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NBA MVP Odds Update: Seismic Shifts After Kevin Durant Injury

There's been a huge shift in the latest NBA MVP odds as a result of Kevin Durant's knee injury. Where is the value currently at? Ryan Kirksey is here breaking it all down.
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NBA MVP Odds Update: Seismic Shifts After Kevin Durant Injury

With Kevin Durant suffering a knee injury that will keep him out 4-6 weeks, he drops from second in MVP odds down to sixth, kicking the door wide open for others to challenge Steph Curry for the award. With so much movement over the past week, where is the value now?

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NBA MVP Odds Ranking Update

5. Ja Morant (+1600, Last Week: +3000) (Bet $100 to Win $1600)

It's been a meteoric rise for Morant these last few weeks. Three weeks ago, he was well outside the top five, entered it last week at +3000, and now cuts that number in half with +1600 as we inch towards the All-Star Break.

Much of those gains can be attributed to Durant leaving the race, but let's not discount what Morant has accomplished these last few weeks. In January, Morant is at 23.6 points per game on 49% shooting, while contributing six rebounds and seven assists per night.

But perhaps more importantly, he has led the Grizzlies to a 9-1 record in their last 10 games and they are now just two games out of second place in the Western Conference. In terms of a pure individual team or player dominance, the players ahead of him should have a better shot at the award, but if there was an award for a player who has shot up to superstardom, Morant would be the unanimous winner.

4. Joel Embiid (+1300, Last Week: Unranked) (Bet $100 to Win $1300)

After falling out a few weeks ago and toiling away at sixth thru eighth in the MVP odds race, Embiid storms back in on the back of a string of massive performances and an 8-2 record for the 76ers.

Among all players with at least 30 minutes per game, Embiid now has the highest usage rate of all players this season (and it's up to 39% in January). His 30.5 points per game this month trails only Giannis and he is also chipping in 10 rebounds, five assists, and a block per game for good measure.

Considering how clumped together the East race is, Philadelphia has been able to surge up to the sixth spot and now are just 2.5 games from the top. Unlike other players on this list who might be impacted by other high-usage players returning, Embiid doesn't look to be getting Ben Simmons back anytime soon. It's going to be the Embiid show the rest of the season.

3. Nikola Jokic (+800, Last Week: +1500) (Bet $100 to Win $800)

Considering what we have seen lately from Steph Curry, I now firmly believe Jokic or Giannis will win this award. Jokic's odds have shorted from +3000 to just +800 in a matter of less than six weeks, mirroring what he did in 2020-2021 when he shot up to a dominant stake in the award in January and February and never looked back.

Jokic has "only" scored 23.7 points per game in January, but he is also contributing 14.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and more than a steal per game. His net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating) is seventh-best in the league among players who have appeared in at least 30 games. And he has the fifth-highest assist rate in the league.

There is simply nothing he can't do on the basketball court right now and I strongly feel that if the Nuggets were at full strength right now and not languishing at .500 without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jokic would be a lock for MVP.

2. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+350, Last Week: +850) (Bet $100 to Win $850)

In terms of a percentage of previous odds, no one benefits more from the Durant news than Giannis. He saw his previous odds chopped by almost 60% to jump to +350 this week. If not for the fact that the Bucks have dropped six of their last 10 games, we might have seen Giannis even closer to Curry.

In January, Giannis averages 31.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. Put into context, only one other player has ever averaged at least those numbers for a season (Westbrook in 2016-2017). You might remember that Westbrook won the MVP award that year as well. If Giannis keeps up this pace and Curry stays in neutral the rest of the way, it's going to be tough to deny the Greek Freak.

The Bucks sit two games out of first in the East, so if they make a push and the Warriors tumble to third or fourth in the West, I could easily see Curry and Giannis' odds flipping.

1. Steph Curry (+160Last Week: +180) (Bet $100 to Win $160)

Does this sound like an MVP performance to you: In the Warriors' last nine games, Curry played in seven of them. In those seven, he averaged 18 points per game on 36% shooting (including 29% from three), 5.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and more than three turnovers per game.

We thought this might happen earlier in the year. The sheer weight and playing time it took to lead the Warriors to their dominant first half has finally taken its toll on Curry. He isn't shooting well. He is dinged up. He is getting rest games with Thompson back on the floor. And the Warriors are suffering for it, losers of five of their last 10 games. The Warriors only lost seven of their first 34 games before this stretch.

I'm frankly a little surprised that Curry's odds shortened since last week, but that may just be the oddsmakers playing the long game. They know Green will get healthy and Thompson will start playing more. If that allows Chef Curry to continue to cook, he could take control of this race again. But I'm not betting on it.

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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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