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NBA MVP Odds Update: Joel Embiid May Have Just Clinched It at the All-Star Break

After a signature win just before the All-Star Break, Joel Embiid may have locked in his case for the MVP Award. We take a look at the latest NBA MVP odds.
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NBA MVP Odds Update: Joel Embiid May Have Just Clinched It at the All-Star Break

At the NBA All-Star break 76ers big man Joel Embiid continues his dominant run this season. His NBA MVP odds continue to shorten, backed by an impressive performance on the road against the Bucks ahead of this weekend's All-Star break.

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5. Ja Morant (+1800, Last Week: +1200) (Bet $100 to win $1800)

In the last version of this column, I questioned why Morant's odds shortened from +1600 to +1200 when the top three candidates made so much positive movement on their own. Well, Morant gave back all of those gains and more as he slips closer to DeMar DeRozan in sixth (+3000) than the top three players on this list.

The Grizzlies continue to keep winning, however, and after another 8-2 stretch they sit just 1.5 games behind the Warriors for second in the West. They now score the most points per game in the league (113.8) and have the fifth-best offensive rating in the entire NBA.

Morant is the engine that is driving all of this success and he is the lock of the century to win the Most Improved award this season. He currently sits at -350 with Miles Bridges at +1000 his closest competitor. His February has been outstanding so far: he scores the fifth-most points per game with just the 66th-most minutes played per game. It likely won't be this year, but in a season not long from now, Morant will take down one of these awards.

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4. Steph Curry (+1200Last Week: +1000) (Bet $100 to win $1200)

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The MVP favorite for the first half of the season continues his tumble not because of his own play, but because the others ahead of him on this list have been otherworldly offensive and defensive performers for the better part of two months.

When looking at Curry's splits, you can clearly see that the return of Klay Thompson and the step up from Andrew Wiggins allows Curry to not have to carry the full offensive burden. In January and February, Curry averaged 22 points and 24 points, respectively. He was not below 27.4 points per game in any of the first three months of the season.

With two MVPs already on the shelf, Curry is much more concerned about getting his body and his team's health ready for the playoffs. While the odds lengthen and look more attractive, his likelihood of winning the award continues to diminish based on the next three names on this list.

3. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (+400, Last Week: +360) (Bet $100 to win $400)

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Giannis finally got a two-game stretch that were not blowouts so he was able to finally give us back-to-back performances with minutes in the upper-30's. What did he do in those games? Oh, not much. Just 41 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.0 steals+blocks.

As I laid out last week, before too long this should be a two-man race between Giannis and Embiid. Not only have they been the most consistent dominant forces for the entire season, but their teams are charging at the right time.

Giannis may have lost the one-game battle Thursday night (more on that below), but those two do go head-to-head one more time this year and also seem destined to meet in the playoffs this season. Will Giannis rest more as the season moves along? With the Bucks trying to move into a home-court advantage situation for the first round, it doesn't appear likely.

2. Nikola Jokic (+300, Last Week: +340) (Bet $100 to win $300)

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Offensive rating is not a complete nor comprehensive statistic, but it is interesting that Jokic is only 43rd in offensive rating in February. Morant, Doncic, and Giannis are all in the top-10, however, so something is amiss in Joker's game.

Mostly, it has to do with the fact that the Nuggets have been wildly inconsistent lately. Yes, they are on a three-game winning streak, but that brings them to only 6-4 in their last 10 games. Jokic has completely and unequivocally put the team on his back and is dragging them to a playoff berth with no Jamal Murray, no Michael Porter, and guys like Bryn Forbes and Jeff Green playing big roles.

He does still lead the league in PER but is now just fractional points ahead of Embiid and Giannis. Considering the state of both teams, there is certainly a debate to be had of whether Jokic or Embiid is the more valuable player to their team. But the 76ers are on the verge of a top-two spot in the East while the Nuggets are struggling to stay above the play-in tournament line.

1. Joel Embiid (+150, Last Week: +230) (Bet $100 to win $150)

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Thursday night may go down as being one of the career-defining games for Embiid and certainly may have won him the MVP award for 2021-2022. With a short-handed lineup on a national stage, Embiid dropped a 42/14/5 line on 67% shooting in a win over Milwaukee. This important conference win bumped Philly to third in the East and gave them the present tie-breaker over Milwaukee.

The Bucks were essentially at full strength in that game, so the fact that Embiid led them to victory on the road will make a major statement in MVP voters' minds.

His performance, of course, has been far more about just one game. In February, Embiid averages 31.8 points. 13.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks in just 31.8 minutes per game. The scary thing is, Embiid has actually struggled with his shot somewhat this month. Averaging only 47.9% shooting from the floor in February, Embiid could actually take his game to another level if he ticks up to 50%

These are about the shortest odds we have seen for any one player to win the award this season, and Thursday's effort showed that it is certainly deserved.

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NBANFL

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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