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NBA Awards Futures Odds: MVP, Rookie, 6th Man & More

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

Mark Strotman  | 21 mins

NBA Awards Futures Odds: MVP, Rookie, 6th Man & More

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The NBA season is technically more than halfway done (teams have played between 57 and 61 games of an 82-game season) but with a break in the action, let’s take a pulse on all the end-of-the-year individual awards.

We’ll analyze the favorite, make our NBA picks, and finally toss in a long shot that we believe has value unless the race is all but over (looking at you, Ja Morant and Most Improved Player).

Most Valuable Player

Joel Embiid +140 ➜
Nikola Jokic +290 ➜
Giannis Antetokounmpo +380 ➜
Stephen Curry +850 ➜

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Joel Embiid is the clear-cut favorite, but he has three former MVPs—including five of the last seven winners—nipping at his heels. But his absurd six-week stretch (33.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists) is showing no signs of slowing down. James Harden’s arrival should only get him more open looks, which is scary to think about.

Jokic and Giannis continue to put up unprecedented numbers, and the latter is seriously heating up for a Bucks team that looks ready to defend its title. Jokic somehow improved on his MVP numbers from a season ago, and it's a bit perplexing that he hasn’t gotten as much national love.

Curry was the favorite for the first two months of the season but has gone ice cold over the last few months (22.8 points on 41% shooting since Jan. 3) and doesn’t feel like a legitimate contender any longer.

Our pick? It’s Embiid’s turn. Philadelphia is going to flourish with Harden and Embiid together, and voters will look for a reason to give him his first MVP award. It’s Embiid’s to lose, and as long as he’s healthy he’s not going to give up the lead.

Most Improved Player

Ja Morant -350 ➜
Miles Bridges +850 ➜
Darius Garland +1000 ➜
Dejounte Murray +1300 ➜

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This one’s over. Ja Morant is putting on a historically good season that has him as a longshot for MVP. He was a borderline All-Star last year and is still somehow averaging 7.7 more points (26.8) on nearly 50% shooting.

He has also transformed the Grizzlies from a fun Play-In Tournament hopeful into a legitimate contender in the West. No one saw this coming, but it’s been an absolute blast to watch. Even at these incredibly short odds top betting sites are offering, it’s still the right play.

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And it’s somewhat unfortunate. Why? Darius Garland and Dejounte Murray have posted remarkable seasons that are going to get overlooked because it feels like Morant is making history each time he takes the floor. Garland has taken a Cavs team from a Lottery mainstay to homecourt advantage in the East. Murray is a triple-double threat each time he takes the floor and is keeping a dreadful Spurs roster in the Play-In hunt in the West.

But at the end of the day, Morant is going to win this award unanimously. That’s how good he has been. We’re not even sure Morant needs to play another game this season to go home with the hardware. Don’t overthink it and don’t look for a long shot. It’s Ja’s.

Rookie of the Year

Evan Mobley -380 ➜
Scottie Barnes +800 ➜
Cade Cunningham +900 ➜
Josh Giddey +1000 ➜

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When you’ve anchored a top-5 defense that just a few years ago was the worst in the NBA, you move to the top of this list. That’s exactly what Evan Mobley has done, so it’s no surprise that he’s the heavy favorite to win this award.

His averages aren’t out-of-this-world good (14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks), and he’d actually have the second-lowest point average of a Rookie of the Year winner since 2003. His consistency—and the Cavs’ winning ways—have made his presence at the top of this list warranted.

We’re bummed that Cade Cunningham hasn’t moved his way closer to Mobley, but such an ugly start means he was going to have to be All-Star good to catch Mobley. It hasn’t happened. Barnes has been solid but he’s a distant third (and maybe fourth) option on the Raptors, and he isn’t going to get the numbers or recognition to surpass Mobley.

Giddey is the long shot we’re looking at. That’ll happen when you reel off three straight triple-doubles, and he’s averaging 16.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game over his last 11 contests. He’s the real deal, and if there’s any slip-up from Mobley, Giddey could be there to sneak in late in the season.

Sixth Man Of The Year

Tyler Herro -1000 ➜
Kelly Oubre +1400 ➜
Kevin Love +2500 ➜
Montrezl Harrell +5000 ➜

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Let’s keep this one quick. Tyler Herro has averaged 20.0 points, which would make him just the third reserve over the last three decades to average that many points off the bench. The other two instances—Lou Williams in both 2018 and 2019—won this award with ease.

And Herro will make it 3-for-3. It’s not even worth mentioning anyone here. Like Jordan Clarkson for Utah last season, Herro has run away with this award. There’s no real value in betting him here, either.

Coach of the Year

Monty Williams -185 ➜
JB Bickerstaff +350 ➜
Taylor Jenkins +650 ➜
Billy Donovan +800 ➜

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Monty Williams should have won this award last season when it was stolen by Tom Thibodeau, and that’s likely what’s paving the way for him as the favorite in 2022. Oh, and the fact that the Suns are 48-10, the best team in the NBA, and haven’t skipped a beat since winning the West last season.

Phoenix already has win streaks of 18, 11, and seven (currently). It’s rare to see a head coach of a team that won 51 games the previous season as the frontrunner for Coach of the Year, but that’s how good Williams and the Suns have been.

But we also can’t overlook JB Bickerstaff’s Cavaliers. Cleveland won 22 games last season. The Cavs surpassed 22 wins on Jan. 10 this season. They’re currently a top-4 seed in the East and just 2.5 games outside of the top spot. They are one of the more unlikely stories in recent NBA memory, and for that reason, Bickerstaff is in the running.

But we’re rolling with Williams and the Suns here. They’ll need to go just 12-12 down the stretch to reach 60 wins and have the sixth easiest schedule in the league remaining. Williams will get what was owed to him a season ago.

Defensive Player Of The Year

Rudy Gobert +170 ➜
Draymond Green +210 ➜
Giannis Antetokounmpo +440 ➜
Jaren Jackson Jr. +700 ➜

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Rudy Gobert has won this award three of the last four seasons and he’s leading the NBA in both rebounds (14.8) and blocks (2.3) per game. The Utah defense has slipped this season, ranking just 10th in the league after ranking in the top-3 each season Gobert won Defensive Player of the Year. But Gobert can’t be penalized for Utah’s drop, and ranking 10th in the NBA while playing in the West is nothing to scoff at.

Draymond Green hasn’t played since Jan. 5, so it’ll be tough for bettors to consider him despite the fact that the Warriors have the NBA’s best defense. Giannis won this award in 2020 and has been great on that end of the floor lately, and this could be the award he wins if he can’t top Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic for MVP.

But we’re really focused on Jaren Jackson Jr. The Grizzlies center is averaging 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game over the last five weeks and has seen his NBA Futures Odds shoot up. We actually believe in his odds considering Memphis has had a top-6 defense over the last two months. Gobert probably winds up winning the award, but JJJ is worth a flyer.

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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