The NBA 2022-23 regular season tips off Tuesday, Oct. 18th so it’s time to wrap our betting futures portfolio.
Most of these bets will be 1/4- to 1/2-unit “sprinkles” since my preference is betting on the regular season and playoff games.
Below, I’ll run through the season award betting markets, give analysis and make predictions.
- MVP odds used courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
There are five names ahead of my bet to win NBA MVP — Warriors’ Steph Curry (+1200) — but I can easily make a case Curry’s price has better value.
Curry has a clear path to winning the NBA MVP. Golden State needs to be a top-two seed in the West and Curry’s shooting numbers need to be at their career averages. Both are obviously within reach.
He shot career worsts from the field, 43.7% (minimum of 27 games played) last season, and from behind the arc, 38.0%, but still averaged 25.5 points per game (PPG).
Curry could easily average 27-29.0 PPG if his shooting rates return to their career averages this season. Also, the Warriors’ offense should be more potent in 2022-23.
Splash Bro, Klay Thompson, is healthy entering the season for the first time in years and Golden State is expecting improvements from Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.
Lastly, Curry is at the peak of his powers. All of Curry’s per-game stats and shooting rates improved from the regular season to the playoffs last year. His basketball IQ, creativity, shotmaking and balance are at their best, regardless of Curry’s age.
BET: Warriors’ Steph Curry (+1400) at PointsBet Sportsbook
PS: I’m taking a flyer on Clippers wing Kawhi Leonard (+2500) TO WIN NBA MVP at DraftKings based on straightforward logic.
Kawhi is tied for the 10th-best odds to win the MVP and there aren’t 10 better NBA players when he’s fully healthy.
The last time we saw Kawhi play was in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Leonard had the best PER, 7th-best true shooting percentage, and 2nd-best Win Shares Per 48 minutes of that postseason.
Kawhi’s probable “load management” this season is the reason for the 25-to-1 payout. But, if Leonard plays 70-plus games and the Clippers are the 1-seed, Kawhi is going to be an NBA MVP finalist.
‘Sprinkle’: Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard (+2500) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Sixth Man of the Year
Warriors SG Jordan Poole (+400) is the favorite at most sportsbooks and should be. Miami Heat SG Tyler Herro (+800) won this award running away last season. However, by the end of the playoffs, Poole became the league’s best 6-man.
But, let’s take a shot on Clippers SF Norman Powell (+1100), who could be a starter for a non-playoff team. Powell has a ton of game; he can dribble penetrate, catch-and-shoot, and finish at the rim.
Clippers All-Stars Paul George and Leonard typically miss games during the regular season. Powell can beef up his numbers when PG or Kawhi take a night off. In fact, he averages 16.6 PPG as a starter.
BET: Clippers SF Norman Powell (+1100) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Another player worth dropping a 1/5th-unit on would be Brooklyn Nets combo guard Cameron Thomas. This guy put the fear of god in me last season because it felt like we went off every time I bet against the Nets.
Allegedly, his teammates like his moxie and, with Brooklyn’s injury luck, Thomas could end up in the starting 5 several times this season. In two starts last year, Thomas put up 15 and 27 points. He scored at least 20 points in 10 of his 67 games played.
‘Sprinkle’: Brooklyn Nets SG Cameron Thomas (+15000) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Defensive Player of the Year
This is the only season-award market I won’t have action in. Here is DraftKings Sportsbook’s top-10 Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) option by the odds:
Honestly, I have no pushback on these rankings but my official pick is Warriors F Draymond Green (+1500) because he has to.
Draymond is in a contract year and just saw teammates Poole and Andrew Wiggins get extended with the money he was expecting. But, Green’s role is solidified with Golden State.
The only chance Green gets the extension he wants is by doing what he does best: Defense. Draymond won NBA DPOY 2016-17 and has the best defensive box +/- among active players.
PICK: ‘LEAN’ Warriors’ Draymond Green (+1500)
Coach of the Year
I’m high on the New Orleans Pelicans entering 2022-23. If the Pelicans earn a non-play-in postseason berth, someone in NOLA is due praise. The Pelicans are stacked with talent
You could make an argument New Orleans Pelicans coach Willie Green (+1500) should’ve won this award in 2021-22 based on his team’s midseason turnaround.
The Pelicans started last season 1-12 before finding their way into the postseason play-in tourney and advancing to the NBA playoffs. Green will benefit from the momentum he built last season.
A lot of NBA players spoke about Green glowingly after playing his Pelicans. This is more of a hunch but Green played 12 years in the NBA from 2003-15 and he strikes me as a guy destined to be a coach.
I’d imagine Green stuck around the locker room and gave interviews to beat reporters and built relationships with the media knowing he’d be a coach one day.
Finally, he has a clear path to winning Coach of the Year. If the Pelicans are champions of a winnable Southwest Division with no title contenders, then Green is definitely a top-3 candidate.
BET: Pelicans coach Willie Green (+1500) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Most Improved Player of the Year
New York Knicks SF RJ Barrett to have his breakout season and win Most Improved Player of the Year (MIP) is my favorite NBA future wager.
Barrett is the most likely player to realize my 4-Year Pop Theory, which I discussed earlier this month for a MIP handicap.
If Barrett continues his improvement — he’s increased by 2.4 points per game in each of his first three seasons — then he’ll have the numbers to take this award.
BET: Knicks SF RJ Barrett (+2500) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Rookie of the Year
This is the season award market that I have the least conviction on. I’m not an avid college basketball fan nor do I spend a lot of time watching the NBA Summer League or preseason. That said, my pick is Sacramento Kings SF Keegan Murray (+550).
He led the Big Ten last season with 23.5 PPG. Also, Murray led all NBA rookies in effective field goal shooting (eFG%) during the preseason at a ridiculous 91.2% eFG% with a minimum of 20.0 minutes per game.
More importantly, Murray’s team isn’t good and could trade any veteran contributors to contenders at the trade deadline, opting for tank mode. This could clear the runway for high Murray usage.
Pick: ‘Lean’ Kings SF Keegan Murray (+550) at DraftKings Sportsbook
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