Last Updated on March 8, 2021


The first half of the 2020-2021 NBA schedule has passed. There will be a break until the second half, that is considered this year’s All Star Break. While usually over Valentine’s Day weekend, this year’s All Star break was moved to March due to schedule changes of course.

With that said, a mid-March break gives us a chance to reflect on the first half and apply that value to the NBA futures markets, with prices that can be taken advantage of before the second half of the season starts. Let’s take a look at our NBA first half awards, and a look at the futures markets of these awards on DraftKings Sportsbook to take advantage of the value.



NBA First Half Awards 2021

Every year, the NBA has five awards that sees their odds change throughout the regular season. Bettors wager pre-season, then during the season as the schedule is played out. The NBA awards you can wager on at DraftKings are the following:

  • Rookie of the Year
  • Most Improved Player
  • Sixth Man of the Year
  • Defensive Player of the Year

Here are our picks for the first half, and runner-ups with their current odds.

MVP Pick

Winner: Joel Embiid (+225)
Runner-up: LeBron James (+225)

The winner for the first half MVP is Joel Embiid, as he has led the Philadelphia 76ers to the best record in the east, and has had a ridiculous stat line of 30 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and over a steal and block each per contest. Embiid is shooting 52% from the field, 41.6% from three, and nearly 86% from the free throw line. No player has been more valuable to their team in the first half, and Embiid takes home the first-half award.

Bet on Embiid to win MVP at DraftKings Sportsbook.


Rookie of the Year Pick

Winner: LaMelo Ball (-500)
Runner-up: Tyrese Haliburton (+600)

LaMelo Ball has been incredible for the Charlotte Hornets, averaging 16 points, six rebounds, and six assists per game while shooting 45% from the floor and nearly 38% from three. That is terrific for a player of his age, and the Hornets are currently in the playoff race because of it. Haliburton has been a surprise, but at +600 odds to Ball’s -500, it’s nearly a lock for Ball to win at this point. Despite a ton of juice of -500, that should be much higher given Ball’s recent play.


Most Improved Player 2021

Winner: Jeremi Grant (-230)
Runner-up: Julius Randle (+700)

While Christian Wood is second on the odds list at +600, Randle is having a much better season and has been healthy. Grant is the clear leader as one of the better volume scorers in the NBA after being a bench player in the past for Denver and the Sixers. With that said, Randle’s numbers and the Knicks success makes him a value at 7:1 odds on DraftKings Sportsbook.



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Sixth Man of the Year Pick

Winner: Jordan Clarkson (-400)
Runner-up: Terrence Ross (+2000)

Clarkson is the clear favorite here, as he is averaging nearly 18 points and four rebounds per game off the bench. Terrence Ross should not be +2000 though, as he is averaging 16 points and four rebounds off the bench for Orlando. The race is much closer, but clearly the Jazz are a far better basketball team.

Bet on the Sixth Man of the Year at DraftKings Sportsbook.


2021 Defensive Player of the Year Pick

Winner: Ben Simmons (+250)
Runner-up: Rudy Gobert (-200)

While Gobert is the betting favorite, our pick for DPOY is Ben Simmons at +250. It’s a much better bet as far as odds are concerned, and Gobert is fresh off allowing a 40/19 game to Joel Embiid. Simmons has routinely held superstar wings to a low FG percentage, and is seen as the best on-ball defender in the NBA.



The NBA’s MVP race is a great one so far in 2021, and the odds at DraftKings Sportsbook reflect that with Joel Embiid and LeBron James both having +225 odds to win. Should Embiid win this year? Is LeBron due for another MVP award after being snubbed in the past?

Joel Embiid MVP Odds

Embiid’s MVP odds are +225 on DraftKings, but his prices vary at different sportsbooks. The general consensus has him as a clear-cut candidate, but LeBron James makes the choice a toss-up to win the award. If the Sixers maintain the first seed in the Eastern Conference and Embiid continues to average over 30 points per game, those +225 odds will likely move closer to the favorite.

LeBron James MVP Odds

There is an argument to be had that James should win the MVP every year, but this one especially with Anthony Davis being hurt and/or struggling (by his standards). The Lakers are still a dozen games over .500 entering the All Star break, and James is averaging 26 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds while shooting 51% from the floor. Keep in mind, this is his 18th year in the NBA.



DraftKings Sportsbook App is the most popular in the country!

New users get a $1,050 bonus!



Rookie of the Year Odds – LaMelo Ball Leads

LaMelo Ball is -500 to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, but those odds will likely continue to rise after his play of late. Here’s some highlights from the youngest Ball brother.


Most Improved Player Odds – Value on Julius Randle

Julius Randle has the third-best odds to win the Most Improved Player award, which gives him incredibly value at 7:1 odds. Here’s a look at some of his highlights in 2020-2021, as he is averaging 23 points, 5.5 assists, and 11 rebounds per contest.



Bet on Ben Simmons to Win Defensive Player of the Year

The debate will be Ben Simmons or Rudy Gobert to win DPOY, but Simmons’ odds are plus-money at the moment and he may have a better chance to win the award than Gobert. Here’s a few reasons why Simmons could win the award this season.


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