Throughout the offseason we have analyzed a number of NBA prop bets including Rookie of the Year Odds, MVP Odds, Divisional Odds, Championship Futures and Win Totals. On Wednesday morning, the popular offshore sportsbook 5Dimes became the first prominent oddsmakers to post odds for the 2015-16 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Last season forward Kawhi Leonard became the first Spurs player to win the award since David Robinson in 1992 — barely edging out Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan. All three of those players opened at +600 to win the award this season, but this year’s favorite may come as a surprise to many fans that haven’t followed the league closely.
Rudy Gobert — also known as The Stifle Tower, The French Rejection or The Gobert Report — opened at +450 to win Defensive Player of the Year. The lanky 7’1″ center is quick off his feet and boasts an insane 7’8″ wingspan, making him one of the league’s most fearsome shot blockers.
Last season Gobert averaged 8.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game despite starting less than half of Utah’s games. If we extrapolate his stats, we find that Gobert averaged 11.4 points, 12.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per 36 minutes.
The table below displays the full Defensive Player of the Year odds at 5Dimes and will be updated throughout the season.
If you’re looking for potential value, two long shots immediately jump off the board: Hassan Whiteside (+4000) and Paul George (+6600).
Historically centers have dominated this award, with a clear premium placed on shot blockers. Prior to Kawhi Leonard’s win last season, 16 of the past 18 winners had been centers including a streak of six straight. (The two outliers were Ron Artest and Kevin Garnett — a prolific shot blocker in his own right.)
With that in mind, bettors should definitely give Whiteside a long, hard look. After leaving the NBA for two seasons, the 26-year old big man posted career numbers with 11.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. When we extrapolate those statistics, we find that Whiteside averaged 17.8 points, 15.2 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per 36 minutes. If Whiteside can remain healthy and continue to improve, he’ll be an absolute steal at 40/1.
Our other selection, Paul George, has his own set of obstacles to overcome. The 6’9″ forward missed almost the entire 2014-15 season after suffering a compound fracture of both bones in his left leg but has looked fantastic during the preseason. The bounce and athleticism are back, and George was one of the best defensive players before his injury.
George led the league in defensive win shares during the 2012-13 season and finished second during the 2013-14 season. Although he’ll be asked to play out of position at the 4, George appears to be vastly undervalued at 66/1.
Who do you think will win this award? Do you agree with our long shot picks? Please leave your thoughts in comments in the section below.