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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds: Evan Mobley Surges to the Lead

Evan Mobley towers over the rest of the field as he jumps two spots and is now the heavy favorite to be named the 2021-2022 NBA Rookie of the Year.
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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds: Evan Mobley Surges to the Lead

This past week brought some significant movement to the top of the Rookie of the Year award as the early-season favorite raced back into the lead after proving his short injury stint was completely behind him.

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

NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Rankings

5. Josh Giddey (+3300, Previous: +2500)

Giddey is still a nice story and an incredible find for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he has hit a rookie wall lately, causing his odds to drift way out of the realm of ever moving back into contention for the award.

Over his last six games, Giddey's numbers have dropped across the board as he averages only 9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 0.8 steals on 35% shooting. In a vacuum those are wonderful numbers for a rookie, but considering his season numbers are 10.4/6.7/5.8/1.0/40%, Giddey's play has mirrored the Thunder's record.

At 8-18, Oklahoma City now sits at the bottom of the West. Should this continue, we may see the Thunder park players on the bench for rest days and phantom injuries similar to what we saw last year. Enjoy the playmaking of Giddey when you can, but there is no value here considering what Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley are doing.

4. Jalen Green (+2000, Previous: +1200)

Just when this scoring (and the Rockets as a whole) were starting to get into a strong rhythm, Green injured his hamstring and is now out indefinitely.

Even with a nice little run, the Rockets will likely be on the outside looking in for the playoffs this year, so look for Houston to take it nice and slow with their franchise cornerstone as he works his way back. He will likely be fifth on this list or even drop out of the top-five by the next update.

With nine games already missed and another five or more still to go, the top three will continue to distance themselves from the rest of the pack and Green will fade back even farther.

3. Scottie Barnes (+350, Previous: +300)

Considering the Raptors are essentially using a 6.5 man rotation right now with the various injuries on their squad, Barnes has been thrown into the fire and has not missed a beat over his last two weeks.

Since November 30th, Barnes is playing an insane 38.5 minutes per game which has allowed him to put up 16.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.2 steals + blocks on 49.5% shooting. All of those are improvements on his seasonal numbers, so the only explanation for his drifting odds are the fact that Cunningham and Mobley aren't slowing down.

I looked at all rookie seasons from 2000 to today and found that only Ben Simmons in 2017 compiled the 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block that Barnes is averaging per game. This is an all-time great rookie season for Barnes that just happens to be shared with two other outstanding first-year players.

Click here for the latest NBA Rookie of the Year odds

2. Cade Cunningham (+325, Previous: +260)

Cunningham is doing just about everything he can to take home this award, but Evan Mobley's dominance combined with the fact that the Pistons are now the stone cold worst team in the NBA are leaving him in second position for now.

Cunningham's past two weeks have been simply spectacular. He is scoring 22.7 points per game, on 47% shooting, including an amazing 52% from three. He is also chipping in 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.8 steals in that span, setting up a fascinating conversation about stats versus record.

The Cavaliers looks poised to make the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left town in 2018, but Cade's offense has moved to another level lately. If Cunningham continues to score 22 points per game with solid shooting an defense, can ROY voters really not give him the prize? The Pistons' abysmal record may be the thing that brings him down, but this two-man race is clearly worth watching, with +325 looking very enticing if you believe Cunningham's level of play continues.

1. Evan Mobley (+150, Previous: +350)

It seems I wasn't too far off a couple weeks ago when I pondered what might happen if Mobley could jump right back into a big minutes role. from November 30:

"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 ... 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."

Hope you bought in at +350!

Since missing four games with an elbow injury, Mobley has been a force offensively and a straight monster on defense. He averages 12.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 blocks on 44% shooting. Imagine if the shooting percentage goes up to his season average of 48%. On defense he is grabbing every board and swatting every shot. In fact, Mobley has more games with three or more blocks this year (seven) than he has with zero (four).

Cleveland continues to role him out for big minutes at the expense of guys like Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen. With the Cavs now sitting in the fourth seed in the East, don't look for that to change anytime soon.


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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