As we are all well aware, the NBA season is fast approaching. That means that it’s your last chance to hop on a jet to Nevada and put your money where your mouth is! Bovada has their preseason props up and they have given some Bucks odds for MVP, DPOY, and COY. I am going to lay out three reasons for and three reasons against betting on your favorite Bucks this season. After that I will rank which props I believe are the safest, best values, and which to avoid.
First we’ll start off with the biggest individual award of the NBA season: MVP. Giannis Antetokounmpo came in at 10/1 odds, so let’s take a look.
Three reasons for betting on Giannis for MVP
- Skills plus story. Obviously in order to win MVP, you need to have an unbelievable season full of achievement on the court. To the delight of all Milwaukee fans, I have no doubt that Giannis will play at (or near) an MVP-level on the court, but another reason why I like this bet is the narrative. Let us not forget that the media votes for these awards. They love a good story, and what is not to love about Giannis’ story? From his humble beginnings as a street vendor in Greece to his fun-filled journey to NBA stardom, winning MVP would be a storybook achievement for Giannis.
- Team success. Take the “Russell Westbrook Revenge Tour” of last season out of the equation and practically every MVP has been a top seed in their respective conferences. The Bucks still have a long way to go after tasting the playoffs last season, but being in a weak Eastern Conference I see no reason why the Bucks cannot be in competition for one of those top spots by the end of the season. It may be the eternal optimism you need to be a Bucks fan, but I truly believe the Bucks can get a top-3 seed, and if they do I like Giannis’ chances that much more.
- His competition. Kawhi Leonard is the favorite at 4/1 odds but I would be cautious betting on him, due not only to a lingering thigh injury but also the style of play the Spurs implement, which does not lend itself to individual glory. I think voter fatigue eliminates LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will cancel each other out, as will James Harden and Chris Paul. That leaves Russ, who has two stars joining him, that may lower his numbers from last year in the categories that the voters value most.
Three reasons against betting on Giannis for MVP
- True superstardom. Will Giannis be able to take the final, but most difficult step, in becoming a superstar? While he has made major improvements in all aspects of his game each season that he has been in the league, the bar was admittedly low during that time. Now that he has undoubtedly become a star and the bar for him has elevated, will he be able to move into the next echelon of players known as superstars? Remember, Paul George was once on a very similar path of improvement during his first few seasons in the league. While he is still a terrific player, he was never able to take that final step into MVP-caliber player that Giannis now faces.
- Team success. Yes, I wrote about this already. This award is very dependent on team success, and the Bucks have yet to prove themselves as legitimate contenders. Westbrook won it last season despite his team being a five seed, but he had a lot else going for him (revenge narrative, averaging a triple-double, etc.) so Giannis would have to play out of his freaking mind if he wants to win this thing on a team that probably won’t be considered a title contender by the end of the season.
- League talent levels. There is just so much damn talent in this league right now it is unbelievable. That means there are that many worthy players that Giannis has to compete against for this award. I would not be surprised if any of the top 13 players listed on Bovada’s prop won the award, and that says how great of shape the league is in right now.
The next prop bet Bovada put out that featured a Buck was Coach of the Year, with Jason Kidd getting 12/1 odds.
Three reasons for betting on Jason Kidd for COY
- Narrative. I am going to point to the team’s “story” once again here. In a league where coaches are often overshadowed by the players they coach, Jason Kidd is one of the most well-known coaches in the league. That is largely because of his success on the court during his 19 year career, featuring ten All Star appearances and five All-NBA First Team honors. He has arguably had the most successful career of any current coach in the NBA.
- Bucks’ youth. Any young team needs guidance to compete in the league, and with the Bucks looking to make a run at the playoffs they will need as much leadership from their coach as possible. This fact will not be lost on the voters and may benefit Kidd at the end of the year if the Bucks have a successful campaign.
- Kidd’s development. Some fans won’t admit it, but it’s impressive how far Kidd has come since his coaching debut in Brooklyn. It is hard to forget the time he “spilled” his cup on the court. If he can have success this season and prove that he is a legit coach that belongs on the sidelines in this league, I don’t see why he can’t become Coach of the Year.
Three reasons against betting on Jason Kidd for COY
- Public perception. All Vegas lines are influenced by the opinions of the masses. As I pointed out already, Kidd is very well-known. Therefore, he may generate more bets than a lesser known coach, thus making Vegas lower its number so on the off-chance he does win they won’t have to pay out as much. Those hotels did not pay for themselves!
- Stigma. The next reason I have for Kidd not winning COY has nothing to do with his ability to coach bud sadly comes back to his personal history. His debacles in Brooklyn, though years ago and for a different organization, will stay with him, as well as his off-the-court issues, which I will not get into here but are well-documented
- Kidd’s development? Are we really sure this guy can coach better than the best? Gregg Popovich is known for maximizing his roster, Mike D'Antoni is an offensive genius, Brad Stevens can draw up plays like few can, and Quin Snyder has great hair. What does Kidd have that sets him apart as a coach?
The final Buck to show up on a preseason prop bet was once again Giannis, this time at DPOY getting 40/1 odds.
Three reasons for betting on Giannis for DPOY
- Value. The first reason I would play this bet is the incredible payout you would receive if he does win it. Yes, he may be a long shot, but getting 40/1 odds is something that could make a person rich if they get lucky and have the cojones to wager a significant amount. (cue Sam Cassell big balls dance gif)
- Effort and energy. Defense is all about effort, and as Giannis has demonstrated by improving his game year in and year out, he is willing to give his all night after night. I could see a situation where Giannis averages 2 steals and 2 blocks per game, which would have to make him a candidate for DPOY.
- Voter fatigue. How many times can you give the award to Kawhi Leonard or Draymond Green? Eventually the voters are going to get worn out from supporting the same guys every year, and that leaves a window of opportunity for Giannis to step right in and claim the award for himself.
Three reasons against betting on Giannis for DPOY
- Strength of the field. The biggest thing working against Giannis’ chance for DPOY is the ability of the favorites for this award. Kawhi and Draymond are just so damn good that I could see these two passing the trophy back-and-forth for the next decade. Both of them have the defensive skills to take over games in ways I have never seen done before, and it will be tough for Giannis to match that.
- Offensive focal point. Giannis simply shoulders too much responsibility on the offensive end of the ball. That may take away from his defensive performance. You see this on other teams throughout the league, where the star player is so involved in the offense that they simply cannot always give their all on the other end of the floor and may defer to a teammate.
- Number of competitors. There are simply too many players for him to pass. Of the players listed on this prop for Bovada, Giannis has the longest odds of all of them. Despite Kawhi’s recent reign of terror, the award is traditionally given to a big man. With Green, Rudy Gobert, Hassan Whiteside, and Anthony Davis all favored above him, Giannis certainly has his work cut out.
Here is how I would rank the three prop involving Bucks posted on Bovada.
Safe bet: Giannis for MVP
No shocker here; according to Bovada, Giannis for MVP has the best odds of all three props covered and I agree. I think Giannis has a very realistic chance at bringing home MVP and think he actually has a better chance than some of those guys favored ahead of him.
Value bet: Giannis for DPOY
I believe there is just as much a chance that Giannis wins DPOY as Kidd winning COY, both very small. The payout for Giannis winning DPOY though is much greater. That is why I would say lay down a little to maybe win a lot.
Risky bet: Kidd for COY
The only way I am playing this bet is if my life depended on it...at which point I would begin saying my goodbyes. I just simply cannot see this one happening. But trust me, I’ve been wrong before and I know I will be again.