The NBA trade deadline and All-Star Weekend are behind us, which means we’re heading into the home stretch of the season. With the regular season nearing the three-quarter mark, we have a good sense of where things stand across the Assocation.
That also means time is running out to make NBA futures bets. The playoffs will be here before we know it!
Even at this stage of the season, however, predicting the NBA scoring leader can be challenging. There are several stars vying for the league lead in points per game (PPG).
Which player will finish on top and who could end up being a good value pick? Let’s explore with our 2022 NBA scoring leader odds and best bets.
NBA Scoring Leader Betting Odds 2022
Caesars Sportsbook provides NBA lines for the 2022 NBA scoring leader, which are current as of 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 24.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee Bucks (+180)
- Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers (+200)
- LeBron James, SF, Los Angeles Lakers (+280)
- Luka Dončić, PG, Dallas Mavericks (+800)
- DeMar DeRozan, PF, Chicago Bulls (+1000)
- Trae Young, PG, Atlanta Hawks (+2000)
- Ja Morant, PG, Memphis Grizzlies (+3500)
- Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors (+7500)
- Nikola Jokić, C, Denver Nuggets (+10000)
- Jayson Tatum, SF, Boston Celtics (+10000)
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2022 NBA Scoring Leader Favorites
Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins 2022 NBA Scoring Title (+180)
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are neck-and-neck for the scoring lead right now, with Embiid holding the slight edge. Embiid is averaging 29.6 points to Antetokounmpo’s 29.4.
Embiid’s numbers are somewhat inflated, though, because he was Philadelphia’s primary scoring option in Ben Simmons‘s absence. His usage rate spiked to a league-leading 37.2%, which should come down a bit now that Simmons has been replaced by James Harden.
With Harden’s presence taking some of the scoring pressure off Embiid, it’s only a matter of time before Antetokounmpo passes him. Embiid’s point totals will inevitably dip a bit as he cedes possessions and shot opportunities to Harden.
Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo remains the clear alpha in Milwaukee’s offense and should maintain his 35.0% usage rate.
It’s also worth noting that Embiid has never sustained such a high scoring average over a full season before. His previous high of 28.5 points per game was achieved over only 51 games last year. He’s already at 46 games played this season, so it’s possible he’ll wear down due to his increased workload.
Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, averaged 29.5 points per game two seasons ago, so he’s certainly capable of maintaining his current output. And with his field-goal percentage and free-throw percentages both at their lowest rates since 2017-18, his scoring still has room to grow if his shooting improves down the stretch.
2022 NBA Scoring Leader Sleeper Bets
Luka Dončić Wins 2022 NBA Scoring Title (+800)
Anyone who’s watched Luka Dončić play is well aware of his ability to take over games.
Now, the Mavs will need him to do so even more frequently after trading away the team’s second-best scorer, Kristaps Porzingis, at the deadline. Based on his trio of 45+ point performances in four games since then, Dončić appears up to the challenge.
If that’s how he’s going to play for the rest of the season, watch out. Dončić could see his career-high 37.1% usage rate climb even higher and will likely look for his own shot more with Porzingis gone.
Dončić was averaging 25.2 PPG through Jan. 26, and he’s already up to 27.5 PPG (fifth in the NBA) less than a month later. He seems poised for a scintillating finish and is suddenly very much in play for the scoring title.
DeMar DeRozan Wins 2022 NBA Scoring Title (+1000)
It’s surprising that DeMar DeRozan only has the fifth-shortest odds despite ranking third in scoring at 28.3 points per game.
Granted, that number looks a bit fluky for DeRozan, who averaged 23.0 PPG or less in each of his last three seasons. It’s also unusual to see him having the best scoring season of his career at age 32 after more than a decade in the NBA.
That said, DeRozan did average 27.3 PPG with the Toronto Raptors in 2016-17, so it’s not like this campaign came out of nowhere. His usage rate is the second-highest of his career at 31.8%, he’s shooting a career-best 35.3% from three, and he’s emerged as the go-to scoring option on a Bulls team that ranks seventh in scoring.
It seems the odds haven’t caught up to the fact that DeRozan is averaging 35.9 PPG in February, making him a great value pick. If he continues that pace over the next two months, he could very well be the NBA scoring leader when it’s all said and done, making DeRozan our NBA bet of the day.
Trae Young Wins 2022 NBA Scoring Title (+2000)
Trae Young is another player being underrated by the sportsbooks. He got off to a slow start this year but has turned things around, scoring 28.9 PPG since Nov. 22 to bring his season average up to 27.6.
While Young still has some ground to make up, he’s trending in the right direction. As Atlanta’s point guard, he constantly has the ball in his hands and is always a threat for a monster scoring night thanks to his hefty 34.9% usage rate.
Young has already topped 40 points five times this season, including an epic 56-point explosion back on Jan. 3. With a few more games like that, his scoring average will continue to rise.
At just 23 years old and in his fourth NBA season, Young is already fully capable of winning a scoring title. He averaged 29.6 PPG two seasons ago, which would tie him for the league lead this year if he’s able to replicate it.