By Mark Strotman | | 3 mins
LaMelo Ball Favored In NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Once Again
The NBA Rookie of the Year race takes yet another turn. News broke on Monday night that Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, who suffered a fractured wrist in late March, had been cleared for basketball activities with a return to the lineup imminent in the next 7-10 days. And just like that, Ball is once again the favorite in the latest Rookie of the Year futures odds.
Ball has been out since March 22 and has missed 15 straight games for the Hornets entering Tuesday. That number is likely to be close to 20 games missed by the time he returns to action for Charlotte, which has just 16 games left in the regular season. Still, sports betting sites wasted no time moving Ball back up as the favorite to take home Rookie of the Year honors, jumping Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards and Sacramento’s Tyrese Haliburton in the process.
News of Ball’s return moved his overnight odds to win Rookie of the Year from +210 to -250 at DraftKings. Edwards had been the favorite since Ball’s injury was announced but saw his own odds plummet to +185. Haliburton, the talented sixth man in Sacramento, had been falling away from Edwards over the last month and is now a distant third in the odds race at +750.
NBA futures odds are current as of publication
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LaMelo Ball’s Historic Season Makes Him ROY Favorite
It says a lot about the season Ball is having that he’s the NBA betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year despite missing a quarter of the campaign. The 19-year-old is averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 41 games for the Hornets. What’s more, at the time of his injury he had averaged 19.6 points, 5.3 rebound and 6.1 assists over his last 12 games. He was only getting better as his ROY odds shortened to as much as -560 at some sportsbooks.
The Hornets are in the thick of the postseason race, hanging on to the No. 8 seed in the East. With Ball back, they have a chance to push for a top-six seed, which would lock them into the first round and have them avoid the NBA’s play-in. Even if Ball is brought back slowly, his impact for a playoff team will be undeniable (and voters will take notice).
Anthony Edwards Still Has Value
Top pick Anthony Edwards has appeared in all 58 games for the Timberwolves this season (an impressive feat given he’s 19 and the shortened offseason), averaging a rookie-best 18.1 points as well as 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists. But his season numbers don’t do his recent hot stretch justice: In his last 26 games dating back to Feb. 24, Edwards is averaging 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
There’s real value in Edwards at his current odds. He’ll likely finish the season having played 20 more games than Ball, and voters will have to take availability into consideration. Edwards is playing the best basketball of his young career, while Ball – the face of the Charlotte franchise – may be brought back slowly with the postseason in mind. If Ball plays just 12-18 minutes per night while Edwards is racking up 30+ each time he takes the floor, there’s a scenario in which Edwards is crowned Rookie of the Year.
Tyrese Haliburton Falls Off Map
Whereas Edwards and Ball racked up monster counting stats, Haliburton was the efficient Rookie of the Year candidate. However, the Kings guard has really struggled over the last month, averaging just 12.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists in his last 17 games. His odds aren’t even worth a flier at this point. It’s a two-man race.