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Providence Friars guard Devin Carter tries to shoot through the defense of UConn Huskies guard Stephon Castle and center Donovan Clingan. We focus on all three players in our 2025 NBA Rookie of the Year Predictions.
Providence Friars guard Devin Carter tries to shoot through the defense of UConn Huskies guard Stephon Castle and center Donovan Clingan. Photo by Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports via Imagn.

In one of the most wide-open races in recent memory, we're making our best NBA Rookie of the Year predictions based on the best NBA odds for the upcoming season.

France's Zaccharie Risacher was picked at No. 1 by the Atlanta Hawks but didn't open atop the NBA Rookie of the Year odds.

The favorite to take home the award is Alexandre Sarr, also from France, who was selected one pick after Risacher by the Washington Wizards. But even with the French pair being the top two picks and having the shortest odds, they may not be the best NBA Rookie of the Year bets.

Rather than focus on two players in uncertain situations, I'm looking at a rookie playing with an NBA MVP odds candidate, one of the highest floor players in the class, and a stud athlete on a proven roster.

I'm also avoiding an older rookie joining an NBA championship odds contender who is catching shorter odds than he should. 

NBA Rookie of the Year predictions

Pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale; odds via our best NBA betting sites.

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NBA Rookie of the Year odds and picks

Alexandre Sarr+350 ❄️+425 🔥+400
Zaccharie Risacher+450 +600 🔥+450
Stephon Castle+700+700 +750 🔥
Reed Sheppard+1200 🔥+1100+1100
Donovan Clingan+1200 ❄️+2000 🔥+1600 
Tidjane Salaun+1200+1000 ❄️+1200
Dalton Knecht+1200 🔥+900 ❄️+1100
Cody Williams+1400 ❄️+1500+1600 🔥
Zach Edey+1400 🔥+1200+1200
Ronald Holland+1500+1400 ❄️+1800 🔥

Favorite: Stephon Castle ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Looking at the players with odds shorter than +1000, I think Castle is clearly the best rookie to back for the award. Sarr is joining one of the worst rosters in the NBA, and I'm not sure he can score enough points to bring home the award - Malcolm Brogdon is the only NBA Rookie of the Year winner to average fewer than 15 PPG in the last 20 years.

As for Risacher, he's got the opposite problem of Sarr. He's joining a Hawks team that could realistically push for the playoffs in Quin Snyder's second full season as head coach. Atlanta returns most of its rotation from last season, including five players that averaged over 15.5 PPG. So I'm not confident Risacher will get enough looks as a rookie.

Meanwhile, Castle joins a team in need of a Robin to Victor Wembanyama's Batman. While defense won't win him the award, being a tenacious defender will get him on the court early and often for Gregg Popovich.

From there, Castle's electric athleticism and ability to get to the rim will shine through. An added benefit will be the extra eyes on Spurs games this year - it doesn't hurt to have the voters seeing you play frequently. These odds pay a $75 profit on a $10 bet.

Best odds: +750 via bet365 | Implied probability: 11.76%

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Contender: Donovan Clingan ⭐⭐⭐

It may be a French duo atop the NBA Rookie of the Year odds, but the pair of UConn Huskies are in a better position to win the award. This isn't meant to be a France vs. USA take; we can save that for when the two men's Olympic basketball odds favorites inevitably meet this summer.

But I think that if you're planning on betting on a defensive center to win the award, Clingan is the smarter play than Sarr, mainly because of how long these odds are at BetMGM. He's being priced in the same or longer range than players selected outside of the top 10. 

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Sure, Clingan fell to the seventh pick and landed with a team known for cursing big men, but the Portland Trail Blazers also offer an opportunity for him to anchor their defense while being the leading rebounder and fourth scoring option. I firmly believe he is one of the top three players in this class and can be a Marc Gasol-level center.

Now, let's address the former No. 1 pick in the room. All signs point to Deandre Ayton being traded and when that happens I suspect this price is slashed to around +1200. So get it now while a $10 winning bet pays out $210.

Best odds: +2000 via BetMGM | Implied probability: 4.76%

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Long shot: Devin Carter ⭐⭐

For me, the biggest surprise of the 2024 NBA Draft wasn't Zach Edey going No. 9 or Dalton Knecht falling to the Los Angeles Lakers; it was Carter slipping out of the top 12. I thought for sure the Providence star would be one of the first 10 players selected.

I bet the Sacramento Kings thought so too, which is why they jumped at the opportunity to draft the son of Anthony Carter - speaking of sons, Bronny James is +30000 to win this award. While Carter joins a Kings squad with several proven scorers, his defense should help him find his way onto the court.

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He's been compared to Jrue Holiday for his feisty defense, hustle, and ability to switch and handle bigger players. At the same time, he's a freak show athlete that dominated the NBA Draft Combine and showed improvements as a 3-point shooter last season with the Friars.

Realistically, the odds are stacked against him. Since the award's inception in 1952, only six players drafted outside of the top 10 have won it. One of them was Michael-Carter Williams in 2013, who, similarly, came out of an all-time lousy draft class. A $10 bet pays a $400 profit if Carter does win.

Best odds: +4000 via BetMGM | Implied probability: 2.44%

Fade: Dalton Knecht ⭐⭐⭐

Fading Knecht has more to do with this price than it does with him as a player. He fell to the 17th pick in the draft but is getting shorter odds to win NBA Rookie of the Year than players selected in the top 10.

I'm a big fan of Knecht and think he was a slam dunk pick by the Lakers - especially when some thought they would draft Bronny James - yet this feels like a trap.

He's joining an L.A. team in win-now mode with LeBron James getting older and JJ Redick taking over as coach in hopes of elevating this team to a championship. Knecht will be the fifth option at best to start the season, and it's hard to imagine him getting a ton of looks - and that's assuming the Lakers don't make a move for another All-Star.

I'm confident he's going to be a nice role play for the Lakers and provide some legit 3-point shooting off the bench. However, that doesn't equate to getting the fourth-shortest NBA Rookie of the Year odds at two of our three best sportsbooks offering this market.

Best odds: +1200 via DraftKings | Implied probability: 7.69%

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Past NBA Rookie of the Year winners

YearNameTeamPreseason odds
2023-24Victor WembanyamaSan Antonio Spurs-145
2022-23Paolo BancheroOrlando Magic+200
2021-22Scottie BarnesToronto Raptors+1100
2020-21LaMelo BallCharlotte Hornets+400
2019-20Ja MorantMemphis Grizzlies+250
2018-19Luka DoncicDallas Mavericks+250
2017-18Ben SimmonsPhiladelphia 76ers+225

How to bet on NBA Rookie of the Year

Betting on the NBA Rookie of the Year (ROY) is pretty straightforward. First, pick a reputable sportsbook that offers ROY futures. Check out the odds for different rookies; for instance, if Player A has +300 odds and Player B has +500, Player A is more likely to win.

Place your bet by deciding how much you want to wager. If you bet $100 on Player A at +300 and they win, you’ll get $400 back ($100 stake + $300 profit). Keep an eye on the rookies’ performances throughout the season to see how your bet is shaping up.

Now, why do odds move in future markets?

Well, it’s mostly about performance and perception. If a rookie starts playing really well or gets injured, their odds will change. A lot of people betting on the same player can also cause the odds to shift as sportsbooks try to manage their risk.

Plus, expert predictions and analysis can influence how people bet, which in turn affects the odds. Understanding these factors can help you make smarter bets and maybe even catch some favorable odds shifts.

How to read NBA Rookie of the Year odds

Reading NBA Rookie of the Year (ROY) odds is simple once you know the basics. Odds are typically presented in a format like +300 or -150. Positive odds (e.g., +300) indicate how much profit you'd make on a $100 bet.

For instance, a $100 bet at +300 odds would win you $300, plus your initial $100 stake, totaling $400. Negative odds (e.g., -150) show how much you need to bet to win $100. So, a $150 bet at -150 odds would profit $100, plus your $150 stake, totaling $250.

Odds also reflect the probability of an outcome. Lower odds (e.g., +100) suggest a higher probability of the player winning, while higher odds (e.g., +1000) indicate a lower probability.

Sportsbooks adjust these odds based on factors like player performance, injuries, and betting patterns.

For example, if Rookie A has +200 odds and Rookie B has +500 odds, Rookie A is considered more likely to win. If you bet $100 on Rookie A and they win, you'd get $300 back ($200 profit + $100 stake). Reading and understanding these odds helps you make informed betting decisions.

NBA Rookie of the Year FAQs

Who is the NBA Rookie of the Year favorite?

Washington Wizards rookie and No. 2 overall pick Alexandre Sarr opened as the favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year. His odds are as short as +350, implying a 22.22% probability he'll win the award.

Who won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award last year?

Victor Wembanyama won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2023-24 after averaging 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and a league-leading 3.6 blocks during his first season in the league. His odds closed as short as -10000.

When will the NBA Rookie of the Year be named?

With the 2023-24 award announced on Monday, May 6, during the NBA playoffs, we can expect the 2024-25 award to be decided at a similar time.

Here are our best NBA betting sites:

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