Russell Westbrook Is Tricking NBA Bettors Into Lighting Their Money on Fire￼
If, for some twisted reason, you enjoy shoveling your hard-earned money into a furnace, boy, do I have a bet for you.
Russell Westbrook, who has come off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers in each of their last seven games, is now the consensus betting favorite to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. The point guard wasn’t even listed on the odds board before the season because — well, he wasn’t expected to be a sixth man.
Now that he’s the favorite to win the award, Westbrook to win Sixth Man of the Year might be the worst bet in the NBA futures market right now.
Russell Westbrook has taken over as the betting favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year
Who saw this development coming?
Westbrook, after entering the season as a clear starter for the Lakers and not even on the Sixth Man of the Year radar, has vaulted all the way up the odds board and is now the betting favorite at +160 (FanDuel) to win the award. His price varies at different sportsbooks, but Westbrook is the consensus favorite everywhere you look.
In three games as a starter this year, Westbrook shot 28.9% from the field and 8.3% from three. The 33-year-old finished with a negative plus/minus in all three games, and the Lakers lost all three by an average of 7.3 points per game.
After Westbrook’s abysmal start to the season, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham surprisingly moved him to the bench. That controversial decision couldn’t have gotten off to a better start.
Westbrook has now come off the bench in seven straight games, and his play has vastly improved as a result. The point guard is averaging 18.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game off the bench, and he’s shooting 49.5% from the field and 42.9% from three.
It isn’t just the raw numbers, though. Westbrook looks rejuvenated in his new role, and sportsbooks have taken notice. However, if you didn’t grab his Sixth Man of the Year odds at 100-1 a week ago, you should stay far away from them at +160.
Steer clear of Russell Westbrook in the Sixth Man of the Year market
Betting in the NBA futures market is all about value, and Westbrook’s value in the Sixth Man of the Year market has been completely zapped now that he’s the favorite. Unless you enjoy lighting your hard-earned money on fire, you shouldn’t touch Westbrook at his current odds.
For one, there’s no guarantee that Westbrook will continue to come off the bench for the Lakers. It’s been a successful experiment thus far, but LA is paying him more than $47 million this year. I can’t imagine the front office is thrilled with using the second-highest-paid player in the NBA as a sixth man. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are also likely to miss time this season due to injury, and Ham would be forced to promote Westbrook back to the starting five in that case.
I also don’t trust Westbrook to keep up this level of play. His shooting numbers will regress once this bench honeymoon wears off, and his Sixth Man of the Year odds will plummet as a result.
Jordan Poole, Bennedict Mathurin, Christian Wood, and Malcolm Brogdon are all putting up similar numbers to Westbrook, and their roles as sixth men are set in stone for the rest of the year.
This is the lowest Westbrook’s Sixth Man of the Year odds will be all season. Don’t take the bait.
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