NBA MVP Odds Update: Steph Curry Widens the Gap
The leader in the NBA MVP clubhouse is widening his lead thanks to the Warriors winning nine of their last 10 games and Curry going on an extreme hot streak in four of his last five games. There are only a couple things standing in the way of Curry running away with this award now. First, Klay Thompson and James Wiseman come back and the Warriors are so dominant Curry starts taking games off down the stretch. Second, injury.
If Curry can hold off those two variables, the rest of the players on this list have a very steep climb to try to catch him.
Luka Doncic (+1600, Last Week: +1000)
Doncic’s injury that has kept him out the past three games puts a real damper on any positive momentum he had coming into mid-November. Before the injury, Doncic had three straight double-doubles, all with at least eight rebounds and two steals.
Now the Mavericks will likely look to rest him whenever they can to make sure the quad injury is fully healed and Doncic can be ready for the playoffs. The Mavericks have shown a multi-year pattern of resting guys like Kristaps Porzingis anyway, so it won’t be a surprise when Doncic plays just 55 of Dallas’ remaining 66 games.
Even without the injury, Doncic’s numbers from last year have taken a dive. He averages fewer points and assists and has a lower field goal percentage and free throw percentage. Should he miss many more games, Jimmy Butler (+3000) may pass him.
Nikola Jokic (+1000, Last Week: +1400)
As crazy as it sounds, Jokic’s numbers are even better than they were last year in his MVP-winning campaign. He is up to 26.4 points, 13.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists, a 59.3% field goal percentage and 41% on threes.
The problem is Jokic looks to be the last man standing for the Nuggets after being decimated with injuries. Jamal Murray was already out for likely the whole season. Now Michael Porter, Jr. may miss the season, leaving the Nuggets shorthanded on offense and defense.
It all amounts to four losses in a row, and a tumble to sixth in the West. Jokic, of course moves up due to his elite play and Doncic’s injury. But if his team flounders while his MVP odds shorten at the same time, there will be no value here.
Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+800, Last Week: +800)
Giannis got his reinforcements mostly back within the last week or so, and the additions of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday helped lead the Bucks to a three-game win streak and seventh in the East.
Similar to Curry, Giannis has been so unbelievably dominant this season, it’s amazing to think that he is in one of his worst shooting slumps of his career. Giannis is shooting “only” 50.7% from the floor (was at 56.9% last season) and is shooting 29.2% from three (30.3% last year).
It is mind-boggling to think that a player could put up 28 points, 12 rebounds, almost six assists and two blocks per game and might not finish in the top-two of MVP voting. I’m expecting Antetokuonmpo to hover in the +750 area the rest of the season while oddsmakers wait and see if anything happens to the two players ahead of him.
Kevin Durant (+500, Last Week: +500)
Durant maintains his spot in the number two slot thanks not only to his own production, but to Brooklyn flying up the standings to number two in the East, just a tiebreaker behind Chicago for the number one overall seed. The Nets have won five of their last six, with the only loss coming to the Warriors in what has to be the odds-on favorite to be the Finals matchup.
In the month of November, Durant ranks first in the NBA in scoring (29.2 points per game) while ranking only 25th in minutes per night. Among the 12 players who average at least 25 points per game this month, only Jokic has a higher field goal percentage than Durant and no one has been better from beyond the arc (45.7%).
At age 33, Durant’s PER (27.8) is the highest it has been since 2016 and his true shooting percentage (66.6%) is the best of his career. Add in a career-high assist rate (27.5%) and best defensive rebounding rate (21.7%) since 2017 and you have an all-time season that can seemingly only be slowed overshadowed by one player…
Steph Curry (+200, Last Week: +300)
Seeing Curry’s odds drop from +500 to +200 in less than two weeks deserves some analysis of why he has been so dominant this year. The truth is Curry’s season looks like a copy and paste from any of his extraordinary run from 2015 to 2019, but the advanced analytics show it could be even better than those.
Curry’s per-36 minutes numbers for this season show he averages the third-most points and fourth-most assists of his career all while coming in with the fourth-highest usage of his career. But all of the defensive attention he receives this year has forced his lowest field goal percentage (45.5%) since 2013 and lowest three-point percentage ever (41.1%).
To see that Curry is running away from this race while shooting relatively poor by his standards is frankly incredible. If he just reverts back to his career shooting norms, we could be looking at a 32-points per game average with over six rebounds, six assists and two steals per game. I hope you bought in at +500 or +300, because the drop on these odds is going to continue.
NBA MVP Odds