NBA betting: Coach of the Year race contenders, long shots to consider


The NBA Coach of the Year award is always challenging to predict. While there are no specific criteria for the award, overachievement is subjective. Whether or not a coach wins usually depends on the expectations of voters.

Before betting on coaches in the futures market, it’s crucial to consider these key trends.

1. Winning games is important.

Forty-three coaches who have won the Coach of the Year won 50 games that season. Eleven coaches have won the award multiple times while only seven first-year coaches earned the title.

2. The teams that have the Coach of the Year usually see a significant jump in offensive and defensive rating.

There have been 17 notable jumps in offensive and defensive rating for teams with the Coach of the Year since 1983-84. In fact, the four of the past five COY winners have all had a team rise to the top 10 in either offensive or defensive rating.

3. Having an All-NBA player obviously increases a coach’s chances of winning the award, but it’s becoming more common to have multiple All-NBA players.

Mike Brown had both De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis on his Sacramento Kings team last season. Monty Williams had Devin Booker and Chris Paul during the 2021-22 season and Steve Kerr had Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson when he won the award in 2015-16.

Understanding the Coach of the Year race through a statistical lens is important when deciding which futures to invest in. Now let’s dive into my recommendations.

The favorite

Mark Daigneault, Oklahoma City Thunder (+120 at ESPN BET)

Daigneault was the runner-up for this award last season after leading an underdog Thunder team to a 40-42 record. This season, Daigneault has led Oklahoma City to the second-best record in the Western Conference (27-12) with MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and current Rookie of the Year favorite Chet Holmgren. Daigneault has established a winning culture in Oklahoma City with numerous playmakers and has the Thunder among the top teams in the NBA in both offensive (fourth) and defensive rating (third) after finishing 16th in offensive rating and 13th in defensive rating just a season ago.

Two contenders to pay attention to

Chris Finch, Minnesota Timberwolves (+250)

The Timberwolves are off to a great start this season with a 28-11 record. Minnesota has made the playoffs each of the past two seasons under Finch but so far don’t have much to show for it. Perhaps this season will be the one where Finch is finally recognized. The Timberwolves are the top team in the Western Conference at the moment and rank first in defensive rating. Anthony Edwards is having another excellent season, averaging 26.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.9 APG, and 1.3 SPG, Karl-Anthony Towns has been another key contributor, averaging 21.7 PPG, 9.0 RPG, and 3.1 APG. In order for Finch to have a chance to win coach of the year, the Timberwolves will have stay ahead of the Thunder in the Western Conference standings, but Oklahoma City has seen a dramatic change compared last season which might be difficult for voters to overlook.

Jamahl Mosley, Orlando Magic (+1000)

The Magic have a talented young core led by Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. The Magic are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 21-18 record. The team might be in the midst of a rough patch because of numerous injuries but Mosley has made the most of his talent this year. Orlando has struggled when facing more experienced teams but that doesn’t mean Mosley can’t course correct, which makes his odds to win coach of the year intriguing. The Magic have improved each year under Mosley and currently rank 24th in offensive rating and 5th in defensive rating Mosley. Orlando’s remarkable transition could influence some voters to consider Mosley for the COY award if the Magic can win some more games before the end of this season.

Two long shots to take seriously

Rick Carlisle, Indiana Pacers (+2000)

Carlisle has undeniable coaching skills and should not be overlooked. The Pacers are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 23-16 record. While Indiana ranks first in offensive rating, it has been abysmal on defense, ranking 26th in defensive rating. Tyrese Haliburton was in the midst of a breakout season averaging 23.6 PPG and 12.5 APG before suffering a hamstring strain that will keep him out of the lineup the next few weeks. But Carlisle can still fill the void with Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell until Haliburton returns. Indiana has continued to find success with Haliburton on the court, winning three of its past four games. Now might be a good time to bet on Carlisle.

Tyronn Lue, LA Clippers (+2000)

The superstar trio of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden are finally jelling for the Tyronn Lue and the Clippers. They lead the team in a number of statistical categories. If all three can stay healthy, the Clippers could dominate the Western Conference. Los Angeles ranks first in offensive rating and 20th in defensive rating over the past 15 games and has the fourth-best record in the Western Conference at 25-14. The team knows it is in a great position to win a championship this season. If Leonard, George and Harden can keep playing at a high level, it could bode well for Lue in the COY race. While Lue has never won the award in his career, he has long been considered one of the league’s best coaches.

Source : ESPN