As the league pushes closer to its All-Star break this season, the 2022 NBA Draft seems to have provided the league with a solid crop of futures stars. Many of the 30 first round picks from last June have found important roles in their team’s rotation. These young stars continue to turn heads on a nightly basis, none more so that top pick Paolo Banchero. The Orlando Magic seem to have struck gold once again with the top pick, as Banchero has pulled away on most NBA Rookie of the Year odds boards.
NBA futures continue to shift from night to night as teams jostle for position in the standings. But team futures aren’t the only options for basketball bettors. People can wager on the results for the coveted NBA awards coming at the end of the season. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, a two-time defending MVP, stands as the betting favorite to win a third-straight Most Valuable Player award thanks to his stellar season thus far.
While some of the other races remain up in the air, the NBA odds for Rookie of the Year stand among the most lopsided at the moment. The young Magic star has taken control of this race and has opened a commanding lead at most sportsbooks.
Banchero the Heavy Favorite among NBA Rookie of the Year Odds
At FanDuel sportsbook, Banchero opened as the betting favorite on their NBA Rookie of the Year odds board. The 6-foot-10 former Duke Blue Devil saw his +200 odds shorten following the season-ending injury to fellow top-three draft pick Chet Holmgren. That said, Banchero hasn’t disappointed despite the hype.
Through 40 games played so far this season, Banchero leads all NBA rookies in scoring average (20.7) and Player Efficiency (19.1). He’s top-3 in Assists per Game (3.8), and top-5 in both Rebounds per Game (6.5) and Steals per Game (1.0). He’s also top-10 in Assist to Turnover Ratio (1.34) among rookies. Banchero’s second among rookies in total points scored and field goal attempts, and he’s managed a solid 43.9 percent field goal percentage, and a respectable 32 percent three-pointer clip, in his first year.
Last year, this honor went to Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes, who finished the season averaging 15.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists-per-game and helped lead the Raptors to the playoffs. Barnes was the only rookie to rank in the top five in total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
Best NBA Rookie of the Year Odds
Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
Benn Mathurin, Indiana Pacers
Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
While Banchero seems to be running away with the award at present, he’s not immune to struggles. His per-game numbers have dipped nearing mid-season, opening the door for a few other challengers on these NBA Rookie of the Year odds boards.
Banchero’s biggest competition seems to be Indiana Pacers forward Bennedict Mathurin. The 6-foot-7 wing from Arizona demonstrated his sweet shooting stroke as a sixth man for the Pacers this season. He’s scored the most total points among rookies (856) and has taken the most shot attempts (630).
As a focal point of the Pacers attack while Tyrese Haliburton heals from an elbow injury, Mathurin could make head way on NBA Rookie of the Year odds boards with a solid second half. Through nearly 50 games this season, he’s averaging 17.5 Points per Game on 42.5 percent shooting, with 4.1 Rebounds and 1.4 Assists per Game.
Dark horses on these NBA Rookie of the Year odds boards include Jaden Ivey and Walker Kessler.
Ivey opened the season among the favorites for this award at +500. Now that the Detroit Pistons lost Cade Cunningham (shin) out for the season, he’ll step into a bigger role. Ivey’s the Pistons’ top ball-handler now, and the Purdue product has responded by averaging 15.1 Points, 4.1 Rebounds, and 4.3 Assists per Game on 41 percent shooting for Detroit.Caesars sportsbook lists Ivey’s shortest odds at +3000.
The surprise name among those with the best NBA Rookie of the Year odds is Kessler, the Utah Jazz big man. His odds continue to shorten as the former Auburn Tiger, who was taken No. 22 overall in the 2022 draft, posts impressive stat lines like the recent 20-20 game against Minnesota. He’s only averaging 7.6 Points per Game, but ranks second amongst rookies in Rebounding (7.3) and leads in Blocks (1.9). He blocked 20 shots over a six-game span recently.His 90 blocks this season rank fifth in the NBA overall. DraftKings sportsbook provides Kessler’s best NBA Rookie of the Year odds at +8000.