COTY Odds: The Raptors are a Wagon and Nick Nurse’s NBA Coach of the Year Odds Reflect That
By: James Tillman III
The Coach of the Year race has been an interesting one. Sure, Nick Nurse has been head and shoulders above the crowd for most of the season. At the same time, there have been several changes at the second and third spots on the list.
With that being said, here’s a look at the updated odds for the coaches in the running for the COTY award based upon how their teams fared last week (Feb. 21 through Feb. 27).
Coach of the Year 2020 Odds
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Third-Best NBA Coach of the Year Odds: Brad Stevens (+800) Last Week NBA COTY Odds: (Out of Top 3)
Brad Stevens had been a mainstay on this list during the first few months of the season, but that changed once the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles started to hit their respective strides. So with that in mind, welcome back to the fold Mr. Stevens. The Celtics were pretty busy over the last seven days as they headed out West for a four-game road trip. How did they do?
Well, they began their west-coast trip with a 127-117 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. In their next contest, they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers by a slim 114-112 margin. No shame in that loss, though. The Celtics concluded their week with wins over the Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz, giving them a 3-1 mark.
The Cs have now won eight of their last 10 games overall and even more important, they have crept back into the No. 3 spot in the conference playoff race. The chances of Stevens winning the COTY award are slim to none, but this Boston squad could prove to be a formidable foe come playoff time.
Second-Best NBA Coach of the Year Odds: Mike Budenholzer (+500) Last Week NBA COTY Odds: – No Change)
The Milwaukee Bucks finished the first half of the season with a league-best 46-8 record. But if you thought their hot start was an aberration, you’d be mistaken. And over the past week, Milwaukee’s dominance was on display once again. Their first opponent was the team that many felt was the second-best team in the conference coming into the season: The Philadelphia 76ers. What was thought to be a conference finals preview turned out to be anything but that.
With Ben Simmons on the shelf with an injury and Joel Embiid battling foul trouble, the Bucks broke the game open in the third quarter en route to an easy 119-98 victory. The Bucks then went on to knock off the Washington Wizards 137-134 and the Toronto Raptors 108-97. On the heels of yet another impressive week, the Bucks became the first team in the NBA to reach the 50-win plateau.
Best NBA Coach of the Year Odds: Nick Nurse (+100) Last Week’s COTY Odds (+125)
Nick Nurse’s COTY odds continue to improve coming out of the All-Star break. Prior to the midseason hiatus, Toronto was the hottest team in the league, posting 15 wins during a 16-game stretch. And that trend has continued over the past week as well. They kicked off their weekly slate of games with a 118-101 win over the Phoenix Suns.
The Raptors’ next opponent was the Indiana Pacers – a team that was expected to move up in the standings once Victor Oladipo returned to the mix. However, the Raptors put this game away early, outscoring Indiana by a 63-32 margin in the first half en route to a 127-81 victory. From a defensive standpoint, it was the lowest point total of any opponent this season and it was Toronto’s largest margin of victory as well. As impressive as that win was, the Raptors came crashing down the earth, as the Bucks got the better of this matchup, coming away with a 108-97 victory.
After a respectable 2-1 week, the Raptors (42-16) lead the Celtics by a game for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, the Raptors have the second-best scoring defense in the league (106.1 points per game) and they have the second-best defensive rating (104.7 points per 100 possessions). With less than 30 games left in the season, Nurse is starting to look like a sure bet for winning the Coach of the Year award.