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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Evan Mobley Rising Among Top 5 Candidates

After the first three weeks of the 2021 NBA season, NBA expert Ryan Kirksey breaks down the latest NBA Rookie of the Year odds and rankings. He updates us on the latest here.
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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Evan Mobley Rising Among Top 5 Candidates

Rookie of the Year odds in the NBA are perhaps the most fluid of all the major awards. Compared to something like MVP odds, there is much less certainty. Nevertheless, oddsmakers have a general sense of MVP favorites even before the season begins – “hey, guess what! Steph Curry and Giannis Antetokuonmpo are still great!”

But rookie playing time, performances, adaptability, and endurance is something that’s much harder to predict. That is why you will sometimes see massive line movement in the favorites for the award. Such is the case in the last two weeks since the last time we looked Rookie of the Year favorites.

Let’s take a look at the top five rookies, what has shifted, and where the value lies as we enter the fourth week of the season.

Click Here For NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

NBA Rookie of the Year Award Rankings

5. Chris Duarte (+1600, Previous: +1100)

Duarte’s fall from +1100 to +1600 is not so much about any part of his performance but rather the performance of others ahead of him. Others higher on this list have seen their contributions to their team expand or improve, while Duarte will remain behind other Pacers offensive weapons like Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon.

The return of Caris Lavert also does not help Duarte’s case as they will eat into each other’s minutes somewhat. It has been two weeks since Duarte topped 18 points, and three of his last six games have been under 29 minutes. Add it all up, and there is not much value here, even at +1600.

4. Jalen Green (+500, Previous: +250)

Proof of how quickly these things can change. Green led this list two weeks ago but has fallen into a tie for third mainly due to very choppy and inconsistent performances in the last two weeks. Some nights he will shoot 60% from the field and score 24 points as he did against the Lakers. Other nights he will shoot 33% from the floor and score nine points as he did against Golden State.

Averages of 14.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists are certainly solid numbers for a rookie, but Green is not standing out beside the occasional highlight. Green is very likely to lead this class in minutes, so a turnaround is certainly possible. If he can find a consistent shooting touch, he can jump right back to the head of the class. I’m still buying in here with odds much better than two weeks ago.

3. Cade Cunningham (+500, Previous: +450)

One Rookie who does seem to be consistently improving is Cunningham. Since his return from injury, his minutes have increased from 19 to 30+ in three straight games. He has also improved his scoring in every game so far this year, culminating in a game where he scored 20 against Houston and shot above 40% for the first time in his career.

The number one overall pick has a way still to go to be consistently productive. Still, the Pistons will give him every chance they can for him to be the centerpiece, particularly with Killian Hayes’ shooting percentage still struggling in year two. This is a player on the ascent.

2. Scottie Barnes (+375, Previous: +725)

Along with the next player on this list, Barnes is one of the rookies who have carved out the most significant role for himself and become a reliable producer for his team. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Raptors are bringing along Pascal Siakam very slowly in his return from injury. Khem Birch and Precious Achiuwa are also frequently absent from play, so Barnes is the most productive frontcourt player just by default.

But his game speaks volumes about how prepared he already is for NBA play. He continues to shoot well (52.7% from the floor, 76% from the free-throw line) and has put up double-digit points in all but one game this year. On the defensive end, he has only one game below seven rebounds this year. In my last piece, I mentioned how Siakam’s return might be detrimental to Barnes’ ROY chances. Now it doesn’t seem too crazy that they can co-exist, giving Barnes a great shot at bringing home the hardware.

1. Evan Mobley (+375, Previous: +750)

All Mobley needed was for Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen to miss a couple of weeks with COVID to catapult himself to the top of this list. He certainly has earned his place with 15.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, proving to be the perfect complement to Jarrett Allen and a force to be reckoned with while the Cavaliers are without Love, Markkanen, and Collin Sexton.

Mobley has scored at least 18 points in three straight games, has at least seven rebounds in four of five games, shot at least 47% from the floor his past five games, and has at least one block in every game in that stretch. Most importantly, he has played less than 36 minutes just twice in his last eight games. So the Cavs have no problems just throwing him out there for some on-the-job training. And it will likely lead to him taking home Rookie of the Year honors.


Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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