With the new NBA season just a matter of weeks away from commencing, there will be plenty of betting attention from fans from across the world.
There are plenty of different markets that fans can place outright wagers on over the course of the season, such as the Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and the overall winner of the NBA Championship.
Additionally, there is the small matter of the NBA Most Valuable Player award, which is one of the most coveted individual awards that you can win as an NBA player. There is the opportunity for bettors to place wagers on who they believe will win the MVP award throughout the course of the season, with odds beginning to vary once player’s performances are taken into account.
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Last season, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic won the MVP after an outstanding regular season that saw him play in all 72 games. Below, we will be taking a closer look at the top contenders for the NBA MVP award and their current odds with the oddsmakers.
1. Luka Doncic – 15/4
Just as was the case last season, Luka Doncic comes into the new year as the oddsmakers favourite to win the MVP award. Doncic took yet another leap last season, particularly in the Playoffs where he averaged 35.7 ppg, 10.3 apg and 7.9 rpg in their first round exit against the Los Angeles Clippers. While Doncic may not be able to replicate those sorts of numbers over the course of the entire season, there is the feeling that he could match Russell Westbrook in one day averaging a triple double over the course of the season. He is on a Dallas Mavericks team that didn’t improve exponentially over the offseason, but the Slovenian’s outstanding performance with his national team at the Olympics suggests he himself could take the team up a gear.
2. Steph Curry – 11/24
It says everything you need to know about Steph Curry’s performances for the Golden State Warriors last season that he was in the MVP conversation without his team being in the Playoffs. Curry couldn’t quite drag his team into the postseason through the play-in tournament after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, but he did claim the scoring title after averaging 32 points per game. This season he will have Klay Thompson back alongside him as well as a rejuvenated roster that should certainly see them in the hunt for home court advantage in the Playoffs at the very least. Now 33, there is still plenty of life left in Curry who remains in the prime of his career and has every chance of winning a third MVP of his career.
3. Joel Embiid – 13/2
Joel Embiid was the favourite to win MVP for much of last season before injuries ultimately gave the initiative to eventual winner Jokic. He averaged a career-high 28.5 points per game last season and coach Doc Rivers really looked to have lit the fire under the Cameroonian big man. The makeup of the roster surrounding him this season still remains unclear with it appearing almost inevitable that Ben Simmons will be traded after a hugely disappointing performance in the offseason. However, if the Sixers are able to find a more complimentary ball handler with the ability to shoot and stretch the floor, it could well boost Embiid’s MVP chances over the uncomfortable fit that existed between him and Simmons.
4. Kevin Durant – 15/2
In the eyes of many, Kevin Durant is now the best player in the NBA after a stellar showing despite defeat against the Milwaukee Bucks. It is incredible to see the way that he has responded to what many would’ve thought was a catastrophic achilles injury, with Durant looking arguably better than what he did before. The one reason why he is likely a bigger price of 15/2 is the concern around his health, as Durant only played 35 regular season games last year. When he did play though, he looked every inch the unstoppable scoring force that he was previously and there certainly looks to be good value for all bettors in him winning the MVP.
5. Giannis Antentokounmpo – 15/2
Another player who will put his hat in the ring for being the best player in the NBA is the current reigning NBA Champion and Finals MVP, Giannis Antentokounmpo. The 26-year-old will be on cloud nine as we enter this new NBA season and will have that champion’s confidence to add to his already relentless mentality. Giannis has already won two regular season MVP awards in his career, as well as winning Defensive Player of the Year and there was a feeling of voter fatigue surrounding him last season despite putting up comparable numbers to his MVP season. Now having an NBA title to his name, it will be impossible to ignore Giannis the MVP race this time around if he were to continue to grow and build on last season’s championship.
6. LeBron James – 12/1
LeBron James is somewhat surprisingly a 12/1 shot to win the MVP this season despite being the favourite to win the award for the first half of last season. James’ season was unfortunately slowed down by injuries that led to the Los Angeles Lakers being eliminated in the first round of the Playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. This season, the Lakers have a completely new-look team after acquiring Russell Westbrook via trade as well as a number of new role players that have helped make them the favourite to win the Western Conference. Should the Lakers be the top seed in the Western Conference during the regular season then expect James to get plenty of MVP buzz.