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NBA Rookie of the Year Odds: Ayton is the front-runner to take the hardware

NBA Rookie of The Year Betting Odds June 28

The annual free agency drama of the NBA is on the horizon but for players just getting their feet wet to the NBA experience, they’re instead focusing on their debuts in Summer League and putting their best foot forward with their new franchises.

Since the LeBron sweepstakes shouldn’t play a part in how rookies approach the upcoming season, online sportsbooks have released odds for which first-year player will win the 2018-19 NBA Rookie of the Year with Suns center Deandre Ayton listed as the betting favorite.

Ayton is listed at +240 followed by Mavericks swingman Luka Doncic at +300, Kings forward Marvin Bagley at +450, Hawks guard Trae Young at +700 and Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. at +900 to round out the top five.

Let’s break down the odds and see which player has the best potential to take home the hardware.


In this day and age of the three-point shot, taking a center with the top pick may seem archaic for NBA franchises. But with Deandre Ayton, it may be OK to buck that trend as the seven-footer has developed some range on his jumper at Arizona to pair with his elite athleticism. Ayton resembles the recent shift at the center position similar to the playing style of Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis, who are dominant bigs in today’s game.

The rookie has all the tools necessary to dominate the league and for a team desperate for rim protection and rebounding, Ayton fits the bill to help a Suns squad that ranked dead last in points allowed per game, was 25th in opponent field-goal percentage and lost 61 games last season. While the odds aren’t great at +240, it’s worth noting that the No. 1 overall pick has won this award in three of the last four years and six of the last 10.


The Sacramento Kings have long been a dumpster fire of a franchise that has been trying to find an identity since its run in the early 2000s. So, when they passed on drafting Luka Doncic to take Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III, you could hear a collective groan from the capital of California that the Kings took another big man to clog up the lane.

Don’t get me wrong, Marvin Bagley III is a great offensive player and for a team starving for contributions from its frontcourt, he will immediately make an impact. But those stats may feel empty if the Kings continue to lose and don’t address their roster issues for the swingman position. For bettors considering investing in Bagley at +450, it wouldn’t be a horrible wager when you consider that the winner of the award in seven of the last 10 years has come from a team that finished in the bottom 10 of the NBA standings the following season.

Dark horses and Long shots

This section is for the bettors looking at the oddsboard trying to identify value and determining where a player could make an immediate impact. With those two factors in mind, the two players that could turn heads this season are Collin Sexton at +2200 and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at +4000.

Sexton is an interesting case mainly because of LeBron James’ next landing spot. If Bron stays in Cleveland, it would tremendously hurt Sexton’s value because voters may not give credit to the rookie for his contributions and attribute it to the LeBron effect. But if James does leave (Lakers are the current favorite), Sexton would then be able to take on a much larger role as the team’s point guard and best shooter in the backcourt behind Kyle Korver. If LeBron announces he’s leaving Ohio, get on Sexton immediately.

As for Gilgeous-Alexander, this is more about an opportunity for the young Canadian. The Kentucky product is a six-foot-six point guard who can pretty much do it all and was considered to be the best point guard in the draft by a majority of draft analysts. After the Clips traded Austin Rivers earlier this week, the only point guards left on the squad are oft-injured Patrick Beverley and Milos “5 o’clock shadow” Teodosic. The Serbian also had his share of injury woes in his debut NBA season which means that SGA is in a crucial position for the Clippers and their roster going forward. There are obviously a lot of worthy candidates on the oddsboard but for my money, Gilgeous-Alexander at +4000 offers the best value.

Who will win the 2018-19 NBA Rookie of the Year Award?

Odds as of June 28 at Bovada

  • Deandre Ayton +260
  • Luka Doncic +300
  • Marvin Bagley +450
  • Trae Young +700
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. +900
  • Mohamed Bamba +1100
  • Kevin Knox +1500
  • Michael Porter Jr. +1500
  • Collin Sexton +2200
  • Mikal Bridges +2200
  • Miles Bridges +2800
  • Wendell Carter Jr. +2800
  • Grayson Allen +2800
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +4000
  • Donte DiVincenzo +4000
  • Zhaire Smith +4500
  • Lonnie Walker +5000
  • Robert Williams +5000
  • Harry Giles +5000