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Odds to Win NBA MVP: Nikola Jokic Now Odds-On Favorite

Deep into the second half of the 2020-21 NBA season, NBA Most Valuable Player odds are in flux and now it’s Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic’s turn to be the betting favorite.

Jokic’s NBA MVP odds are now -150 at the best basketball betting sites to win the first NBA Most Valuable Player award of his career. While Jokic is deserving of any of the accolades he gets, we would be remiss in not mentioning the injuries to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.

Those two had both been tabbed with the NBA MVP favorite label from sportsbooks before suffering injuries. Jokic isn’t a traditional default choice for MVP but with Embiid just now returning to the court and LeBron out for the foreseeable future, the Serbian has to be the favorite, for now, to take the hardware. Embiid now trails Jokic in NBA MVP odds at +450 while LeBron has dropped to +1200.

As for former NBA MVPs, reigning back-to-back winner Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is +900 but the Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden has moved all the way to third on the oddsboard at +750.

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks opened as the preseason fave at +400 in NBA MVP odds but has since dropped to +2000.

Who is Favored to Win the 2021 NBA MVP?

2021 NBA Most Valuable Player Award Odds
Nikola Jokic-150
Joel Embiid+450
James Harden+750
Giannis Antetokounmpo+900
Damian Lillard+1200
LeBron James+1200
Luka Doncic+2000
Kawhi Leonard+6600
Steph Curry+8000
Donovan Mitchell+10000
Paul George+15000
Anthony Davis+20000
Devin Booker+20000
Kevin Durant+20000
Kyrie Irving+20000
Chris Paul+25000
Jamal Murray+25000

Odds as of April 7 at Bovada

Can Nikola Jokic Win NBA MVP?

Before the season started, I told readers to seriously consider betting on Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in NBA MVP odds. He opened at +3000 and was just coming off a magical run with Denver to the Western Conference final where they ultimately fell to the Lakers, who went on to win the NBA championship.

But the main takeaway from the bubble was that Jokic was on the come-up and you wanted to bet on him before the season began. Well, all that betting value is gone because the Joker has dropped to -150 to win the NBA Most Valuable Player Award.

Jokic is already lauded as the best passing big man in the NBA and he is currently sixth in the league in assists at 8.6 per game, which is virtually unheard of for a center. In fact, if he can somehow finish the season leading the NBA in assists, he’d be the first center to do it since Wilt Chamberlain in 1967-68.

LeBron and Embiid stood in his way to win MVP but now his only obstacle could be the Nuggets’ regular-season results, assuming he can stay healthy. The Nuggets struggled out of the gate but are moving up the Western Conference standings at 32-18 SU in 50 games, which has Denver in fourth place.

While that pace is probably good enough to make the playoffs and get home-court advantage in the first round, voters may hold the record against Jokic and the Nuggets when trying to determine the NBA MVP results. More often than not, the MVP goes to a player on a team that finishes at least second or third in its conference, which is why Joel Embiid’s case isn’t dead yet.

In a season when so many great superstars are playing at a high level, stats may not be enough to determine the NBA MVP and voters may gravitate to the NBA standings and head-to-head matchups as their ultimate tiebreaker.

Injuries Putting Damper on NBA MVP Odds

It’s not quite the Madden cover curse but being tabbed as the favorite in NBA Most Valuable Player odds has been brutal for the faves this season. Shortly after Sixers center Joel Embiid finally took over as the betting fave in MVP odds, he twisted his knee after a dunk and crumpled to the floor. Initially, bettors like myself thought he was done for the season but he has since returned to the lineup and looked to be his usual dominant self.

That’s why Embiid still has a great shot to win NBA MVP in 2021 with over 20 games still to go in the regular season. If the Sixers finish first in the Eastern Conference and Embiid plays the rest of the season, voters will have to seriously consider the Cameroonian big man.

Even though Embiid has a bit of an injury history as a bulky seven-footer, when LeBron James went down, that’s when NBA MVP odds were shaken to the core.

Part of LeBron’s mystique as an NBA superstar is that he has never really had a big injury outside of his groin strain in December 2018 in his first year with the Lakers. The 36-year-old has been a machine throughout his 18-year career but still with no timetable to return to the lineup, it’s difficult to see him coming back strongly in NBA Most Valuable Player odds. 

High-ankle sprains are tricky as some athletes recover nicely while for others, it can be a nagging issue for long periods of time. The latest reports from La La Land have him missing multiple weeks, which is a lifetime in an NBA season. I wouldn’t dismiss him completely but bettors need to be fully aware that the Lakers may just shut LeBron and Anthony Davis down and bring them back for the stretch run into the NBA playoffs.

Check out our NBA futures odds page for the most up-to-date betting odds.

How to Read 2021 NBA MVP Odds

When you visit your betting site of choice, you’ll notice 2021 NBA MVP odds laid out like this:

Luka Doncic +450

Anthony Davis +550

Giannis Antetokounmpo +650

Unlike a moneyline bet where favorites are shown by the minus sign (-) and underdogs have a plus sign (+), the player with the lowest odds with the plus sign (+) is the fave. In this scenario, it’s Luka Doncic. If you were to bet $100 on Doncic in NBA MVP betting odds and it hits, you would win $550 – your $100 is returned and you would get +450 in profit.

If you were to bet on which player will be named MVP, you would make a futures bet.

What is a Futures Bet?

This is a bet made on events that will happen in time. In this case, it’s MVP. To make a futures bet you would first use the handicapping info on this page to make your decision. Our Odds Calculator can give you an idea of how much you’d win based on the MVP odds and the amount of money you bet.