For the third season in a row, a foreign player took home the MVP in the NBA. The Denver Nuggets’ C Nikola Jokic took home the award after averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.3 steals. All while playing 100% of the games in the regular season.
The last American player to win the MVP was Nets’ SG James Harden, when he played for the Houston Rockets, back in 2017.
Surprisingly, though, Nikola Jokic is nowhere near the top of candidates to win the MVP this year. However, it’s another European player who commands the NBA odds as of right now, in Dallas’ PG Luka Doncic.
Let’s see how we can label the players into different categories, in what can be a close race to define a new MVP.
Luka Doncic – The Mavs are a one-man show in Luka Doncic. But man, what a show it is. The 22-year-old has taken the NBA by storm, and he shines, even more, when the spotlight is on him.
Fresh off a 27-8-8 year, Luka is not afraid of high-pressure moments, he thrives in them. Dallas hasn’t gotten him any help, so if he guides the Mavs to a successful season, he can win the award for sure.
Kevin Durant – Making his case as the best scorer the league has ever seen, Kevin Durant is a showstopper. He is the definition of a box-office player, and sure is a top two player in this league.
But, to win MVP you must play a lot, and Durant’s injuries in recent years really cause concern when putting money on his name. Again, the talent is unquestioned, but availability is one of the main focuses of this award. He doesn’t have it.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Antetokounmpo is proof of what a one-man show can do. He is a 2x MVP and now comes as the NBA Champion and Finals MVP. If he leads the Bucks to overcome the Nets onslaught in the East and qualifies as the top seed, Giannis could be the frontrunner for the MVP award.
Steph Curry – Curry is one helluva candidate to win the MVP. He was close last year, after leading the Warriors to a play-in tournament. Curry did this with no help whatsoever and averaged 32 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in the season. The Chef was cooking, and he now has his Splash Brother back.
Joel Embiid – For lots of last years, Embiid looked destined to get the MVP, but same as Durant, his injuries took him off the list. Embiid struggles to stay healthy, and that won’t get you this award. The good thing for him is he is unstoppable.
He had 28.5 points per game last season, and he is the face of the team, they rely on him. He missed 21 games last season. If he finds a way to not miss that much time, he could win.
LeBron James – Guys, LeBron is mad. After recent reports where he had no votes as the NBA’s best player, he is coming back with a vengeance. The four-time MVP just posted another stellar season, with a 25-7-7 stat line across the year.
However, he only played 45 games. There is no doubt that LeBron is still an elite player, but since he got to the Lakers, injuries are starting to rack up. Could Father Time be hitting on LeBron?
Damian Lillard – Look, Dame Dolla is an all-world player. But he is not winning anything in Portland. It’s a small market, and they won’t get anywhere higher.
They are what they are because of Lillard, but he wants out, and now, even if they have a great season, the chances of him getting MVP votes are slim. His team doesn’t help him.
Nikola Jokic – The defending MVP is not getting much love. This is weird since he has been gathering eyes for a few years now. Jokic is young, smart, charismatic, and plays for a competitive team.
Oh, and he does not miss games. Repeating the award in consecutive years is hard, but Giannis just did it in 2018 and 2019, so discounting Jokic is not smart.
Trae Young – After guiding the Hawks to their first Eastern Conference Finals, Young put the NBA world on notice. He is box office, he can win, and he can deliver when the pressure comes calling.
Trae “the great” is not afraid of big moments. He has the flair and style, plus the scoring ability to get MVP votes. If he gets Atlanta to be a top-four seed, Trae will be in the conversation.
James Harden – If Harden wants a second MVP, two things must happen. First, he has to stay healthy, and second, Durant must miss games. If both play, pretty much no one will beat them, but Durant is the one who will shine and get the votes.
Harden excels at scoring, getting to the free-throw line, and assisting, he has the tools and talent. But if Durant plays, we know who the alpha of the team is and that hampers the chances of the Beard.
Anthony Davis – As opposed to Harden’s case, it’s the fact that he has LeBron on the team which helps Anthony Davis. LeBron is a facilitator; he has no issue letting Anthony Davis dominate the game.
He will make it easier. Davis’ health is the main concern, he can’t stay on the court for the life of him. He played only 36 games last year, less than half a season.
Donovan Mitchell – Mitchell guided the Jazz to be the top seed in the Western Conference last year. Spida is a major attraction in the league. He can score anywhere. From a long three to a posterizing dunk, Mitchell is unbelievable.
He hasn’t received the love he deserves in the MVP votes, but he is young and hasn’t even reached his prime yet. It is just a matter of time.
Jayson Tatum – The Celtics are in good hands. Since his rookie year, Tatum has delivered the goods in Boston. His poise, his ability to score from anywhere, his mobility, and the fact that he can take over a game with ease make him a must-watch player. If the Celtics get hot, it will be in large part due to Tatum’s output.
Devin Booker – If there was a breakout star last season, it was D-Book. Don’t get it twisted, he has been in the league for a while, and has produced every single year. It was until last year that the Suns were good enough to get into the spotlight, and Booker made sure everyone knew his name.
He became an All-Star and guided the Suns to an NBA Finals appearance. He is here, and here to stay.
Predicting the MVP is one of the best offseason storylines. It also makes it one of the biggest future markets in the NBA.
Also, having all candidates on plus money NBA odds means if you win, it’s profit only. In simpler terms, the profit will always be larger than the amount wagered.
Here’s a fun fact—in the last decade, four MVPs have gone to point guards, three to small forwards, two to power forwards, one to shooting guards, and one to a center.
However, only big men have won it in the last three years, with Giannis winning it twice and Jokic once.
Timing in life is everything. In betting, well, it’s also everything. The odds change like crazy, especially future odds when lots of things happen until the outcome of the bet is determined.
Placing your bets at the right time can mean bigger payouts. In the MVP odds, many factors can alter the odds. It’s a day-to-day thing.
Injuries will make the odds get longer, as the chance of those players winning gets smaller. A player who misses more than 10 games is out of the equation.
On the other hand, a player who starts cold, but improves steadily and delivers a successful season for its team gets his odds lowered.
This is because even if it is a season-long award, recency bias towards how you end the season gets you the most votes.
Supporting casts are vital to help players perform to an MVP level. A one-man show can definitely win the award, but if the rest of the team doesn’t help, even his own stats will suffer.
All legal, regulated sportsbooks have MVP future lines. Direct yourself to the NBA tab, click the ‘Futures’ tab. From the drop-down menu, you should be able to find the NBA MVP odds.
Since the 1980 season, a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S and Canada casts a vote.
Each member votes for the first through fifth selections. A first-place vote equals 10 points. Second-place gets seven points, third-place votes are worth five points. The fourth place is worth three points and the fifth place gets one point.
Since 2010, one ballot has been made up by the fans through online voting. The player with the highest total amount of points wins the award.
As a reminder, the award is valid only for the regular season. Whatever happens in the playoffs doesn’t matter. The winner gets announced when the playoffs already started. Usually at the end of June.
All the players who have won the MVP and have been eligible to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame have been inducted.
The player with the most MVP awards is the mythical C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with a total of six. The legendary SG Michael Jordan won five. For active players, LeBron James is the one with the most MVPs, winning four, although his last came in 2013.
International players have dominated the award in the last three years. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic won the awards. C Hakeem Olajuwon, PF Tim Duncan, PG Steve Nash, and PF Dirk Nowitzki are the other international players to win the MVP.
In the 2015-2016 season, Steph Curry is the only player to win the MVP in a unanimous fashion. Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000 and LeBron James in 2012-2013 were one vote shy of getting the unanimous MVP.
After the 1975-1976 season, only two players have been awarded the MVP for a season in which their team couldn’t win 50 regular-season games. These are Moses Malone (twice) and Russell Westbrook.
There are 14 players in history who have won the award multiple times. Active players who have done it are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, and LeBron James.
|2020-21||Nikola Jokic||Denver Nuggets|
|2019-20||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2018-19||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2017-18||James Harden||Houston Rockets|
|2016-17||Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2015-16||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors|
|2014-15||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors|
|2013-14||Kevin Durant||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2012-13||LeBron James||Miami Heat|
|2011-12||LeBron James||Miami Heat|