NBA 2023-24 Rookie of the Year (ROY) Winner Betting Preview – Odds, Tips & Predictions

NBA Rookie of the Year
NBA 2023-24 Rookie of the Year (ROY) Winner Betting Preview – Odds, Tips & Predictions

The race for the Rookie of the Year award has been an intriguing one this year, with two unique and generational talents going toe to toe and each looking likely to win it at various points of the year. But as the season has worn on, number one pick Victor Wembanyama has continually extended his lead atop the list of contenders to the point where he is now virtually an unbackable favourite. Alongside his main rival Chet Holmgren and the Hornets’ Brandon Miller, there are basically only three players still with odds on most betting sites, and some have even taken them down entirely. But with a few weeks still to play, let’s take a look at whether Wembanyama is as much of a lock as his odds would suggest. 

NBA Rookie of the Year Favourites

Below, we take a look at the four best chances to win this award, and how they’re shaping up more than halfway through the season.    

Victor Wembanyama ($1.01) 

Long before he was drafted, the prodigious talents of Victor Wembanyama were the subject of plenty of conversation in the NBA world. With expectations which very, very few players in the history of the league have ever been subjected to, it would have been no great surprise to see Wemby fail to live up to the at-times unreasonable hype in his first year. He hasn’t. He has been a good player on a poor San Antonio team since the beginning of the season, though his inefficiency – particularly in comparison to Holmgren – had many questioning whether he would be a worthy Rookie of the Year award. But over the past few months, he has already taken a huge step forward, becoming significantly more productive and efficient on offence and establishing himself, incredibly, as one of the best defenders in the league at the age of just 20. And that’s no hyperbole – he is literally the second favourite to win Defensive Player of the Year in his first season.  
Wembanyama hasn’t played huge minutes as the Spurs have nursed him through his rookie season, particularly as he was recovering from an ankle injury, but in the 29.1 minutes he has played per game he has been incredibly productive. At the time of writing, in those minutes he is averaging 20.7 points per game on 46.4% shooting and a subpar but improving 32.3% from long range, while also grabbing 10.4 rebounds, dishing out 3.5 assists, snaring 1.3 steals, and perhaps most notable of all, swatting a league-high 3.5 shots per game. Since 2024 began, his numbers have been even better than that; in January he shot over 50% from the field while scoring an incredible 24 points in 26.7 minutes, in February he was at a 21.3 point double-double with 3.9 blocks, while through the first few weeks of March he went at 20.4-11.7-4.3, with a huge 4.7 blocks. Those are truly crazy numbers for anybody, let alone a rookie.  
Wembanyama has well and truly proved to the NBA world that the hype was justified, and at 20 years of age he is already establishing himself as one of the better players in the league. There is no limit to what he can achieve in this league, and as good as a couple of other rookies has been he has clearly been the best rookie in the NBA this year. He is an unbackable favourite at this point, but that’s for good reason. 

Bet on Victor Wembanyama to win the Rookie of the Year Award @ $1.28 with PlayUp 

Chet Holmgren ($26) 

The number 2 pick in the 2022 draft, there wasn’t quite as much hype around Chet Holmgren entering the league as there was for Wembanyama. But after missing his entire first season through injury, expectations began to ramp up throughout an impressive pre-season, and Holmgren has delivered on those in spades. Boasting a similarly spidery build as Wembanyama, the Thunder prodigy stands at 216 centimetres tall and weighs just 94 kilograms, but that lean, lanky build hasn’t stopped him from having an immediate impact at the top level. Playing on a team that is a genuine chance to finish on top of a stacked Western Conference, Holmgren plays a much smaller role on offence than Wembanyama, but perhaps the most impressive thing about him throughout the course of the season has been the production he has been able to create with those comparatively limited opportunities. It’s pretty common for rookies to be inefficient, but not only has Holmgren avoided falling into that category, but his efficiency has actually been a focal point of his Rookie of the Year campaign. He averages 16.8 points over the course of the season – a little less than Wemby – but those points have come on 53.7% shooting from the field and 39.2% from three-point range. Those points have been accompanied by 2.7 assists a night, while like Wemby he has had an immediate impact on defence. Holmgren grabs 7.9 rebounds and swats a huge 2.5 shots per game, and his ability to effect opposition shots extends well beyond just his block numbers. It’s also worth mentioning that 2.5 blocks per game is still a huge number – it’s only courtesy of Wembanyama’s own stats that they seem comparatively underwhelming. 
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is clearly the main man for the Thunder and has established himself as the clear second favourite for the MVP award, but OKC have not flown into championship contention on the back of just one player. Alongside the impressive Jalen Williams, Holmgren has already established himself as a key cog in one of the league’s best teams, a feat which is not at all common among players in their first season playing in the league. And therein lies Holmgren’s best chance of an upset. On stats alone, Wembanyama has him pretty comfortably covered, with the only numbers that Holmgren advocates can really point to being his efficiency, and as important as that is the gap between the two has closed as the season has worn on. But Wembanyama’s team probably won’t win 20 games and will almost certainly finish with the worst record in the Western Conference. Holmgren’s Thunder, meanwhile, are looking at closer to 60 wins and could very easily end as the number one seed ahead of seasoned teams like the Nuggets and Clippers, and Holmgren is a very significant reason why. That is his only chance of causing what would now be a major upset and winning this award. Most years Holmgren’s season would be more than enough to win the Rookie of the Year award, but realistically it’s become very unlikely this season. His only hope is that a lot of voters place a whole lot of emphasis on situation and team performance, rather than just individual output. 

Bet on Chet Holmgren to win the Rookie of the Year Award @ $26.00 with PlayUp 

Brandon Miller ($501) 

Finally to Brandon Miller, last year’s number two pick behind Wemby and someone who has improved dramatically as the season has worn on. After averaging 13.7 points through the month of November, he upped that to 15.5 in December, 16.0 in January and then an impressive 20.5 in February, all the while maintaining a relatively decent field goal percentage. His rebounds have also continued to trend upwards, while his long and athletic frame has enabled him to make more and more of an impact at the defensive end of the floor. With Lamelo Ball injured for an extended period of time, Miller has had to take on a much greater role than he would otherwise and alongside Miles Bridges, has been the Hornets’ go to option on offence. His ability to score both inside and out while also boasting a dangerous mid-range game make him very difficult to guard, and his almost Paul George-like smoothness makes him a pleasure to watch. 
Particularly impressive was a stretch during late January and mid-February during which he scored at least 20 points in every game and comfortably exceeded that a number of times. Through the middle of that period he had 28, 35 and 33 points in successive games, hitting five threes in each of them. Unfortunately the Hornets lost every one of those games, but it was certainly by no fault of Miller, who averaged 27.67 points over the six games and shot just barely under 50%, clearly showing his ability to be a number one option as his career progresses. 
Overall for the season at the time of writing, Miller’s numbers come in at 16.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Those are some nice stats for a rookie and have given the Hornets, a bottom-feeder for so long, a little more cause for optimism moving forward. But while some years that might be enough to give one a legitimate Rookie of the Year chance, with Wembanyama and Holmgren around it won’t be this year. Each of them is exceeding Miller in virtually every statistical category, many significantly, and though Miller is a talented young defender, the fact that he isn’t a 7’0” alien with arms the size of a normal person’s body means that he cannot have the same sort of impact that they do at that end of the floor. It’s been an impressive year for the rookie out of Alabama, but it won’t be enough for him to win the Rookie of the Year award.  

Bet on Brandon Miller to win the Rookie of the Year Award @ $501.00 with PlayUp 

Our prediction for this one is pretty obvious, and the tip is, unfortunately, to not bother with a bet. Miller isn’t really any chance of winning, and while there are still a few weeks left to go in the season, Holmgren doesn’t appear to have all that much of a chance either. The fact that the Thunder have performed so well is the only thing in his favour and just maybe if he has a killer end to the season and Wemby completely flops in the last few games he might be some sort of a chance, but even then it seems like the French number one pick has this one in the bag. His odds, however, aren’t really enough to justify placing a bet on it.  

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NBA ROY Betting Trends:

  • The top pick has secured the Rookie of the Year award four times in the last 10 seasons.
  • Forwards and centers (PF/C) have seen limited success in recent NBA ROY history, with only four victories in the past 20 seasons.
  • In this century, only one Rookie of the Year winner (Malcolm Brogdon, 36th pick in 2016) was drafted outside the lottery.
  • In 16 out of the last 20 seasons, the Rookie of the Year has been selected among the Top 5 picks.

Last 10 NBA ROY Winners:

YearNBA ROY WinnerPick No.
2022-2023Paolo Banchero1
2021-2022Scottie Barnes4
2020-2021LaMelo Ball3
2019-2020Ja Morant2
2018-2019Luka Doncic3
2017-2018Ben Simmons1
2016-2017Malcolm Brogdon36
2015-2016Karl-Anthony Towns1
2014-2015Andrew Wiggins1
2013-2014Michael Carter-Williams11

James is a sports writer from Melbourne, and has contributed to a variety of publications covering a range of sports including basketball, cricket, Australian Rules, golf and surfing to name a few. An avid fan of all of the above and more, James’ downtime is spent falling ungracefully off his surfboard, turning over footies and playing an out of tune guitar.

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