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NBA Rookie of the Year Race Odds & Picks: Can Scottie Barnes Beat Out Evan Mobley?

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

Mark Strotman  | 6 mins

NBA Rookie of the Year Race Odds & Picks: Can Scottie Barnes Beat Out Evan Mobley?

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It's here! Ontario sports betting is finally live and there’s a juicy NBA futures bet that Raptors fans may want to pounce on at sports betting apps.

Rookie forward Evan Mobley has looked like a future star for the playoff-bound Cavaliers, averaging 14.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Cleveland’s defense has gone from 25th a year ago to 5th this season, largely due to the 6-foot-11 Mobley.

Because of that, Mobley has led Rookie of the Year voting for just about the entire season. But Mobley has fizzled down the stretch, averaging just 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in his final four games before spraining his ankle. He has missed the past three games since, and his Rookie of the Year odds have tumbled.

He got as high as -700 early in March, but those NBA odds have been cut in half with a week left in the NBA season. Could Toronto rookie Scottie Barnes or Detroit’s Cade Cunningham come in and swoop the award? Let’s take a look at what online sportsbooks have to say:

PlayerOdds To Win ROY
Evan Mobley -330
Scottie Barnes +225
Cade Cunningham +700
Franz Wagner +10000
Josh Giddey +10000

Odds via DraftKings Ontario. Current as of publication and subject to change.

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Scottie Barnes has been a remarkable addition for the playoff-bound Raptors, averaging 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He has also picked it up when Toronto has needed him most—in his last 14 games, a stretch in which the Raptors have gone 11-3, Barnes is averaging 17.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists.

Toronto wasn’t expected to compete for a top-six spot in the East, but they’ve done just that thanks in large part to Barnes’ efforts. He’s been reliable, come up big in big spots, and played multiple positions out of necessity. His odds have shrunk to just +225 during the Raptors’ stretch run, and for good reason.

Top picks know a thing or two about winning Rookie of the Year. In fact, 21 have done it. So it’s no surprise that Cade Cunningham is lurking here. Though he had a rough start to his rookie campaign—missing five of the first six games before averaging 14.6 points on 37% shooting in November—he has been a revelation since the All-Star break.

Just how good? How about 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.6 assists. He’s up to 47% from the field and 1.1 steals per game in those 17 games, too. A hip injury sidelined him this past week, which may hurt his chances of catching Mobley and Barnes, but there will be awards in this kid’s future.

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Rookie of the Year Pick

Sorry Canadian sports betting fans, but the play is still Mobley. He has been a major part of the league’s best story this season. The Cavs had a preseason expected win total of 28.5, a number they went over in January.

Cleveland’s defense the last three seasons in between LeBron James leaving and Mobley arriving: 30th, 30th, and 25th. Now they’re 5th and headed to the postseason. Mobley had help to be sure, but he’s been a constant all season. That matters to voters. If the season were an extra month longer, we think there’s a chance he could be caught. But this late in the game, it’s Mobley’s award.

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.