Though there may be no formal NBA All-Star Game this year due to the unique circumstances imposed by the ongoing global pandemic, that hasn’t done a thing to dull the sheer excitement of the on-court product this season in the Association. The Lakers are stating a compelling case to repeat as champs, the 76ers could finally be on the cusp of breaking through, and the Utah Jazz keeps putting team after team on notice. But the race for the Larry O’Brien Trophy is far from the only intriguing plot worth following on this side of the new year.
The league’s big individual awards are won and lost at the business end of the regular season as the haves and have-nots are ultimately separated from each other, home-court advantage is awarded for the playoffs, and the pretenders are ultimately sent packing. With that in mind, it’s time for CanadianBettingSites to identify the best NBA player prop bets for 2020-21, including league MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Sixth Man of the Year.
2021 NBA MVP
Is it 2021 or 2011? Dallas dynamo Luka Doncic got the lion’s share of the buzz right out of the gate this year, but the story of the season heading into the All-Star break? LeBron James, who’s simply as good as he’s ever been despite his 36 years of age.
LBJ hasn’t won the regular-season MVP award since 2013, a fact that feels impossible and inconceivable given his utterly peerless CV; notably, the Laker superstar is shooting over 40% from three-point range for the first time since then. And that’s not all there is to love.
LeBron James per 36 minutes this season:
– More PPG than his Heat seasons
– More RPG than his MVP seasons
– More APG than his MVP seasons
– Higher eFG% than his first 3 MVP seasons
Absolute insanity. 👑 pic.twitter.com/s3o79pyzJm
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 5, 2021
He’s the one player not named Michael Jordan that could have plausibly received the trophy in every single season of his prime, and he’s finally back in pole position despite stern challenges from the Nuggets’ inimitable Nikola Jokic and Sixers two-way destroyer Joel Embiid.
Look at it this way: The NBA has trended away from big men over the last handful of years. If someone’s stealing this hardware from the King, it’s not going to be a center.
Pick LeBron James to win NBA MVP (3.75) for 2020-21. A $20 bet cashes out for $75 at William Hill.
|NBA MVP: Odds to Win|
NBA Rookie of the Year 2020-21
Is there a better example of a “mediocre team that’s really fun” than the Charlotte Hornets? No offence to the New York Knickerbockers, but James Borrego has these young guns playing the most acceptable ball we’ve seen since Michael Jordan took over as owner. They’re in the playoff picture as of this writing, stunningly ahead of the last two Eastern Conference champions — the Heat and Raptors — and the single biggest reason to watch them every night has got to be LaMelo Ball.
He may only be playing 27 minutes per game in this early stage of his career, but 2020’s No. 3 overall picks is throwing the slickest of slick passes out there while stacking triple-doubles and boasting a true shooting percentage of 53.9, a figure that’s got to be considered a coup given the questions surrounding his jumper as he entered the league.
There are some notable rookies worth keeping an eye on out there, including Warriors center James Wiseman and the arguable steal of the 2020 NBA Draft, Tyrese Haliburton of the Kings. But in the race for Rookie of the Year, there’s only one legit betting option as of this moment.
Back LaMelo Ball to be named NBA Rookie of the Year (1.50) in 2021. A $20 wager at 10Bet pays out $30.
2020-21 NBA Defensive Player of the Year
After two straight years reigning as the NBA’s top defensive player, Rudy Gobert gave way to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who achieved the rare DPOY/MVP double in 2019-20. This time around, however, it’s worth wondering out loud just how much the voters will be ailing from Greek Freak fatigue.
That could absolutely work in Gobert’s favour as far as top defensive honours are concerned, especially given how terrific his Utah Jazz have been on both ends of the floor. Another potential beneficiary? Current betting favourite Anthony Davis. But the best overall value for bettors lies in the Eastern Conference.
Basketball fans have been waiting and waiting and waiting for the uber-talented Joel Embiid to put it all together. A walking mismatch on offence and a movable feast of inside-outside punishment defensively, the Philadelphia center has never been better, on pace for career bests in win shares and the advanced plus/minus stats.
It’s no easy task — but if the 76ers can secure the No. 1 seed in the East, expect JoJo to be rewarded thusly.
Take a long look at dark horse Joel Embiid to win his first NBA Defensive Player of the Year award (13.0). A winning $20 ticket would redeem for a sensational $260 at Bodog.
2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year
The award that may as well be named after Lou Williams always proves sneakily tough to determine. After all, how many games are you allowed to start in a given season before you’re no longer a “Sixth Man”? According to the rules, you can be a starter in one game fewer than half of your team’s regular-season slate.
But this year, Jordan Clarkson doesn’t care about your dumb rules.
He’s balling out for the skyrocketing Utah Jazz like he never has before.
Is it too early to put in my vote for 6MOY? I got @JordanClarksons 🙌🏽
— Josh Hart (@joshhart) February 8, 2021
Eric Gordon has done yeoman’s work for a Houston Rockets team dealing with transitional hiccups post-James Harden, and Chris Boucher is growing into fan favourite status in Toronto. But these guys have nothing on Clarkson, who’s on pace for career highs in scoring, rebounding, and shooting efficiency despite logging fewer minutes per game than his career average to date.
Don’t overthink it. Just watch the man play and notice how few mistakes as a stalwart complement to Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
Back Jordan Clarkson to be named NBA Sixth Man of the Year for 2021. A $20 bet at top sportsbooks cashes out for $33.20.