Picking a scoring champion isn’t as easy as it looks for NBA betting fans. Russell Westbrook is the only repeat champion since 2013, with Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry and James Harden also taking home a crown apiece.
Identifying which player will lead the league in scoring takes some skill – looking at trends such as these can help – as well as luck: A player must play 70 percent of his team’s games to qualify for the scoring title.
Players such as Curry in 2018 (51 games) and Westbrook in 2014 (46 games) weren’t eligible, even if they had topped the league in scoring.
With that in mind, and the NBA’s offense scoring at an incredible rate unlike anything we’ve seen before, we present our five favorite picks to take home the 2019 scoring champion crown.
After DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL last season, Anthony Davis became otherworldly. As far as points go, Davis averaged 30.2 points on 51 percent shooting, nearly one 3-pointer per game and shot 84 percent from the free-throw line.
The Pelicans added Julius Randle in the offseason but that won’t hurt Davis’ scoring much. The Unibrow is an obvious (or be MVP candidate -- he should reach that all-important 20 field-goal threshold -- and the Pelicans look like a threat for home court in the Western Conference.
A true power forward/center hasn’t won a scoring title since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000, but Davis is unlike any talent we’ve ever seen before. If he can improve his 3-point shooting some more (he had career-highs across the board) it’s totally feasible he’ll be in the mix as a scoring champion.
Taking the 9-4 odds may not be the best value, but the post-Cousins numbers speak for themselves.
Ever since James took his talents to South Beach, he’s had a bona fide No. 2 scorer (and sometimes a third) next to him: Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Now he joins a Lakers team with plenty of young talent but no true second scorer; Brandon Ingram finished his second year strong, averaging 16.1 points in 59 games. But is the 21-year-old ready to shoulder an Irving/Wade-like role just yet?
If he isn’t, and with there being no real pressure on James to win in Year 1 with a young team, he could decide to go into scoring mode on a nightly basis. He hasn’t averaged 20 field goal attempts since 2010, but he’s still a lethal scorer (Game 1 of the 2018 Finals, anyone?) He’s a solid value at 13-2.
Since Durant joined Golden State, only he (sixth in 2018) and Stephen Curry (10th in 2017) have been ranked in the top-10 in scoring. The reason is pretty clear: There are simply too many scorers in Golden State for anyone to truly dominate over an 82-game span.
But Durant, who has won the scoring title five times, simply has too good of odds to pass up. In 25 games without Curry last season, Durant averaged 28.3 points on 20.0 FGA per game. If anything were to happen to Curry again like it did a year ago, Durant certainly could be in the conversation.
He’s getting 16-1 odds, and that’s easily worth a look given he’s the greatest scorer of his generation playing in his prime, and you can
Any thought of James Harden losing shots, touches or anything else with Chris Paul on the board look foolish in hindsight.
Despite the Rockets adding the Hall of Fame point guard, Harden took his game to another level. He increased his field-goal attempts, averaged 10 3-point attempts per game and maintained his ridiculous free-throw rate.
So, no, we’re not concerned that Carmelo Anthony joining the show is going to change anything. Mike D’Antoni knows who his MVP is and knows the Rockets offense is best when its best player has the ball. Harden is going to average close to four triples per game, get to the free-throw line 10 times a night and again hover around 30 points per game.
The Rockets offense is built for Harden. He has averaged at least 29 points three straight seasons. There’s no reason to believe it won’t become four.
For the aforementioned reasons, he’s the favorite at 2-1, but those are still solid for a scorer of his caliber.
The Greek Freak checks all the boxes of what we look for in a scoring champion. His field-goal attempts per game have jumped from 12.7 to 15.7 to 18.7 the last three seasons, and his usage jumped from 22.3 to 28.3 to 31.2 in the same span.
His Bucks are going to win games and for a time last season he was an MVP candidate; at 23 years old he’s just scratching the surface of his potential. Jabari Parker averaged 13.9 shots per game the last two seasons and is now in Chicago, leaving more attempts for Antetokounmpo.
If there’s a downfall to this bet – and why his odds aren’t better – it’s that he hasn’t shown much in the way of a 3-point shot. He hasn’t needed it, but he’s still just a career 28.4 percent 3-point shooter, with only 92 makes in his last two seasons.
That could make a scoring crown difficult to come by. Still, there appears to be no ceiling on his potential. If he continues to progress like he has, he’ll be in the thick of the race all year long. He’s excellent value bet at 11-1.
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