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As NBA Season Begins, Bettors Focus on End-of-Season Awards

Written by:
Tony Caliente
Published on:
Dec/23/2020

After last season’s successful conclusion inside the Orlando bubble, optimism reigns supreme as the 2020-21 NBA season tipped off this week. Perhaps that spirit is helped by the fact that only one week of the season will be played in the year 2020, which we are all ready to be done with. 

The Lakers are the favorite to repeat, followed by the Clippers and Nuggets in the West, and the Bucks, Nets, and Celtics in the East. But which individuals are expected to take home hardware when the season finally ends in July?

And more importantly, which players are worth your wager here in December? 

MVP Award 

  • Luka Doncic (+325) 

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (+425) 

  • LeBron James (+750) 

  • Anthony Davis (+750) 

  • Stephen Curry (+800) 

  • Kevin Durant (+900) 

  • James Harden (+1600) 

  • Nikola Jokic (+2200) 

  • Damian Lillard (+2200) 

  • Jayson Tatum (+2200)

A breakout star last season, it won’t really take much more of a leap for Luka Doncic to add an MVP Award to his resume. The only real question: Can the Mavericks win enough games to keep him as the online betting frontrunner?

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a strong bet to win his third straight MVP. The two stars for the Lakers are next, followed by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant - both coming off injuries. 

And while there is a nice payoff with Nikola Jokic and Damian Lillard, anything short of the Nuggets or Blazers winning the Western Conference will probably not get it done. 

Rookie of the Year 

  • LaMelo Ball (+325) 

  • James Wiseman (+375) 

  • Anthony Edwards (+600) 

  • Obi Toppin (+600) 

  • Killian Hayes (+800) 

  • Tyrese Haliburton (+1100)

In what is largely considered to be a weak NBA draft class, there are far fewer players worth placing a sportsbook bet on. LaMelo Ball, the third overall pick, is expected to have a big role this season in Charlotte. 

Center James Wiseman was in the starting lineup for the Warriors on opening night and is already getting high praise from teammate Stephen Curry.

No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards has loads of talent, but will he get lost being up in Minnesota? And don’t sleep on Killian Hayes, who will be the starting point guard in Detroit. 

Most Improved Player 

  • Jamal Murray (+1200) 

  • Michael Porter, Jr. (+1400) 

  • Coby White (+1400) 

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+1400) 

  • Jaren Jackson, Jr. (+1600) 

  • Deandre Ayton (+1600)

Two of the reasons the Nuggets are getting low-key NBA Championship vibes is the expected leap forward for both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr. Both were terrific in the bubble at the end of last year. 

The big question in Phoenix is just how much better can Deandre Ayton get now that he’s teammates with Chris Paul. 

NBA Scoring Champion 

  • James Harden (+130) 

  • Damian Lillard (+600) 

  • Luka Doncic (+600) 

  • Stephen Curry (+900)

Barring something unforeseen, this is James Harden’s to win. He has won the scoring title each of the last three seasons. 

Doncic does everything well on the court, including scoring. But he passes the ball far more often than Harden does, and that will ultimately keep his numbers down.

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