Nikola Jokic is the two-time defending NBA MVP, but history would suggest don’t bet on him for a three-peat. The last player to win three MVPs in a row? Larry Bird, from 1984-86. Almost 40 years ago.
But if not Jokic, then who? Which players are the favorite to grab the MVP trophy? The list starts with Luka Doncic. From our partners at Points Bet, here are the dozen players with the lowest odds to win NBA MVP next season (the odds are how much you would win on a $100 bet).
Luka Doncic +450
Giannis Antetokounmpo +600
Joel Embiid +600
Nikola Jokic +1000
Kevin Durant +1000
Stephen Curry +1000
Jayson Tatum +1200
Ja Morant +1400
Devin Booker +2200
Kawhi Leonard +2500
Trae Young +2500
LeBron James +2500
It’s not surprising that Doncic is the odds-on favorite. He’s an elite player whose team just lost their No. 2 shot creator — his load just got heavier and his counting stats likely will up. If he comes into the season in shape and ready to play, he has a legitimate shot.
If not Doncic, my money would be on Joel Embiid, who has finished second to Jokic each of the past two seasons and should be in the mix again. Even if James Harden is healthy and taking on some of the scoring load, and Tyrese Maxey takes a step forward, Embiid will put up efficient offensive numbers and be a defensive anchor. He will again be in the mix.
#1 most bet on for NBA MVP at @CaesarsSports:
Zion Williamson at 55/1.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 29, 2022
Two bets I would not make: Kevin Durant and LeBron James. It’s not that they are not good enough to win the award or will not have the stats to be in consideration, but both are getting up in age (Durant is 34, LeBron 37) and have an injury history — are they going to play enough games? One of Jokic’s strengths in winning this award the past couple of years is he is on the court — he missed a total of eight games over the last two seasons. LeBron and Durant will likely miss double-digit games (same with Kawhi Leonard) as their teams look ahead to the postseason rather than be focused on winning a random Tuesday game in December.