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Wolves’ Jarrett Culver Goes from 16-1 to 28-1 in NBA Rookie of the Year Odds Despite Pre-Draft Hype

Jarrett Culver
Jarrett Culver's Rookie of the Year odds have lengthened over the last two weeks. Is he still worthy of a wager? Photo from @ESPNStatsInfo (Twitter)
  • Jarrett Culver landed with the Timberwolves on a draft day trade
  • Culver was the Big 12 Player of the Year last season with Texas Tech 
  • Do his longer odds make for a better value wager?

Maybe the oddsmakers know something that we don’t.

How else can they explain how shiny new Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Jarrett Culver’s 2020 Rookie of the Year Odds plunged from +1600 on June 21st to +2800 on July 3rd?

2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds

Player Team Draft Position 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds at Bovada
Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans 1 -155
Ja Morant Memphis Grizzlies 2 +333
RJ Barrett New York Knicks 3 +450
Darius Garland Cleveland Cavaliers 5 +1500
De’Andre Hunter Atlanta Hawks 4 +1800
Jarrett Culver Minnesota Timberwolves 6 +3000

*Odds taken 07/03/19

There are literally no meaningful games on the horizon for the months – unless you’re counting Summer League, which you shouldn’t.

Culver is still the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year, a stellar two-way star that led Texas Tech to its first Final Four appearance ever, and a few plays from the Red Raiders’ first-ever national title. He’s also uninjured, and waiting for the necessary paperwork to go through from a draft day trade to officially get onto the Wolves’ Summer League roster, which is set for July 6th.

What gives?

Situation Matters in Minnesota

Culver will be moving into a situation where he will be clearly a second (or even third) fiddle on the Wolves’ roster. Such is the plight when Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are eating up over $54 million in cap space in max deals. They will need to be fed.

Incumbent point guard Jeff Teague isn’t exactly the table-setter that can unlock some of the athleticism and scoring prowess Culver possesses in his lanky 6’5″ frame, one that helped him to average 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 46.1% shooting from the floor as a sophomore in Lubbock.

Compare that to what his other high draft pick classmates are dealing with: Zion is the man and David Griffin has already built an impressive roster around his prized centerpiece; ditto Ja Morant, who’ll be the lead figure in a Memphis big three with Jaren Jackson Jr. and fellow rookie stud Brandon Clarke; and RJ Barrett will get all the shots he wants in that barren wasteland of New York as the Knicks try to regroup after another demoralizing offseason.

Even De’Andre Hunter could co-star with teammate Trae Young.

Sorry, but I don’t have an explanation for Darius Garland at +1500, who should be up against fellow rook Kevin Porter Jr. for shine in Cleveland.

Are Culver’s New Odds Worthy of a Wager?

I’ve said before that this ROTY race doesn’t get past the first three of Zion, Ja and RJ. However, if you are searching for value, Culver isn’t exactly a bad choice.

We’ve already seen Towns collapse in limited playoff action, and Wiggins is what Minnesota is hoping Culver isn’t.

If he is ready for prime time, Culver could be one of the league’s top two-way players, and if his scoring prowess really takes off right away at the pro level, you’re looking at a team competing in the playoffs and an all-star get for the Wolves.

At that range (+3000), Culver’s head and shoulders above a field with less accomplished players like Cam Reddish (+3500), Jaxson Hayes (+4000) and Rui Hachimura (+4000).

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