2021-22 NBA MVP Odds Update: Steph Curry Takes Massive Lead
We’re roughly a quarter of the way through the 2021-22 NBA regular season, and there has unsurprisingly been plenty of movement in the futures market. The NBA MVP leaderboard looks quite different than it did at the start of the year on FanDuel Sportsbook:
FanDuel Sportsbook Top 10 Odds for NBA MVP
- Stephen Curry (+150)
- Kevin Durant (+500)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (+700)
- Nikola Jokic (+1300)
- Luka Doncic (+2400)
- Paul George (+3000)
- Jimmy Butler (+3000)
- Joel Embiid (+3900)
- Devin Booker (+4200)
- Trae Young (+5000)
- LeBron James (+5000)
- James Harden (+5000)
- Damian Lillard (+5000)
Curry entered the year with the fifth-shortest MVP odds, but he has become a monster favorite. It would be his third career MVP award. The list of players to accomplish that feat is exclusive: Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Moses Malone.
Curry has led the Warriors to an 18-2 start, and he has been as good as ever. He’s averaged a league-leading 28.6 points while shooting 46.6% from the field, 42.3% from 3-point range, and 94.2% from the free-throw line.
Still, taking someone at +150 to win the MVP at this point in the season doesn’t seem wise. Staying healthy is a big part of it, and the Warriors still have 62 games left.
If you are willing to fade Curry as the favorite, there are some appealing options down the board.
Durant is second at +500, and he’s also had an excellent season. He’s had to carry the Nets with Kyrie Irving out and Harden struggling, and he’s done just that. The Nets are currently sitting at 14-6, which is good for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Durant continues to combine some of the best scoring efficiency and volume in basketball history. He’s tied with Curry for the league-lead at 28.6 points per game, and he’s shooting an absurd 54.8% from the field, 41.1% from 3-point range, and 85.4% from the free-throw line. If the Warriors’ results come back to reality or the Nets go on a winning streak, Durant can close the gap on Curry.
Antetokounmpo is also a live dog. His numbers are essentially equal to his MVP-winning campaigns back in 2018 and 2019, but his team isn’t nearly as good. Still, they’re in the hunt at 13-8, and they’re riding a seven-game win streak.
There’s an apparent drop-off after the top three. Nikola Jokic won the award last season, and he’s put together a monster start to the season. He’s averaging slightly fewer assists than he did last year, but he’s averaging nearly three additional rebounds while shooting almost 60% from the field. Jokic will have to carry an insane workload with Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray both out for the foreseeable future, so he could very easily put himself back in the picture.
After Jokic, we start to get into the real long-shots. Of the bunch, Jimmy Butler and Devin Booker stand out as my two favorites. The MVP is an individual award, but it’s also predicated on team success. The Heat and the Suns have been excellent to start the year, which should help keep them relevant.
Butler is putting together one of the best seasons of his career. He’s averaging 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game, and he also provides elite production on the defensive end. His 2.1 steals per game puts him among the league leaders.
The Suns have been the second-best team behind the Warriors to start the year. They entered Tuesday on a 16-game winning streak, and Booker leads the team in scoring. He also ranks second on the squad in assists and third in rebounds per game, which gives him a sizable statistical edge over teammate Chris Paul. I’m not sure if Booker can win the MVP, but if the Suns continue to succeed at an elite rate, expect him to stay in the conversation.
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