NBA MVP Odds Update: Welcome to the Party, Ja Morant
NBA MVP Odds Update: Welcome to the Party, Ja Morant
The Memphis Grizzlies have found their superstar in Ja Morant. He makes his first appearance in the MVP top-five odds while Kevin Durant gains ground on Steph Curry in the latest NBA MVP odds.
NBA MVP Odds Ranking Update
5. Ja Morant (+3000, Last Week: Unranked)
Move over DeMar DeRozan and Luka Doncic. You've been replaced by the unbelievable season Ja Morant and the Grizzlies are having. Never mind that Morant likes to ignore kids wearing the opponents' jersey (he later apologized), the performance from Morant over the last couple of week is now too much for oddsmakers to ignore.
The Grizzlies are currently on a 10-game win streak, which has planted them firmly in the fourth spot in the West, and they have an eye on third at the moment. In the last 10 games, only three players in the NBA are averaging at least 28 points, six rebounds, and six assists: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokuonmpo, and Ja Morant. On top of that, Morant is shooting 52% from the field in that span, including 46% from three.
Morant, of course, has a mountain to climb to take over as the favorite for the award, but if the Grizzlies continue to move up into a top-two spot in the West, it would exceed everyone's wildest expectations. Memphis opened the season as +110 to make the postseason, projected eighth in the West. But one thing is for sure: he is on the right track.
4. Nikola Jokic (+1500, Last Week: +2000)
It certainly is saying something when Jokic has a "down" game as he did on Tuesday night and he still ended up with 21 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and shot 64% from the field. Jokic's main problem right now is his supporting cast. It's clear after the last two games that Jokic is being asked to completely carry the team, but even his large shoulders aren't enough.
Jokic's odds have yo-yo'ed up and down lately: he was at +1400 three weeks ago, then dropped to +2000, and is not back to +1500. The Jokers is having a truly incredible individual season, and it's laughable to think about where the Nuggets would be without him.
But all of his Herculean efforts aren't enough to move this team into probably better than sixth in the Western Conference. By the time the season ends, that will likely leave him on the outside looking in for another MVP award.
3. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+850, Last Week: +900)
In the last iteration of this column, I wrote this about Greek Freak's MVP chances.
"I am still in the camp that Curry will win this award, but I do not think Giannis is so far behind that there should be almost +800 in odds separating the two. A strong value hedge against any Curry injury or impact from Klay Thompson would be Giannis before the odds shorten even more."
Well, that +800 in odds difference is now down to +770 and Giannis is finally moving in the right direction after weeks hovering at +900 to +950. Almost back at full strength, the Bucks have moved into fourth in the East, only 3.5 games out of first. Giannis is averaging an unreal 33 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block per game in his last 10 and is shooting almost 58% from the floor.
We saw both of the chinks in Curry's armor pop up this week - slight injury and shots being taken by Klay Thompson - so the opportunity for Giannis to move up even further is evident. I still think he is great value in this +850 spot.
2. Kevin Durant (+220, Last Week: +250)
For as much talk as there has been about Curry and how Klay Thompson coming back would impact his season, Durant always had Kyrie Irving looming and now we have a small sample of the two playing together this year. The impact so far? Minimal.
Durant still has a 27% usage rate, 14% rebound rate, and 23% assist rate when Kyrie is also on the floor (31%, 10%, 26% without Irving). In the couple of games we have seen, Irving is impacting James Harden much more so than he is Durant. In Durant's last six games, he is fifth in the league in scoring and also chips in seven rebounds, five assists, and almost three steals + blocks per night.
Curry has taken a little bit of a stumble with a small quad injury and some deference to Klay Thomspon. That opens the door just a crack for Durant to make a push into the top spot assuming he continues at this elite level when the entire Brooklyn Big Three share the floor.
1. Steph Curry (+180, Last Week: +125)
If my records are correct, this is the first time since the first couple weeks of the season that Curry's MVP odds drifted back. As mentioned above, a couple of things have caused this. Missing a little time with injury never helps, and before last night's mesmerizing triple-double, Curry's shots just weren't falling.
In the last 10 games, Curry is shooting only 39% from the floor and 33% from three, way off the production that we have come to expect from the greatest shooter in NBA history. With Thompson back, this can go one of two ways. First, we could see Curry take a backseat for a bit and let Klay and Andrew Wiggins carry more of the scoring load so he can ease some of the burdens from the first few months of the season. Second, we could see Curry's efficiency and shot percentages increase as he sees slightly less defensive pressure as teams account for Klay on the floor as well.
My guess is that once Klay is back to full minutes and Draymond Green returns (he hurt his calf the night Klay got back on the court), we will see the Curry of old and he will continue his path towards the MVP. But he has certainly loosened his grip slightly on what was a lock for the award.
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.