NBA MVP Futures Odds and Analysis
As the season rages on we update the race and the futures market for the NBA’s MVP. There’s been a lot of moving pieces with players coming out of nowhere to become contenders and the league’s old lion fiercely fighting to keep his crown.
Top 10 odds for NBA MVP
- LeBron James +350
- Joel Embiid +550
- Luka Doncic +600
- Nikola Jokic +650
- Kevin Durant +750
- Giannis Antetokounmpo +1200
- Stephen Curry +1200
- Anthony Davis +2400
- Damian Lillard +3000
- Kawhi Leonard +3600
Odds courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook. Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $1,000!
The King isn’t quite yet to abdicate his thrown quite yet. You may remember a game last year between the Bucks and Lakers when reigning back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo made a crown motion with his hands on his head. Perhaps Giannis may have jumped the gun judging by the way LeBron James has played this season, a fact the FanDuel Sportsbook has taken notice of. LBJ has shot up the odds board in the NBA MVP Futures market. Our first in-depth analysis of the MVP race in mid-December didn’t have LeBron cracking the top-five at +1500. Now a bet made for James barely holds any value at just over 3 to 1.
Value or no value, James is having another fabulous season. The Lakers star leads the team in scoring (25.2) and assists (7.4) while adding nearly eight boards a game and shooting 50 percent from the field. Most importantly, the many time MVP has LA off to a 15-6 start and right there with the top teams in the West.
The reigning, defending (insert Bruce Buffer voice here) best player in the universe, on the other hand, has seen his odds stop and rent an apartment in Valueville. Giannis went from the second-best odds to win the award for a third straight time to a juicy +1300, almost as high as LeBron’s odds were pre-season. It’s a little bit puzzling as the Greek Freek is putting up very similar number as last year’s MVP campaign. The most significant difference is the Bucks superstar scoring, and rebounding is slightly down from 29.5 to 27.8 points per game and 13.6 to 11.4 rebounds a night. He’s putting up marginally more steals, blocks, and assists and has the exact same field goal percentage. Perhaps the biggest thing holding Giannis back is the Bucks are just three games over .500 in the rough and tough Eastern Conference.
A massive addition to the top-ten list, both literally and based on the drastic odds jump, is Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets slick passing center was nowhere to be seen among the league favorites to win the award before the season tipped off but has now made a huge jump. Jokic opened as a +3000 longshot to win the hardware but is now right in the mix with the top favorites at +650. Denver’s 7-footer was doing something no other player in NBA has ever done, and that’s leading the league in assists as a center. At one point this season, the big man was putting up 13 helpers a game. He’s come back down to earth a bit, putting up just under nine a night. Jokic is still the best passing center in league history, just edging out Wilt Chamberlain’s 8.6 per game for the 1967-68 season.
The other guy who’s made a huge jump by playing himself into the conversation is Joel Embiid. Embiid was even further back than Jokic, opening at +4000 but has given the goods this season, propping him up to the second-best odds at +550. The Sixers center has been a man possessed, leading his team to the East’s best record. Embiid leads the team with 28.3 points, also fourth-best in the league, 11.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Kevin Durant moves from the sixth-best odds to fifth but jumps from +1300, as there was still some uncertainty at how he’d fare after the Achilles tear and missing a whole year, to +750. You have to think that James Harden’s arrival hurts his chances at the MVP as the now Big Three will be spreading the ball even thinner. Not only will Kyrie Irving (+13000), James Harden (+4600), and Durant divide the votes, being on the same team probably means MVP Votes will be divided between them. The fact Head Coach Steve Nash said this week the heavy minutes they’ve all been playing “isn’t sustainable” hurts their chances as well.