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NBA Sixth Man of the Year Betting Tips & Advice to Consider

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

Mark Strotman  | 6 mins

NBA Sixth Man of the Year Betting Tips & Advice to Consider

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There was a time not too long ago that the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year was simply an award to the best "bench" player, a performer not good enough to start but essentially the "best of the rest." But the talent pool of the NBA has meant that Sixth Men often close games, are near the team lead in minutes per game and are focal points of the offense.

2022 Sixth Man Award Odds

Player Odds
Jordan Clarkson +550
Joe Ingles +1400
Derrick Rose +1800
Patty Mills +1900
Tyrese Haliburton +1900
Kevin Huerter +2000

All NBA 6th Man Award odds via DraftKings are current as of publication but subject to change; get the latest NBA futures odds here

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Jordan Clarkson ran away with Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2021 after a remarkable season in Utah, and he’s rightfully the frontrunner sportsbooks and betting sites because he finds himself in the exact same situation. He’ll be called upon early and often to score for the Utah second unit, and if the Jazz continue to succeed while Clarkson is filling it up, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him run away with it for a second straight season.

If not for Clarkson, we would have been talking much more about the season teammate Joe Ingles had in Utah. The lefty sharpshooter shot better than 45% from deep and posted career bests in points and field-goal percentage despite moving to the bench. If Clarkson falters, Ingles will be there to pick up the slack — and perhaps this award by season’s end.

Guard play is basically a requirement for this award, meaning Derrick Rose, Patty Mills and Tyrese Haliburton will all have legitimate shots at bringing it home, as reflected by their NBA odds on most betting apps. Our focus is on Mills, who joins the offensive juggernaut in Brooklyn and will be the leading bench scorer of one of the best teams in the league.

That’s the recipe Clarkson used to win the award in 2021, and it wouldn’t shock us if Mills followed suit with a great scoring season of his own off the bench for the Nets.

How to Bet NBA 6th Man Award

NBA Sixth Men Award winners come in all different shapes, sizes, ages, skill sets and experience. The qualification for the award is a player who starts less than half the games he appears in during the regular season.

Since Bobby Jones won the first award in 1983, fellow winners have included future Hall of Famers like Bill Walton and Kevin McHale and future MVPs like James Harden.

International players have been a mainstay, with winners including Toni Kukoc, Manu Ginobili, Leandro Barbosa and Detlef Schrempf. Winners have been as young as 21 years old (rookie Ben Gordon won in 2005) and as old as 35-year-old Jamal Crawford, playing in his 16th NBA season.

With so much variance in winners over the years, it can be a daunting task for fans of NBA betting to pick a winner.

But we're here to help. As varied as the winners have been we've found four recent trends that can help you in picking one of the most difficult annual bets of the year.

Veterans Make Best Bet

It takes talent to be named Sixth Man of the Year. But more often than not young talented players find themselves in the starting lineup. Whether it's because of the contract they've given, their draft status or simply because they're the best at their position, the best young players play often, meaning they rarely come off the bench.

Because of that, most Sixth Man of the Year winners are veteran players. From 2008 to 2021, James Harden (22 years old) was the only player younger than 26 years old to win the award. The 14 other winners ranged between 26 and 35 years old, and their average age was 30 years old and on average were playing in their 10th year in the league.

Harden was the outlier, but there wasn't any room for him to start on a team that included Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. His scoring was needed on the second unit. It was a rare circumstance. Think older when considering Sixth Man of the Year.

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Winning Matters a Whole Lot

Just as winning matters when picking the Most Valuable Player, it's even more important when considering the Sixth Man of the Year. Winners of this award have been on dominant, not just pretty good, teams. And there haven't even been any outliers.

From 1994 to 2021, the award was handed out 27 times. The players who won that award were on teams that won at least 47 games (or were on pace to do so in lockout-shortened seasons) with the exception of Lou Williams’ 42-win Clippers in 2018. On average these teams won a whopping 53.8 games, and only six failed to win 50 in the year. Fifty wins, of course, is more than just a playoff team. It's a top-3 seed most seasons.

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Shooting Guards Make for the Best Bets

While your best bet for Defensive Player of the Year is to find a big man, the opposite has been true for the Sixth Man of the Year in years past. It's an offensive-minded award, and in today's NBA that means guard play wins. Specifically, shooting guards.

From 2004 to 2021, 14 of the 17 winners for Sixth Man of the Year were shooting guards. The only exceptions were Lamar Odom, who was pretty much a point forward, and Mike Miller, who played exclusively on the wing (like a shooting guard) but was listed as a small forward.

The last power forward to win the award was Montrezl Harrell in 2020, and the last center to win it was Bill Walton in 1986. Amazingly enough, and perhaps this trend will shift, the only point guard to win the award from 1999 to 2021 was Darrell Armstrong. What we're saying here is to find shooters.

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Like Other Awards, Scoring Means Winners

We've saved the most important trend for last. There are plenty of important bench players who run the second unit, and those who can defend at an elite level. Unfortunately, those players don't have a seat at the table when it comes to the Sixth Man of the Year voting.

What matters most when picking this award? Scoring, and scoring a lot. From 2002 to 2021, a span of 20 winners, 13 of those players led the NBA in bench scoring. Four others were second in bench scoring, two more ranked third and the final winner ranked fourth.

Pick a player you believe will come off the bench the majority of the season, is a veteran, knows how to shoot and will score in bunches. Do that and you've got an excellent shot at finding your Sixth Man of the Year winner.

About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports betting journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports. He regularly provides NBA betting picks, as well as in-depth sportsbook reviews and the latest promo codes for all the major sports gambling operators, including Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and more.

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