Tue, Nov 28, 1:44pm by Head Editor
Online bookmaker Sportsbet are so confident that Australia’s Ben Simmons will win the NBA’s rookie of the year award, that they’ve already paid out $87,000 to almost 1,000 customers.
The Melbourne-born 21-year-old started the season as the second favourite at $4 to take out the award, behind Los Angeles Laker Lonzo Ball, but a stunning start to his campaign, has seen him move into $1.08 to join the greats, by winning the prestigious award.
The biggest bet that was placed on the Aussie was $20,000, at odds ranging from $3 to $1.25, which sees $36,380 enter the account of one savvy speculator.
The 208-centimetre Simmons has averaged 18.5 points, eight assists and nine rebounds per game, will join the likes of Kyrie Irving, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Lebron James if he is named as the best first year player.
Speaking of Lebron James, it was a case of master versus apprentice when Simmons took on Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday (AEDT) for the first time in his 17-game NBA career.
James, the four-time NBA all-star, and last season’s Eastern Conference Champions got the better of the 76ers, as did the veteran, when the Aussie was called for a dubious charge while driving at The King early in the third quarter.
Simmons and James have known each other for a long time, the Aussie refers to The King as his “big brother”, and signed with James’ business partner Rich Paul at Klutch Sports agency.
James finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds while Simmons could only manage 10 and eight respectively in his club’s 113-91 loss at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Centre.
The Sixers drop to 11-8 with the loss, while the win was Cleveland’s eighth in a row, and sees them move up to third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
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