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NBA MVP Odds Update: Kevin Durant Gains on Steph Curry

It's essentially a two-man race for the MVP at this point as the other contenders all took several steps back with their odds in the past week. Can Kevin Durant catch Steph Curry if the Warriors keep winning?
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NBA MVP Odds Update

With the NBA season enduring multiple COVID-19 outbreaks, there have been two constants so far in 2021, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.

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NBA MVP Odds Ranking Update

5. Luka Doncic (+5000, Last Week: +3000)

An injury that kept him off the court now leading straight into health and safety protocols (announced by the team on Wednesday) means Doncic falls off a cliff with his MVP odds; one which he can likely not climb back up.

Doncic only played in eight of the Mavericks' last 17 games and now stands to at least miss a couple more after entering protocols. As we always say in this piece, attendance is part of the grade and Doncic is failing in that regard.

Just today, Joel Embiid actually tied Doncic at +5000 for MVP. But these two share similar paths where there will be many more games missed, resulting in very little opportunity to make a move up in these rankings.

4. Nikola Jokic (+1400, Last Week: +1300)

Just to have some fun with the outstanding numbers Jokic is producing this year, I took his last seven games where he averages 27 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and two steals and see if there has ever been a season like that in NBA history.

To absolutely no one's surprise, there has never been a season where a player averages 27 points with 13 rebounds, 10 assists, and two steals. This is all-time great production we are seeing night in and night out from Jokic, but he has basically a series of eighth and ninth men helping him on a game-to-game basis these days.

The middling record for the Nuggets and the fact that they will be fighting to stay out of the play-in tournament all season will keep Jokic's odds of ever shortening to the levels of the next three players. There would have to be a significant restructuring of how voters consider this award for Jokic to make a second-half push to the top.

3. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+950, Last Week: +650)

Once again the Bucks find themselves shorthanded and Giannis is right at the center of it. Both Antetokuonmpo and Bobby Portis were placed in the league's health and safety protocols this week and have missed a couple of games each.

This clearly contributed to Milwaukee going 5-5 over their last 10 games as they have failed to find the next level against teams they would routinely destroy last season.

What's becoming clear with this season's NBA MVP odds is that the heavy favorites are definitively from the heavy favorites to win the NBA Championship. Giannis is having another other-worldly season, but with his team languishing, it's destroying his MVP chances. Both the Nets (+275) and the Warriors (+600) stand out from the pack in terms of Finals odds, and these next two guys are leading the way.

2. Kevin Durant (+275, Last Week: +450)

Despite giving heavy minutes to guys like David Duke, Jr., Cam Thomas, and Kessler Edwards lately, the Nets have still gone 7-3 in their last 10. Much of the credit for that success goes to Durant who averages 32.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists on 48% shooting during that time.

As the Nets continue to be without Kyrie Irving and Harden is in protocols for several games, the "put them on my back" attitude from Durant has shortened his odds all the way to +275, the closest he has been to Curry in over a month.

The recent news for the Nets from last week is that they may start to work Kyrie Irving back in as a part-time player in road games. Should that happen and the Net's title odds begin to shorten, we could see Durant begin to move close to the lead for MVP. His overall numbers outpace Curry, but Curry has the lower preseason expectations that he is exceeding.

1. Steph Curry (+140Last Week: +145)

While Christmas Day will be the next meeting between the two West heavyweights to determine who sits atop the conference, Curry continues to deliver the knockout punch to the rest of the MVP field. His odds creep down to +140 this week on the news that he will continue to lead the offensive charge without Klay Thompson for at least another few weeks.

The most amazing thing about Curry's numbers this year, especially his scoring at 27 points per game, is that he still is shooting well under his career averages from the field and from three. This season he is only shooting 43% from the field and 39% from three, both 4% below his career. Once there is some offensive support, I expect those numbers to float back up.

The only reason there is a door open for Durant to sneak in is that we haven't seen Curry cross into minus territory yet. Take last season for an example of this. On this very same date in 2020, Giannis was +465 and Curry was +825 to win MVP. Jokic sat at +2900. But Jokic proceeded to tear through the league in the spring and his production, combined with the Nuggets finishing third in the West, catapulted him to the top. By early March 2021, he reached -100 at many books.

If we see Durant continue to make gains and the Nets continue to roll through the East, it will be worth investing in Durant's plus odds before we reach the All-Star Break.


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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