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NBA MVP Odds Update: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant Make Their Move

NBA MVP odds update and breakdown. A few weeks into the NBA season, who is the favorite to win the NBA MVP? Steph Curry and Kevin Durant make their move
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NBA MVP Odds Update: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant Make Their Move

The 2021-2002 NBA MVP race is shaping up to be a good one through the first three weeks of the season. Last year’s winner, Nikola Jokic, is still out of the top five in oddsmakers’ eyes, so as it stands now, The Joker won’t be able to match Giannis Antetokounmpo’s back-to-back awards from 2019 and 2020. Last week, I debuted the MVP odds column analyzing the top five along with a long-shot to win. Every week we will do a brief check-in to see who has improved their case, who has fallen off, and where the value is.


NBA Regular Season MVP Award Rankings

5. Joel Embiid (+1400, last week: +1200)

I mentioned last week that I didn’t think Embiid was long for this list, and we see that movement happening already. Embiid’s odds lengthened to +1400 while Nikola Jokic crept up on him and now sits at +1600.

The 76ers have likely already played Embiid more than they want to due to Tobias Harris and others sitting out with COVID and injuries and the ongoing Ben Simmons saga. But he is going to miss so much more time than the other players on this list. He has already been ruled out of Monday night’s game and will rarely play on one end of a back-to-back.

Except for assists, Embiid’s stats are down across the board this year has his minutes have dropped to below 31 per game. I don’t see any real value on betting Embiid for MVP, even with the success Philadelphia has seen in this tumultuous season.

4. Luka Doncic (+800, last week: +800)

The Mavericks sit at third in the West currently, but Doncic has had an even start to the season. His points and assists are both way down this year, and he has only two games this year with more than seven assists.

With Kristaps Porzingis missing most of the Mavericks’ games so far, all of the offensive pressure and defensive attention has been on Doncic to start the year.

If Dallas can remain near the top of the West standings, Doncic will likely continue to draw MVP consideration. The important stats to watch will be his assists and his field goal percentages. If those trend up, expect the MVP buzz to start generating.

3. Kevin Durant (+650, last week: +700)

Here comes Durant. Without Kyrie Irving and with James Harden having his worst statistical season since he was the sixth man for Oklahoma City, Durant is coming on strong.

Durant averages the most points per game (28.6) since he led the league in scoring in 2014. His rebounds (8.6) are a career-high and his field goal percentage (57.3%) is the highest of his career despite him taking two more shots per game than last season.

The Nets won five games in a row to catapult to third in the East which likely drives some of this movement. On my personal board, I have Durant second for MVP.

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+650, last week: +650)

Some of the reinforcements joined him back in the lineup this week, but Greek Freak is still carrying the team offensively without Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez.

All of the injuries for the Bucks have them on the outside looking in right now for the playoffs. A negative point differential has Milwaukee at 4-6 and in desperate need of a winning streak.

Antetokounmpo’s stats are essentially the same as last season, albeit with a slightly worse shooting percentage. He also ranks second in the NBA in PER through three weeks, so maybe his place among MVP favorites is warranted. But his shine will wear off eventually if the Bucks continue to languish below .500.

1. Stephen Curry (+500, last week: +575)

It’s actually not been the best week statistically for Curry, but his odds made a huge jump up to +500 based largely on the fact that the Warriors have the NBA’s best record and look unbeatable even before they get Klay Thompson back.

Curry isn’t even the leading scorer in his own family this month (Seth is at 19.8 PPG to Steph’s 18.0). Curry also is at an uncharacteristically low 41.3% on field goals and 34.3 on three-pointers in November. His rebounds (4.7) and assists (5.7) are also both down off his season averages.

But the Warriors have been able to get others more involved like Andrew Wiggins and especially Jordan Poole to chart a four-game win streak for Golden State. They score the most points in the West and only Denver allows their opponents to score fewer points.

We know a shooting “slump” for Curry won’t last long, and he should rightly remain at the top of this list for the foreseeable future.

Long Shot to Watch: Jimmy Butler (+3000)

The Miami Heat are just percentage points behind Philadelphia for the best record in the East, and Jimmy Butler is the primary reason. Butler’s scoring is at a career-high pace (24.7 points per game) and he is third in the NBA in PER while playing almost 35 minutes per night.

While he is shooting at a career-best rate (52.7%), his three pointers are at a career-low mark (23.1%). No problem for Butler. It just means more attacking the basket and making defenders pay at the rim.

Miami’s success should soon move Butler’s MVP odds ahead of players in front of him like Embiid and James Harden.


Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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