NBA Rookie of the Year Betting Insights: Banchero Battles Ivey, Murray & Smith Jr.

Who would have thought an offseason exhibition scrimmage and glorified pick-up game played in a gym in Seattle, Washington, would so hugely impact the 2022 season? While running to defend a Lebron James fastbreak, Oklahoma City rookie Chet Holmgren suffered a Lisfranc fracture that will keep him out of the Thunder’s lineup for the whole season.

The Gonzaga product was expected to compete for the league’s Rookie of the Year award and was listed with the third-shortest odds behind Paulo Banchero and Jabari Smith Jr. He is now off the board, and the odds have shifted.

NBA Rookie of the Year Insights @ BetMGM

  • Highest Ticket%: Jaden Ivy 29.1%
  • Highest Handle%: Paolo Banchero 40.9% 
  • Biggest Liability: Paolo Banchero

Banchero’s Odds Drop

Paolo Banchero has gone from +350 to +200. Sharps clearly liked the pre-injury odds because money was pouring in on the Orlando rookie from Duke. Banchero has had 25% of tickets placed on him to win the award but nearly 41% of the handle. That means professional big-money bettors threw their weight (and cash) on the Magic’s new forward. Interestingly, Banchero is not the most bet on individual in terms of tickets.

Ivey’s Taking On Tickets

That distinction belongs to Jaden Ivey, the rookie from Purdue. Detroit’s new scorer opened at +600 before bumping up to +650 before Holmgren’s foot injury. His odds are now +550, and 29.1% of the tickets have come in on the Indiana native expected to pair with Cade Cunningham in Detroit’s backcourt. Ivey tickets have received 19.9% of the handle, the second-highest number for any player.

Murray Makes a Case in Sac-Town

The only other player that has seen much of a shift after the injury is Sacramento’s Keegan Murray. The forward from Iowa has seen more line movement since the opening odds than anyone besides Chet Holmgren. He opened at +900 and had already dropped to +650 before Holmgren got hurt. After the injury, Murray’s odds dropped all the way to +500. Of players still eligible to win the award, Murray has the third-most tickets (12.5%) and handle (15.7%). 

Wide Open Race

Holmgren has 10% of the handle and 13% of the tickets, tickets that will absolutely not be cashing. The smart money poured in early on Banchero but with his odds now at just +200, recent activity indicates sharp money is now behind Keegan Murray. While Banchero is ensconced as the heavy favorite, the injury to Chet Holmgren has opened a path of opportunity for Murray. The Kings’ new prize is an offensively gifted player on a team that will be pushing hard for a playoff position. Murray is an intriguing value pick. The preseason look of the Rookie of the Year race is set with one heavy favorite and two primary challengers that both represent sound value.