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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Can Cade Cunningham Catch Evan Mobley?

It's essentially a two-man race at the moment for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Evan Mobley remains the odds on favorite but is Cade Cunningham worth a bet to make a run?
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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Update: Can Cade Cunningham Catch Evan Mobley?

It's essentially a two-man race at the moment for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Evan Mobley remains the odds on favorite but is Cade Cunningham worth a bet to make a run?

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Franz Wagner Rookie of the Year Odds (+5000, Previous: +4000) (Bet $100 to Win $5000)

Well, it was a nice run at the award for Wagner. His season totals still look very nice, particularly for a rookie on a bad team. He is putting up 15.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.0 assists on 47% shooting. But the past six games have been a huge letdown compared to the rest of his season.

Since March 4th, Wagner averages only 10.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. And it's accompanied with 41.7$ shooting from the floor and 25% shooting from three. His Plus-Minus in those six games is -3.0.

The return of Jalen Suggs earlier this season, keeping Terrance Ross at the trade deadline, and the emergence of Wendell Carter and Cole Anthony as primary offensive options have left Wagner as the third or fourth option at best. Still, a 47%/36%/85% shooting slash line from a rookie is an astounding feat, and Wagner should be able to continue his improvement as an offensive weapon, especially with guys like Gary Harris and Mo Bamba coming off the books next year.

Josh Giddey Rookie of the Year Odds (+3300, Previous: +2200) (Bet $100 to Win $3300)

With only 15 games to go in their season, I see absolutely no incentive for the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring back Giddey this year. At this point, they have projected top-five lottery odds and are eight games out of the 10th and last spot in the play-in tournament.

If that's the case, we are left with one of the more exciting 54-game rookie seasons in recent memory. The 19-year-old would finish the season with 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.3 steals + blocks per game. The shooting percentages were abysmal (41.9% from the field, 26.3% from three), but the playmaking was extraordinary.

Only Jokic, Harden, Doncic, and Westbrook have better points/rebounds/assists numbers this season and those are, of course, seasons veterans at this point. It raises a fascinating question of what Giddey can do as he grows and develops in the league. He will miss out on a Rookie of the Year award, but the future is bright for other hardware in seasons to come.

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Scottie Barnes Rookie of the Year Pdds (+600, Previous: +1000) (Bet $100 to Win $600)

Barnes has been crushing it in his spotlight audition with OG Anunoby out with a finger injury and Fred VanVleet dealing with a nagging knee injury. Since February 28th, he has put up averages of 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.1 steals in an incredible 38 minutes per game. His 3.5 Plus-Minus has helped the Raptors win three in a row and pull within a game of the sixth spot in the East which would be a locked-in playoff spot.

The most impressive part of his game in the last 15 days is that he has played some point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. His versatility has allowed him to cover for a number of players who are injured and the Raptors, as a result, haven't missed a beat.

The only problem now for Barnes is that he was jumped by a player who is even hotter than he is right now. But considering the versatility, he brings to the lineup and how he can roll out there every single night for big minutes, I'm sure the Raptors are thrilled with the production out of their first-round pick this year.

Cade Cunningham Rookie of the Year Odds (+500, Previous: +1200) (Bet $100 to Win $500)

About three weeks ago, I wrote the following about Cunningham's chances at the ROY award after a really rough stretch in February:

"Since that time, Cunningham shot the ball worse than the previous stretch (40.8% from the field and 21.9% from three), and the Pistons have lost nine of their last 12 games. The scoring has actually gone up (17.9 points per game), but the efficiency has suffered. Combined with Barnes' recent hot stretch, Cunningham deservedly falls to third and likely out of contention for this award."

Not so fast my friend! Since February 26th, Cunningham averages 22.9 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. His shooting percentages are up to 46.1%/31.3%/83.3% in that time as Cunningham is putting together the most dominant stretch of his season. The theme for Mobley has been consistency, but the Cavaliers have dropped to sixth in the East after a 3-7 stretch.

The door is now open a crack for Cunningham, and I honestly don't have any issue sliding a bet or two through it.

Evan Mobley Rookie of the Year Odds (-350, Previous: -550) (Bet $100 to Win $28)

The month of March has actually been a very good one for Mobley as well, statistically speaking. He averages 15.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks on 50.6% shooting. But these represent just incremental improvements from his season numbers while Cunningham is blowing his averages away from the last month.

Combine that with the poor record mentioned above in the last two weeks and this could be a recipe for a Cunningham takeover if the last 15 games mirror that last seven. Both Mobley and Cunningham had huge swings in the opposite directions over the last two weeks and that momentum could be enough to sway voters when their ballots are due in the next few weeks.

Mobley's Plus-Minus over the last seven games is a disappointing -4.7. It is possible Cleveland rests some guys if they cling a spot in the top-six over the next few weeks. The Pistons are likely to throw Cunningham out there as much as he can take if he tells them he wants to go for the award and try to improve his game. For the rest time in four months, I am actually hedging Mobley bets while the price is still good on Cunningham.

This should be a fun race to watch down the stretch.

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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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