Here’s a Look at the 2016-17 NBA Season Betting Props
NBA Most Valuable PlayerThe slight betting favorite to win MVP is Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and that guy is going to play with serious anger after Kevin Durant bailed on him to sign with Golden State. Westbrook has taken some not so subtle shots at his former teammate and the Warriors and Thunder can’t play soon enough.
In 48 games without Durant during the past two seasons, Westbrook averaged 30.5 points, 9.2 assists and 7.6 rebounds per game. If he puts up those numbers, Westbrook will win his first MVP even though the Thunder might only be a 45-win team or so sans Durant. Also in games without Durant during the past two seasons, Westbrook averaged 23.9 field goal attempts per game. No player has averaged 25.0 field goal attempts per game in a season since Bryant (27.2) and Allen Iverson (25.3) in 2005-06.
Westbrook led the NBA with 18 triple-doubles last season, the most in a season since Magic Johnson had 18 in 1981-82. In the previous 50 seasons, the only player to record 20 triple-doubles in a season is Wilt Chamberlain with 31 in 1967-68 and 22 in 1966-67.
Stephen Curry is the second-favorite to win a third straight MVP Award, while LeBron James is right after Curry to win a fifth career MVP. Last year, Curry was the NBA’s first unanimous MVP. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was second in the voting, followed by LeBron. Curry became the first player in league history at any position to average 30 points per game in less than 35 minutes per game over a full season. Curry made 402 3-pointers, shattering his single-season NBA record of 286.
I like Leonard here. Westbrook will win the scoring title. Curry won’t win MVP because his stats will go down with Durant around. James isn’t going to play heavy minutes in the regular season and will take a few games off. Leonard is the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and will carry the Spurs to another 60-win season.
NBA Rookie Of The YearPhiladelphia’s Ben Simmons was the betting favorite here and he would have been the smart choice. But he had surgery in early October to fix a broken foot and will miss at least three months with an outside chance he doesn’t play at all this year. Simmons looked really good in the Summer League this year and was getting plaudits in training camp. Simmons is the Sixers’ first No. 1 overall pick since Allen Iverson in 1996.
The current favorite for ROY is Minnesota guard Kris Dunn, but he’s coming off the bench behind Ricky Rubio. The last two years, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns both went directly from NCAA freshmen to Rookie of the Year with the Timberwolves. But they started.
My pick on NBA odds is now New Orleans guard Buddy Hield. As a senior last year at Oklahoma he led the Sooners to the Final Four and was the most prolific scorer among the major programs. He ended his college career at Oklahoma as the all-time leading scorer in the Big 12 Conference with 2,291 career points. He averaged 25.0 points per game last season as a senior, which included a dozen 30-point games. Throughout the preseason, Hield had little trouble displaying his ability to make shots. He averaged 17.0 points per game and showed no problems putting the ball on the floor to create scoring opportunities. Hield will play a lot right away unlike some rookies because the Pelicans badly need perimeter shooting after losing Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson in free agency. Hield combines background – 22 years old, four seasons at Oklahoma, sixth in the NCAA in three-point percentage as a senior – with opportunity.