Upcoming Match-ups

Odds Suggest NBA Rookie of the Year Award Belongs to Luka Doncic

Trae Young defends fellow rookie guard Luka Doncic
Trae Young defends fellow rookie guard Luka Doncic (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire)
  • Luka Doncic has become the odds-on favorite to win the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Award
  • The Mavericks forward leads all first year players in scoring and is second in rebounds and assists
  • Doncic is also on pace to start in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game after finishing second among all Western Conference frontcourt players in the first round of voting 

It might be time for the NBA to start engraving Luka Doncic’s name on the KIA Rookie of the Year trophy.

The Mavericks small forward has seen his average odds of winning the award improve from -700 on December 21st to -830 on January 4th across a number of top online sportsbooks.

Doncic’s next closest competitor – if you can even call him that – is Suns center Deandre Ayton, whose average odds of +650 put him distantly in second place. Rounding out the top five are Hawks guard Trae Young at +1400, Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. at +1900 and Cavs guard Collin Sexton at +2900.

2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

Player Team Draft Position BetOnline Odds on 01/04/19
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks 3 -1200
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns 1 +800
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks 5 +1600
Jaren Jackson Jr. Memphis Grizzlies 4 +1600

So, what’s happened in the last two weeks to make Doncic the overwhelming favorite in the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year odds race?

The answer, quite simply, is that the 19-year-old Slovenian has gone supernova, scoring 19 points or more in five of his last seven games. That span included a 34-point gem against the Pelicans on December 26th in which he chipped in nine rebounds and 10 assists and hit the game-winning free-throw.

Doncic now leads the Mavs in minutes and points, and is second in rebounds, assists, steals, and PER. His eye-popping production has caught the attention of fans around the league, and has resulted in the 6’7″ wunderkind finishing second among all Western Conference frontcourt players in the first round of NBA All-Star Voting. His 679,839 votes have him well ahead of perennial MVP candidates like Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis.

Doncic’s shorter odds wouldn’t be possible without the struggles of his fellow first year players. Trae Young has been held to nine points or less nine times this season and is shooting just 39% from the floor and 27% from beyond the arc. Collin Sexton has also had his fair share of shooting woes, and connected on just 40% of his field-goals in December. His low point came on December 23rd against the Bulls when the Georgia native shot 3-16 in a lopsided 112-92 loss.

To his credit, Deandre Ayton is still putting up impressive personal stats, but Phoenix has the second worst record in the NBA and is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. His inability to lift the Suns to victory is a big blemish on an otherwise stellar rookie campaign.

NBA Rookie Statistics

Player PPG RPG APG
Luka Doncic 19.5 6.6 5.0
Deandre Ayton 17.0 10.9 2.2
Trae Young 15.4 2.9 7.4
Jaren Jackson Jr. 13.3 4.8 1.2
Collin Sexton 14.7 3.1 2.7

Is Doncic a Shoo-In for Rookie of the Year?

All signs point to Doncic becoming just the second European-born recipient of the NBA Rookie of the Year award. His playmaking, footwork, and basketball IQ are already at All-NBA levels, and he continues to add new wrinkles to his game with every passing month.

However, you won’t get any value in betting on him at -1200 at Bovada. You’re better off playing the long game and hoping that a strong month by Ayton or Young combined with a shooting slump by Doncic will make his odds a little longer.

If you can’t wait quite that long, we recommend visiting 5Dimes, where you can get Doncic at more reasonable odds of -485.

Author Image

Ryan Murphy began his love affair with sports journalism at the age of nine when he wrote his first article about his little league baseball team. He has since authored his own weekly column for Fox Sports, and now serves as SBD’s resident NBA and MLB expert.