The NBA season is in full swing and the contenders are already separating themselves from the middle of the pack. And a few of those teams have come out of the blue, exceeding early season expectations behind some of the league’s best head coaching.
And with that, we’ve got our five favorite picks for NBA’s Coach of the Year 2019 for NBA betting to consider backing.
2018-19 NBA Coach of the Year Best Bets
Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
Mike Budenholzer took over an ugly Hawks team in 2013 and managed to win 38 games. The following season he exploded with a well-balanced roster as the Hawks won a league-best 60 games and advanced to the East Finals.
He’s skipped that break-in year with the Bucks, with Giannis Anteotkounmpo and Milwaukee racing out to a fast start in the East. They seem here to stay, with the Greek Freak looking like a frontrunner in MVP betting.
If Milwaukee hangs in the top 3 in the East, Budenholzer will have a great chance to win this award a second time. He’s a smart bet as the favorite with +150 odds on 888Sport.com.
Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors won 59 games a year, which helped Dwane Casey win Coach of the Year after he was fired following another embarrassing postseason exit.
We don’t think Nick Nurse will be fired after one year, but Toronto is once again off and running in the regular season. They started 11-1, with Kyle Lowry leading the NBA in assists and Kawhi Leonard looking fully healthy.
A 60-win season is not out of the question in a weaker East. Nurse has this team rolling and will be in the mix for Coach of the Year all season long. His +400 odds look right on 888Sport.com.
Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets
Denver missed the postseason a year ago, but that won’t be the case in 2019. The Nuggets have gone from 33 to 40 to 46 wins in Mike Malone’s first three seasons. With a dynamic backcourt, an MVP candidate in Nikola Jokic and an underrated bench, the Nuggets are here to stay.
If they can hang tight with the Warriors all year in a gauntlet of a Western Conference, Malone has a real shot to earn Coach of the Year honors. He has the team to get it done. He’s got the best West odds at +250 on 888Sport.com.
Dave Joerger, Sacramento Kings
Some years the Coach of the Year award goes to a team that entirely comes out of nowhere and tops the .500 mark. That could be the Sacramento Kings, who are finally putting all their young pieces together and look like they could be ready to start competing for a postseason bid.
They started 6-5 and have played like one of the best eight teams in the West. This shouldn’t be all that surprising, as Dave Joerger had plenty of success in Memphis. He’s a rock-solid coach. If the Kings can somehow find a way to win 42-45 wins, Joerger needs serious consideration.
Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
No one expected anything less than 60+ wins and an NBA title from Steve Kerr and the Warriors this season. After all, they’ve pretty much breezed through the rest of the NBA the last two years and added DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason.
Kerr won the award in 2016 after the Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games, but there’s a chance voters have overlooked him each of the last two seasons after Golden State won 67 and 58 games, respectively, and the two titles.
So while Kerr is only +2500 to win the award on 888Sport.com, if the Warriors stay healthy, Steph Curry continues to set shooting records, and Cousins comes back healthy, 70 wins isn’t out of the question for this team.
And if they hover near 70 – and the East stays relatively jumbled at the top – Kerr could easily bring home the award again.