hayes who will start his NBA career with the Pistons.

Patrick Williams could be as good as the Bulls think and the likes of Deni Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu, Jalen Smith, Devin Vassell, and Tyrese Haliburton all have the potential to challenge for the award.

And yet, I believe that LaMelo Ball and Obi Toppin currently are the leading candidates to become the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2021.

Do you agree with my top favorites for the award or do you have a different opinion? Make sure to share your comments below and keep following our NBA blog for more similar posts on the league.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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