Even before a historic summer of free agency and Thursday's NBA draft, bettors can now wager on postseason awards for the 2019-20 NBA season.
Caesars Sportsbook has posted Duke star Zion Williamson (-450) as a significant favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award. The 18-year-old is widely expected to be selected with the top overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans. Murray State product Ja Morant (+450) is expected to be drafted second by the Memphis Grizzlies and RJ Barrett (+450) is likely to be chosen third overall by the New York Knicks.
"Zion is a giant favorite, but I don't know if it's big enough. It's one of those things if I take a max bet, then I might go [much higher]," Caesars head of risk Jeff Davis told ESPN while explaining his mindset for bookmaking in such an unsettled market. "If they're willing to put up that much and let it sit for a whole year, then the price is bad. That's the value of having sharper guests, if you're smart enough to know what to do with it."
The MVP betting board contains the usual superstars with Giannis Antetokounmpo (3-1) and James Harden (+350) as the favorites. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry (6-1) will play without teammates Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, who are both expected to miss the entire season with injuries. Four-time MVP LeBron James (7-1) and new Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis (7-1) also are among the favorites.
The unusual nature of expected All-Star movement is what separates this summer from previous ones. Kawhi Leonard (6-1), Kyrie Irving (30-1), Jimmy Butler (75-1) and Kemba Walker (100-1) could all find new teams. Depending on their decisions, the odds for them or new teammates could noticeably change.
"Let's just say somehow or some way Kyrie signs in Sacramento. We all know that's not going to happen, but if you get something like that, you just turn the prop off for 10 minutes. You readjust the future market, you figure out where you are, you reprice it and you put it back up," Davis said.