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Odds to Win NBA MVP: Easy as 1-2-3?

Jokic Leads Crowded Pack for Award

The NBA MVP voting last season was pretty lopsided last season as Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets ran away with his second straight crown. It figures to be a bit more bunched up in 2022-23, giving those betting online plenty of worthy options. One could make a great case for at least five players.

That’s where you need an NBA betting expert, and that’s where we come in, with a look at five contenders (let’s do four favorites and a dark horse) in what figures to be a wonderful competition.

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets brings the ball down the court against the Los Angeles Clippers
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman - AFP

Let’s check the latest NBA news, stats, injury report and NBA lines. We’ve plenty of NBA picks for you to consider.

Nikola Jokic (-115)

Jokic’s scoring and rebounding are both down from last season, but his assists and shooting percentages are way up, part of a refined Denver Nuggets attack that puts his unique skill set to great use. The big man orchestrates the offense with precision, finding Denver’s bevy of shooters with regularity and still finding time to put up 25.1 points per game.

Jokic ranks second in the NBA in assists (9.9) and fifth in rebounding (11.0) for the top team in the West. He has a league-leading 14 triple-doubles and provided one of those MVP moments just this week to cap one of them.

In Wednesday’s win over Minnesota, the Nuggets center became the franchise’s all-time leader in assists. And if there’s anyone still dwelling on his slightly lower scoring average, they should know he’s at 27.4 – higher than each of his two MVP campaigns – over the last 20 games.

Luka Doncic (+375)

The scoring title does not always equate to an MVP, obviously, but it can help. Kevin Durant won both in 2014, Stephen Curry did it two years later, Russell Westbrook the year after that and James Harden the year after that.

Luka Doncic has been atop the scoring leaderboard for much of the season with a current average that would rank among the top 20 all-time. He’s also fourth in assists and 10th in steals in what’s been an electric campaign for the 23-year-old.

What might drag Doncic down is his team. The Mavericks aren’t awful, but they are floating just over .500. There hasn’t been an MVP on a losing team since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1976. Bob Pettit did the same thing 20 years earlier. All other recipients were on teams with winning percentages of .568 or better (Dallas is at .522).

Keep an eye on Doncic whenever he’s playing, but look elsewhere if you’re doing some online gambling on MVP hopefuls.

Jayson Tatum (+600)

The inverse of Doncic toiling on an average team is Jayson Tatum leading the charge for the best team in the NBA. He’s averaging career highs in scoring (31.1) and rebounding (8.3) after a 51-point outburst at Charlotte on Monday.

Needing a late basket to get to the 50-point mark, Tatum buried a 3-pointer with the game well in hand. The crowd in Charlotte (that’s not Boston, mind you) began to chant “MVP! MVP!” as Tatum finished the fifth 50-point game of his career.

This guy’s just a shade behind Jokic at this point of the season. He’s supremely motivated and you know the Celtics will be in some primetime games down the stretch, giving Tatum plenty of time on center stage. You can do a lot worse than leaning on Tatum with a bet on NBA MVP.

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dunks against the New Orleans Pelicans
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dunks against the New Orleans Pelicans //

Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1000)

The 2019 and 2020 MVP is in the mix, but has some obstacles in the way. For one, the Milwaukee Bucks are just 10-10 over their last 20 games, a pace that’ll have them sliding down the competitive East if they keep it up.

Also, while Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging a career-high 31.0 points per game, he hasn’t been quite as efficient. His 52.4% mark from the floor and 24.5% effort from the arc are both the lowest they’ve been in several years. Antetokounmpo also has his lowest averages in steals and blocks since his rookie campaign. Additionally, to check out more specific information about the NBA futures available for the Brooklyn Nets.

Finally, Antetokounmpo is currently sidelined with a knee injury and has already missed 10 games entering Wednesday’s action. It’s splitting hairs for a guy that’s as dominant as they come, but his impact just doesn’t seem as forceful as in previous seasons.

LeBron James (no odds)

All those Los Angeles Lakers haters are probably rolling their eyes, but few players have been as hot as James has over the past month-plus. He’s kept Los Angeles afloat without Anthony Davis, and the two of them had something cooking prior to Davis’ injury. If Davis comes back without an issue and the Lakers rise into a playoff spot, James will get some attention in MVP discussions.

Consider that he’s averaging 34.1 points on 55.3% shooting to go along with 8.0 rebounds and 7.7 assists over his last 17 games while playing alongside a makeshift lineup every night. That’s a pretty good sample size and those are certainly MVP-like numbers. If you can find some odds, here’s a pretty good dark-horse candidate.

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