As most teams cross through the one-third mark of the shortened 2020-21 NBA season, teams and players are rounding into form. While finishing spots are far from finalized, the NBA MVP odds are also starting to take shape.
At the top, the most familiar face of them all sits in that of LeBron James (+220), followed by a relative newcomer to the MVP ranks in Joel Embiid.
With no fewer than 40 games to be played by each team, let’s take a closer look at how this field could play out.
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
One could make the case James has truly been the most valuable player every season for over the last decade. Like most major awards, this one is decided by a panel of broadcasters and writers, who likely know this and just feared the backlash — and boredom, truthfully — associated with giving it to James year after year.
While he ranks in the top 20 in most major categories but near the top in none, James remains the odds-on favorite. He needs just two more MVP awards to tie all-time leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at six.
Coming into the season with the third-best odds (+550) to win the award, the Dallas Mavericks’ slow start has brought some value to Dončić at this point in the season. Now just 2.5 games back from the San Antonio Spurs at the top of the Southwest division, the Mavs are quietly starting to heat up with four straight wins.
Averaging 35.5 points per game over those four victories, including two 40+ point performances, Dončić now ranks in the top five in both points (28.5) and assists (9.4) per game. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER), which breaks down each player’s per-minute and per-possession statistical production, also ranks near the top of the league at 26.22.
If the Mavericks can sustain this momentum throughout the season, and I see no reason they can’t, Dončić offers great value to bring home the trophy at double-digit odds.
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