NBA MVP Odds Update: Giannis Antetokounmpo Charges Into The Lead

Steph Curry tumbles down to third in the MVP odds race and now has three other players running close beside him in the race for NBA MVP.
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NBA MVP Odds Update: Giannis Antetokounmpo Charges Into The Lead

5. Ja Morant (+2000, Last Week: +1600) (Bet $100 to win $2000)

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Morant - who is playing out of his mind and is a lock for Most Improved this year - is the only player in the top five to not make significant gains on Steph Curry this week. It's actually quite amazing that Morant can have the type of season he is producing and still not be close to the lead for MVP.

His odds drifting to +2000 is not an indictment on his play but rather a commentary on the strength of the candidates ahead of him.

In the month of December, Morant averages 28 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.4 assists and a steal per game. Put another way, Morant is averaging better numbers over the last 30 days and on the season than Derrick Rose did 10 years ago when he ran away with the MVP award. He averages more points per game than eight of the last 20 MVP winners and still can't sniff the top four spots.

Regardless, Morant has the Grizzlies third in the West and they now possess the third-best record in the NBA thanks to their latest 7-3 run over the last 10 games. With the recent performance of three guys ahead of him on this list, it would take some kind of astronomical play for him to get in the mix. But this looks like a perennial MVP candidate for years to come.

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4. Nikola Jokic (+460, Last Week: +800) (Bet $100 to win $460)

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And now we take a look at the players who made significant gains towards the pole position in the past week. Jokic has, of course, been incredible over the last 12 games or so. He is top-ten in points, rebounds and assists per game this month and also chips in more than two steals + blocks per game.

The only things that seemingly drags Jokic down right now is that we have seen him put up these elite, never-seen-before numbers for two-plus years at this point. He won the award last year with numbers slightly worse than in 2021-2022, but we are starting to "get used to it," if that's even possible with a generational basketball freak.

Jokic and Will Barton are single-handedly keeping Denver in the top six in the West this season and they are only three games out of home court in the first round of the playoffs. This looks like it's shaping up to be a three-man battle between Jokic, Embiid, and Giannis down the stretch. My vote is now with Embiid or Giannis, but any more momentum from the Nuggets could push Jokic to the front of the line.

3. Steph Curry (+400Last Week: +160) (Bet $100 to win $400)

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You just can't have the type of month that Steph Curry is putting up and expect to stay at the top of the MVP favorites list. During January, Curry's production has dipped to 20.6 points per game on just 36.5% shooting from the floor and 25 from three. Those are both huge dips from December when Curry was at 40.4% and 37.4%.

We hypothesized in this space many weeks ago that when Klay Thompson returned it could impact Steph's play. Part of it is Klay needs his own shot which will take away some of the usage from Curry. But the other factor is that Curry put this team on his back for the first half of the season and has carried them to the second-best record in the league. Fatigue from that load is likely starting to settle in.

Expect more rest days for Curry moving forward as they prepare for the playoffs. And as that happens, Curry's odds to win this award will continue to slowly lengthen.

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2. Joel Embiid (+350, Last Week: +1300) (Bet $100 to win $350)

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Embiid has been absolutely playing like a man possessed offensively and defensively the last three weeks. That production has led pushed him up from completely off this list to +3000 two weeks ago, to +1300, and now just barely behind the leader at +350.

It's amazing how quickly these things can change, but it's the exact same situation we saw last year with Jokic who was hovering between +2000 and +3000 for a long stretch and then by mid-February he was minus odds to win.

Embiid is up to 35.2 points, 11 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.5 blocks in the last 10 games. That play led to a 7-3 stretch for the 76ers and they are now comfortably in the East's sixth seed, just 2.5 games out of first place. He is top-12 in both offensive plus-minus and defensive plus-minus this season and he now ranks fourth in win shares per 48 minutes.

1. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+330, Last Week: +350) (Bet $100 to win $330

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As strange as it may seem, the MVP race - as it looks today - may be decided by whichever of the Bucks or 76ers puts together the strongest stretch of games to finish out the season. The two teams are separated by just a half game, and with the top of the conference just a combined 24-16 in their last 40 the opening is there for the Bucks or 76ers to move up.

Giannis looks just as good as Embiid in the month of January. He has slightly fewer points per game (31.1 to 34.5), the same rebounds, and slightly more assists (6.5 to 4.8).

Around two months ago, I made my prediction that Giannis would win this award when he was hovering around +850. Odds of +330 are still solid to place a bet on the Greek Freak, and I'm not backing down now from my thoughts on the award.

I feel the Bucks are better poised to bounce up into the top third of the standings, with Giannis leading the way. But Embiid sure wants to make it a race to the finish. I truly can't wait.

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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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