In an extraordinary shift in the NBA's betting landscape, Victor Wembanyama has entered his debut season as the first player to be an odds-on favorite for the Rookie of the Year title since the legendary Kevin Durant in 2007.
This newfound fame comes after a recent surge of betting interest, raising many an eyebrow in the sports industry.
A Phenomenon in the Making
Wembanyama, the fresh-faced talent of the San Antonio Spurs, is pegged at around a -150 favorite to clinch the prestigious award, according to several sportsbooks.
To give some perspective on this remarkable feat, Kevin Durant was a -200 favorite heading into his rookie season, as per records from the betting odds archive, SportsOddsHistory.com. However, the journey to the top hasn't been smooth for Wembanyama.
Over the past month, his odds seemed to be waning, inching closer to other notable contenders such as Chet Holmgren and Scoot Henderson, both placed at +300. Just last week, his chances sat at +120 with DraftKings – the longest odds he's seen in the preseason.
But things took a turn after Wembanyama's stellar performance in the last preseason match. "We did see a surge in action on Wemby, after his last preseason performance," revealed David Lieberman, who is in charge of NBA odds for Caesars Sportsbook.
He further added, "Pretty much every Wemby market was bet up after his game against the Warriors, especially in defensive award markets following his impressive five blocks." Currently, the prodigious player stands at 12-1 odds to win the title of Defensive Player of the Year with Caesars Sportsbook.
Ripple Effect on the Spurs
Despite Wembanyama's rising stardom, the San Antonio Spurs still face steep odds, holding a 150-1 chance of securing the NBA title, as cited by the SuperBook. Yet, the young rookie's presence has undeniably reenergized the team's betting scene.
Jeff Sherman, a seasoned NBA oddsmaker for the SuperBook in Las Vegas, commented, "We've been getting support on the Spurs every which way because of Wembanyama." He noted the unusual amount of support the Spurs have been receiving, attributing it solely to Wembanyama's influence.
Having witnessed Wembanyama's prowess against the Warriors, Sherman felt compelled to alter his Rookie of the Year odds for him, shifting from +120 to -150, mentioning, "Plus-money on him seemed too inviting." Only time will tell if Wembanyama can live up to these soaring expectations, but for now, his impact on the game and the betting world is undeniable.