Do you enjoy betting on the NBA? If so, one of the most interesting bets you can make right now is picking this year’s MVP winner.
In general, NBA MVP races follow a set path. Before the All-Star break, the field of deserving nominees is about 5-10 players long. After this point, the KIA MVP ladder will keep getting smaller until there is a clear winner.
The key to a successful MVP bet, then, is to make it early. Right now, the NBA MVP odds are still tight, but may not be for long. Despite that, there’s plenty of information you can base your decision on.
Not sure which player to bet on to win MVP? Here are the five most likely candidates and why you should consider taking a flier on each of them.
1. Nikola Jokic (+170)
Every year, the Joker does it again. Despite spending his summers not thinking about basketball, he’s still the MVP odds leader come January.
This season, the Nuggets have hit some bumps in the road. Most of these are injury-related, with some key players missing games here and there. They’re healthy now, but they still went 3-3 in their last six games.
Despite his team’s struggles, Jokic has remained his insanely efficient self. In those six games, he’s shot 79.7% from the field and 80% from 3. He’s still averaging almost a triple-double this season, at 25.5-11.7-9.3.
With Jokic, the question is always: does he want it? At the end of last season, he took his foot off the gas to prepare for the playoffs. Though this cost him the MVP, the Nuggets did win the title, so he might do it again.
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+270)
Last season, Gilgeous-Alexander made the hardest leap a young player in the NBA can make. He went from an All-Star to an All-NBA player.
If there were doubts he could do it throughout a full season, he’s shattered them. He’s still averaging over 30 points per game, but now he’s doing it more efficiently. He’s also upped his rebound and assist rates.
Just as importantly, SGA’s play has turned his team into a contender. At 26-11, the Thunder are second in the West, only one win behind the Wolves. In tight MVP races, team success is often the decider.
On top of everything else, SGA remains an excellent defender. He has the most steals in the league by a huge margin and brings constant intensity on the defensive end. A true two-way star, he could be a great MVP pick.
3. Luka Doncic (+450)
Doncic has been the preseason favorite to win the NBA Most Valuable Player for three straight years. Every time, his team seems to let him down.
Why is team success so important? Well, statistics say that the NBA MVP almost always comes from the top three seeds. The few exceptions, like Westbrook in 2016-17, are so above the field that there’s no denying them.
Doncic is fantastic, but he’s not quite at Westbrook’s level. That said, since Christmas, he’s only had one game where he scored less than 30 points. He’s also averaging 33.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 9.1 assists.
For their part, the Mavericks are doing what they can to help him. They’re currently at 23-16, in striking distance of a homecourt seed in the playoffs. If they get there, expect Doncic’s case to become even better.
4. Joel Embiid (+800)
Only two weeks ago, Embiid was the favorite to repeat as NBA regular season MVP. When he’s on the court, there’s little you can hold against him.
Compared to his MVP season, Embiid’s numbers are better across the board. He’s scoring a league-leading 34.6 points at career-high efficiency. He’s also averaging 11.8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks.
So, what’s the problem? Simple: as of this season, the NBA requires players to play at least 65 games to qualify for MVP awards. Due to a concerning knee injury, Embiid has already missed ten games this season.
Even if Embiid comes back healthy, it’s hard to say how the Sixers will use him. There’s a good chance they’ll take a page from the Nuggets’ book and give their star center as much time to heal as possible.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+900)
As a two-time MVP winner, Antetokounmpo should be a bigger part of the conversation. The fact he isn’t is proof of how strong the field is.
Stat-wise, Giannis is doing his part. He’s averaging 31.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. The only part of his game that isn’t where it should be is the free throw percentage, which dropped to 67.7%.
His most recent 5-game stretch has been particularly strong. In back-to-back matchups against the Rockets and Spurs, he dropped 44 and 48 points. In his last outing, he scored 24 in 26 minutes against his biggest rival, the Celtics.
If Giannis can sustain this level of play, he could easily rise on the MVP odds tracker. The only worry is that Lillard is taking a lot of touches away from him, which could have a dampening effect on his numbers.
Rest of the Field
After the top five, the MVP race gets murkier. If you’re looking for a long shot, though, there are a few players who could be worth a try.
Jayson Tatum (+2500) started the season hot, and then his efficiency took a dive. That said, the Celtics are top of the East right now. If Tatum can find his shooting touch again, it won’t take much for him to be a challenger.
Anthony Edwards (+4000) is in a similar position. The Wolves are leading the West, and Edwards is unquestionably their star player. Still, you’d like to see him up his averages a bit before you put him in the conversation.
Kevin Durant (+5000) is having the best shooting season of his career. If you’re scoring 30 points per game at 47% from 3, the MVP isn’t out of reach. That said, the Suns are barely holding on to a playoff spot right now.
More KIA MVP Ladder Odds
With so many games still to play, the KIA MVP ladder is still very much in flux. As such, there’s no better time to take advantage of these odds and put a few bucks on one of the above players!
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