NBA MVP Odds Update: Nikola Jokic Joins the Top 5

After the first month of the 2021 NBA season, NBA expert Ryan Kirksey breaks down the latest NBA MVP odds and rankings. He updates us on the latest here.
Ryan Kirksey |
Tue, November 16, 2:18 PM EST | 4 min read
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NBA MVP Odds Update: Nikola Jokic Joins the Top 5

In just a short seven-day span since the last MVP odds column came out, there has been massive movement among the top five. One player expectedly dropped out, another leapfrogged a former MVP, and the favorite solidified his case with some incredible individual and team performances. So let’s dive in this week to see where we stand and where we can find some value.

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NBA Regular Season MVP Award Rankings

5. Nikola Jokic (+1400, Last Week: Unranked)

As predicted in this spot last week, Joel Embiid (+2000, +1400 last week) is now firmly out of the top five in MVP odds. Nevertheless, the Joker is a worthy addition to this list and brings him one step closer to repeating as MVP after winning last season.

Jokic has carried the Nuggets after the loss of Jamal Murray and now deals with injuries to Michael Porter, Jr. and Will Barton as well. His usage with all of these players out will be off the charts and will certainly help propel him up this list.

Over the last three games, Jokic’s usage has jumped from 29% to 31.9%, and he averages 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 9.5 assists. Jokic certainly has the opportunity to continue putting up these stats and jumping a couple of players on this list. But a second- or third-place finish is probably his ceiling, barring injury to others.

4. Luka Doncic (+1000, Last Week: +800)

Speaking of usage monsters, Doncic’s usage in his last seven games is an astounding 36%. He has also led his team to a 5-2 record in that span, bumping them up to fourth in the West.

Doncic’s numbers in his last seven are almost as impressive as Jokic. He is at 27 points, 8.1 rebounds, 8.1 assists, and 1.4 steals. In addition, he has an almost unheard-of 43.2% assist ratio that means he is responsible for close to 70% of the Mavericks points in recent weeks.

Eight or nine years ago, Doncic would have been an overwhelmingly heavy favorite for MVP, but we are in the golden age of do-it-all NBA players who also put up close to a triple-double every night. As a result, I see Doncic hovering in this fourth- to fifth-best odds all season long.

3. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+800, Last Week: +650)

So the Greek Freak’s MVP odds lengthen, and he is passed by Kevin Durant after an unbelievable statistical week.

Over his past four games, Giannis had a 33.3% usage rate, 24 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and 1.7 blocks per game. Ordinarily, that would bump you up an MVP list, but the Bucks continue to struggle with injuries and inconsistency, likely hampering Giannis’ chances.

The Bucks are languishing in 11th place, even out of the play-in tournament with a 6-8 record. Presumably, once healthy, Milwaukee will make their move, but it may be too late for the MVP race considering the massive leaps from the two guys ahead of him.

2. Kevin Durant (+500, Last Week: +650)

The Brooklyn Nets made a significant push up the standings the last two weeks, likely helping Durant’s rise to near the top of the MVP odds. Are the Nets tied for first in the East with (….checks notes….) the Wizards? Many assume that the Nets will take their predicted place atop the East standings soon, and Durant has and will continue to be a major contributor.

The people like players who score points, and Durant has certainly been on a tear in that department. He is at 32.3 points per game over his last four, pushing his season average to 29.6 points, ranking first in the NBA.

Durant is shooting an unbelievable 58.6% from the floor, including 42.4% from three. That might dip a bit during the marathon of the regular season, but it’s clear this will be one of Durant’s masterpiece campaigns.

1. Steph Curry (+300, Last Week: +500)

If you want points, however, Curry has been your man. Over the last four games, Curry is the only player who has bested Durant. Curry is at 34.8 points per game, highlighted by a 50-spot previous week.

That scoring binge plus an unmatched 11-2 record by the Warriors significantly shortened Curry’s odds down to +300 after he moved down to +500 the week before. But it’s not just scoring. Curry’s 6.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game this year are both his highest since the magical 2015-2016 season.

Unless he suffers an injury, this is Curry’s award to lose, so it might be worth jumping on a bet before the odds drop down to +200 or below after the calendar turns to 2022.

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