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NBA MVP Odds Update: Nikola Jokic Makes a Huge Leap

The NBA MVP race seems to be down to a two-man race according to oddsmakers. Nikola Jokic made huge gains on Joel Embiid the past two weeks. Can Embiid hold him off for the award?
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NBA MVP Odds Update: Nikola Jokic Makes a Huge Leap

DeMar DeRozan MVP Odds: +4000, Previous: Unranked (Bet $100 to Win $4000)

For the first time since the very beginning of the season, Steph Curry is nowhere to be found in the MVP odds rankings. He dominated the list for about half a season, but then the three-headed monster of Giannis-Jokic-Embiid decided to lay waste to the league, which pushed Curry out of the way.

DeRozan and Ja Morant deserve the credit and their place on this list over Curry, to be honest. Over the past 15 games, DeRozan is averaging an amazing 33.1 points per game on 52.4% shooting. He also chips in 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals + blocks all while keeping the Bulls at third in the Eastern Conference.

For a player who is a five-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection, DeRozan was lacking that signature season that could tip the scales into Hall of Fame territory. DeRozan finally made it happen at age 32, and now he will turn his attention from winning the MVP to helping the Bulls make a shocking run at the title.

NBA Regular Season MVP Winner Odds

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Ja Morant MVP Odds: +3000Previous: +1800 (Bet $100 to Win $3000)

Well, it was a nice push up the rankings, but the oddsmakers have spoken here. It's barely still a three-man race anymore and Morant has fallen out of contention. It certainly is not because of any sort of decline in his play. In his last 15 games, Morant is fourth in the NBA in scoring (31.6 per game) and averages 5.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and more than a steal per game.

But Morant already has another award all but locked up. He is now -1000 to win Most Improved Player and it would be an absolute shock if anyone else won it, even if Morant were to sit out the rest of the year. Oddsmaker and voters agree here and seem to be content to let that be Moran't recognition this year.

The other issue that Morant is battling is, even though his numbers the past month are out of this world, they frankly don't stand apart from Giannis, Jokic, and Embiid. All four have been so good that it's hard to distinguish their stats if you just blindly look at their accomplishments without the names attached.

Giannis Antetokuonmpo MVP Odds: +850, Previous: +400 (Bet $100 to Win $850)

You know you have an incredible MVP race on your hands when the face of the league averages 32.3 points on 60% shooting, 12.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 steals + blocks over the course of a month and his MVP odds lengthen to more than double what they were two weeks ago.

I'm not exactly sure what More Giannis could do to make a better case and keep track with the two centers ahead of him. The Bucks are now officially on a heater, as winners of six games in a row. They are now second in the East and look as set up as anyone to take down that conference in the playoffs.

Maybe there's some been-there, done-that feelings with the two-time former MVP. Giannis is first in player PER this season, just edging out Jokic and more than a few points ahead of Embiid. Maybe this is my own anchoring bias coming through since I have been advocating for the Giannis MVP case for weeks, but I wouldn't totally rule out the Greek Freak winning this thing if the Bucks surge to first in the conference and the Nuggets slip into the play-in tournament.

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Nikola Jokic MVP Odds: +170, Previous: +300 (Bet $100 to Win $170)

Any advanced metric that doesn't have Giannis as the leader will have the Jokic. That's just how dominant both have been this season. Jokic leagues the league in Win Shares (first in offensive, second in defensive), Plus-Minus, and Value Over Replacement Player.

Jokic may "only" score 26 points per game over his last 15, but no one can touch his combined 23 rebounds and assists per night. But we're picking nits when we get to this level of dominance. All of these stats by the top three players are utterly insane, so how do we differentiate?

Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe voters look at standings, and - more importantly - standards relative to expectations. If you asked NBA followers where the 76ers would be without Ben Simmons all year, they would probably say in the bottom half of the East's playoff picture. Same thing for the Nuggets. Without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., I would expect them to be fighting for a playoff spot. Which is exactly what they are doing.

Both are so overwhelmingly great this season, that's the only thing I can find that would separate the two.

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Joel Embiid MVP Odds: +100, Previous: +150 (Bet $100 to Win $100)

All Embiid is done is drag a team that, until recently, started four non-lottery players plus Embiid to the top of the playoffs in the East. Say what you will about The Process, but before Harden came along, there was no Simmons, no Markelle Fultz, and just a bunch of projects that the 76ers and Embiid turned into a dominant force.

With Harden now in tow, they are clearly a force to be reckoned with in the East. And Embiid is paving the way with the best season of his career.

Embiid is averaging career highs in points per game, assists per game, steals per game, three-pointers per game, PER, usage, and Win Shares. He has accounted for almost a full win more than the next-best season of his career and the 76ers still have 17 more games to play.

Embiid at +100 is the closest we have seen someone get to minus territory this year, as odds-makers basically see him as even money to win the award. These last 17 games will tell us a lot, but assuming Philadelphia stays top-three in the East, Embiid is my current pick.


-110Joel Embiid
+170Nikola Jokic
+850Giannis Antetokounmpo
+2800Ja Morant
+4000DeMar DeRozan
+5000Luka Doncic
+6500Stephen Curry
+12500Devin Booker

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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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