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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Cade Cunningham Is Oddsmakers Favorite for First Time This Season

A month in a half into the 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: Cade Cunningham Is Oddsmakers Favorite for First Time This Season

This past week brought some significant movement to the top of the Rookie of the Year award and saw an early-season favorite tumble all the way out of the top five. We have a new favorite, one that many presumed would lead this race all season after he was drafted first overall over the summer.

As we enter the sixth week of the season, let’s look at the top five NBA ROY odds and how we should handicap them based on recent news.

Click Here For NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

NBA Rookie of the Year Award Rankings

5. Josh Giddey (+2500, Previous: Unranked)

Giddey and his uncanny playmaking skills leapfrogged Chris Duarte over the past 10 days, as Duarte tumbles all the way down to +5000. After the first two weeks of the season, Duarte was an early favorite for the award, but Malcolm Brogdon and Caris Levert are now healthy, which doesn’t leave much usage available for Duarte.

Despite playing next to one of the highest usage players in the league in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey is excelling all over the court. SGA sits at 26.4% usage, but Giddey has now crossed 20% on his own and leads the Thunder in assist rate, turnover rate, and is second in rebound rate.

Giddey is currently playing less than 30 minutes every game, but his per-36 numbers are just silly. He averages 13.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.2 steals. Not bad for a skinny, 19-year-old guard from Australia. He may not have the juice to move past a Mobley or Cunningham on this list, but he looks a long-term asset in this league.

4. Jalen Green (+1200, Previous: +600)

Green was actually a major part of two Rockets’ wins over the past week, but his overall inconsistency keeps him behind the big three rookies for the time being.

Green’s shooting will be the largest impediment to him moving up this list, as he sits at 38.2% from the floor and 27.8% from three after a month and a half of his rookie season. In addition, Green has not contributed to the ancillary statistics the way many had hoped he would. At just 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and less than 1.0 combined steals + blocks, much of Green’s value comes from his 14 points per game.

He would need major usage to pop up by way of injury to Kevin Porter or Christian Wood to start to gain some more momentum in this race, which is why the odds are tumbling here. Coach Silas also likes to play around with his rotation’s minutes so Green’s court time ranged from 10 minutes to 36 minutes over the past two weeks. All momentum Green had to start the year seems to be lost.

3. Evan Mobley (+350, Previous: +310)

We lost Mobley for almost two weeks after an elbow sprain suffered on November 15th. But even with the missed time, he didn’t fall too far out of the race, with the strong play of Barnes and Cunningham able to jump over him in his time away.

As long as Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love, and Jarrett Allen don’t cannibalize all the front-court minutes for Mobley, he should be able to jump right back into the thick of this race. In his first game back, Mobley was back doing his normal thing with 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and four blocks in 33 strong minutes.

Mobley was playing at such a high level before the injury, it’s not unreasonable to expect him to creep back to the top of the pack, especially considering the relative logjam between him, Barnes, and Cunningham right now. I love his odds at +350 right now and consider him a strong value.

2. Scottie Barnes (+300, Previous: +250)

If the ROY award was given just based on sheer volume, Barnes would be running away with it right now. Toronto has been giving him all the minutes he can handle to this point and he has been below 30 minutes just once since a short two-game injury hiatus.

Most recently, Barnes is on a three-game stretch where he plays 37 minutes per night while scoring 18.3 points and grabbing 9.7 rebounds per game. He clearly benefits from OG Anunoby and Khem Birch missing time, and with Gary Trent also recently injured, the door is wide open for Barnes to dominate alongside Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.

In terms of consistently strong play, Barnes delivers the most of it this season. I can’t see any way that changes with the minutes secure and the Raptors out of the playoff race at the moment. Surely Toronto will want to see what they’ve got in Barnes and begin working on the VanVleet-Siakam-Barnes trio as the core of the new franchise. Like Mobley, I have no issue investing in Barnes at these odds.

1. Cade Cunningham (+260, Previous: +380)

Here is what I wrote 10 days ago after Cunningham debuted to a strong stretch of performances after returning from an ankle injury:

“All of a sudden, it really looks like Cunningham has a shot to leapfrog the players in front of him and win this award. In just the past nine days, Cunningham averages 16 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.8 steals and plays more than 30 minutes each game.”

At that time, Cunningham was third in ROY odds. In just two weeks, Cunningham is now the odds-on favorite to win the award and the Pistons show no signs of slowing down how much he plays.

One issue to consider, however, is how often we get these rough stretches like he is in right now. It is true that Cunningham scored 16.8 points per game with 6.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.6 steals in an eight-game streak. But in the five games since, Cunningham is at 10.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists while only shooting 28.6% from the floor. He is still contributing in other ways besides shooting, but any more prolonged slumps would lead me to pound bets on Mobley or Barnes before their odds move up.

Click Here For NBA Rookie of the Year Odds


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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