NBA MVP odds: Picking the best bets for basketball’s most prestigious award, from favorites to long shots

The MVP award is by far the NBA’s most debated, however it’s value noting that these debates have a tendency to incorporate solely a really small variety of gamers. By the tip of final season, the race was nearly solely between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, however to some extent, we might have predicted that earlier than opening night time. Two main qualifiers have whittled the sector all the way down to only some candidates earlier than the previous a number of seasons even started:

  • Each MVP winner since Derrick Rose in 2011 was chosen as both a First-Crew or Second-Crew All-NBA Participant within the earlier season.
  • Each MVP winner since Steve Nash in 2006 received the award earlier than his thirtieth birthday.

So, by that logic, we now have solely seven viable candidates this season: Jokic, Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker and Ja Morant. Unsurprisingly, while you pull up the chances at Caesars Sportsbook, you may see that the 4 favorites all fall inside that group. Six of them are 15-to-1 or higher. The best odds in that group belong to Booker at 30-to-1. The sector drops off from there. Solely two extra gamers are even at 50-to-1 or decrease.

After all, we would not be betting responsibly if we restricted ourselves solely to the “All-NBA gamers below 30” membership, so let’s lay out a number of different standards earlier than diving into the precise candidates:

  • Availability is the very best capacity. No MVP this century has missed greater than 11 video games. Of these 23 winners, 17 performed in a minimum of 75 video games (or the equal in a shortened 12 months). Load administration has probably relaxed this normal considerably, however Jokic’s sturdiness has been a serious speaking level in comparison with Embiid’s over the previous two seasons, when Denver’s heart has performed in 27 extra video games than Philadelphia’s.
  • Scorers win this award. The one winner since Kobe Bryant in 2008 to attain fewer than 25 factors per recreation was Stephen Curry in 2015. He had a reasonably good excuse: His Warriors have been blowing opponents out so steadily that he averaged simply 32.7 minutes per recreation.
  • Jokic apart, this award tends to go to high seeds. Previous to Jokic successful from the No. 6 slot final season, the typical twenty first century MVP received 61 regular-season video games, and statistically talking, a 60-win staff from any level within the twenty first century had a roughly 38 % likelihood of manufacturing an MVP winner. Jokic was solely the third participant since 2000 to win this award with out taking part in for a top-three seed. Jokic is proof that voters are keen to maintain an open thoughts about candidates on inferior groups, however it’s normally below extenuating circumstances. Jokic received with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. taking part in simply 9 mixed video games for Denver final season. Russell Westbrook received instantly after Kevin Durant left Oklahoma Metropolis.
  • Earlier winners are typically judged in opposition to their very own previous efficiency. When a participant wins his second MVP award, it nearly all the time comes with both a significant statistical enchancment or a large leap in wins. Traditionally talking, this solely tends to be true of gamers looking for their second MVP. As soon as a participant has two, he tends to not be judged in opposition to his personal normal fairly as aggressively. Jokic is likely to be an exception. If he wins MVP this season, he would be the first participant since Larry Chicken to win three in a row. Neither Michael Jordan nor LeBron James ever did it, and there’ll subsequently be voters who decide Jokic not in opposition to the sector and even himself, however James and Jordan.

And so, with the sector trimmed all the way down to a comparatively small group, let’s choose our greatest preseason bets to win the 2022-23 NBA MVP award.

The favorites





I will start by saying that I’ve wager on Doncic, however I would not advise you to do the identical. I wager him in June, when his odds have been sitting within the 600s. He is now the favourite at +475, however I feel he is much less prone to win the award in the present day than I did three months in the past. Whereas Jalen Brunson’s absence creates an infinite scoring burden and a story increase, Spencer Dinwiddie is a far much less succesful backcourt companion for Doncic than Brunson was. Playoff lineups that includes Doncic and Brunson scored practically 115 factors per 100 possessions. Swap Brunson in for Dinwiddie and that quantity falls to round 109. Dinwiddie’s inconsistent shot goes to deprive Doncic of spacing, and Jason Kidd appears able to exacerbate the issue by beginning JaVale McGee at heart. Dallas made the Western Convention finals by surrounding Doncic with shooters and wings. They’re doing the precise reverse proper now. Finally they will determine that out. That is the time to wager on Doncic, at which level his odds will likely be extra favorable.

4 different gamers can be found at 10-to-1 or decrease. I will say from the outset that Kevin Durant (+900) is off the board for me. Neglect in regards to the commerce danger, which is appreciable, and keep in mind that he is performed solely 90 regular-season video games over the previous three years. I am unable to belief him to remain wholesome. Take a look at it this manner: If Kevin Durant winds up assembly the MVP standards, is not it probably that the Nets are a top-two seed? And in that case, does not Steve Nash at +2500 for Coach of the 12 months look extra attractive? There are higher methods to wager on Brooklyn than Durant’s MVP odds. 

To a lesser extent, that is the place I am leaning on Embiid (+550). After two consecutive close to misses that have been adopted by playoff accidents, I’ve to think about the 76ers are going to be as cautious as attainable with Embiid’s well being. Signing Montrezl Harrell permits them to try this. Harrell has averaged a minimum of 22.9 minutes in 4 consecutive seasons, and he is not sharing minutes with Embiid. He would not have picked Philadelphia if he did not really feel comparatively comfy that he would get taking part in time even when Embiid is wholesome and still have alternatives to begin when Embiid misses video games. 

I backed Antetokounmpo (+650) earlier than final season. The percentages are higher this time round, and he is a extra full participant in the present day than he was 12 months in the past. I am nonetheless leaning in opposition to betting on him despite the fact that he is the very best participant on the earth. With Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton and Jrue Vacation all of their 30s and Mike Budenholzer already being conservative with minutes, I simply battle to see the Bucks prioritizing the common season as a lot as they’ve previously. Lopez was damage many of the common season and Middleton is coming off an damage within the playoffs. I would not fault anybody for betting on Giannis. His stats final 12 months have been just about similar to his 2020 MVP season. You are basically betting on whether or not or not the Bucks care about successful sufficient video games to get Antetokounmpo to the highest of the race. I am guessing they do not.

That brings us to Jokic (+850), who has an especially difficult preseason case. At this second, I am leaning towards betting on him. Sure, he is prone to rating fewer factors with Murray and Porter again within the fold, however their presence additionally probably results in considerably extra successful. Denver could be my choose to earn the No. 1 seed within the Western Convention, which the franchise has by no means accomplished in its NBA historical past (although it has within the ABA). That will make his case distinct sufficient to drag in voters apprehensive in regards to the historic ramifications of giving him a 3rd straight trophy. Simply know that in case you make this wager, you are not successful on ties. Jokic needs to be the clear-cut winner. I feel he is likelier to be such a winner than these odds counsel. Nevertheless, Jokic shouldn’t be my choose to win the award.

The center of the pack


Jayson Tatum (+1200) is my choose to win the 2022-23 MVP award. Let’s undergo each standards we have lined so far:

  • Tatum earned First-Crew All-NBA honors final season.
  • Tatum is just 24 years outdated. He’ll be 25 when the trophy is handed out. That is prime first MVP age. Durant and James have been 25 throughout their first MVP runs, and Antetokounmpo turned 25 quickly after.
  • Tatum has by no means missed greater than eight video games in a season, and even that quantity was as a consequence of a prolonged COVID absence within the 2020-21 season.
  • Tatum averaged 26.9 factors per recreation final season, and he was trending up because the season ended. From Feb. 13 on, he averaged over 30 factors per recreation.
  • The Celtics had the NBA’s greatest successful proportion from Jan. 20 on at simply shy of 78 %. That interprets to a 64-win tempo. From that date on, they outscored opponents by 14.9 factors per 100 possessions. The second-place Grizzlies had a plus-8 web score in that span. The Celtics destroyed all the pieces of their path till they reached the Finals. They’re bringing again the identical roster, however with Malcolm Brogdon added.
  • Tatum has by no means received this award. Jokic, Durant and Antetokounmpo have. They’re going through harsher requirements than Tatum.

I’ve two extra notes on Tatum earlier than we transfer on to different candidates:

  • Each Tatum and Embiid practice with Drew Hanlen. As Hanlen advised Chris Mannix, Tatum laid down the gauntlet to Embiid final season by saying “you’d higher win MVP this 12 months, as a result of it is mine subsequent 12 months.” He desires it, and that may be the distinction between successful and dropping.
  • Who was the final Celtic to win MVP? Larry Chicken in 1986. That is who Jokic is making an attempt to match along with his third straight MVP. It will be awfully poetic of a Celtic to deprive him of that honor. That is a story voters can get behind.

I will likely be betting closely on Tatum. In reality, there are not any different candidates on this vary that I particularly like, however there are a number of I am keeping track of. Stephen Curry (+1600) most likely is not going to play sufficient video games to noticeably compete for MVP, however he simply might have received it two seasons in the past. If the Warriors go all-out within the common season and his taking pictures percentages revert to their normal excellence, he’ll be proper within the thick of issues. Trae Younger’s odds are a bit low for my style at +4000, however there is a widespread sense to this in case you assume Dejounte Murray fixes Atlanta’s protection. Younger’s offenses are all the time good, and Murray’s presence shores up the bench models which were a catastrophe for his entire profession. There is a fringe case for Atlanta to be a really sturdy regular-season staff. I am not prepared to purchase into it but, but when you’ll find Younger at +6000 or so, I feel that will be value a flier. 

The lengthy photographs


I am staring daggers at James Harden (+10000). He was a severe menace to Jokic in 2021. Earlier than that, he completed within the high three of voting in 5 of his earlier six seasons. Simply think about it. The Sixers, with their revamped supporting solid, begin off purple scorching. Embiid suffers an damage that retains him out for 20 video games or so. Harden retains him afloat as he did the Nets two years in the past with out Durant. He begins getting credit score for leaving cash on the desk to assist the Sixers signal P.J. Tucker. He is modified his off-court habits and recaptured his prime kind. I don’t know if any of these items really occur, however at 100-to-1, they’re simple sufficient to think about. If the NBA season performed out 100 instances, I wager it will occur a minimum of as soon as.



I wish to take a swing on a minimum of one Raptor and a minimum of one Cavalier. The Raptors received at a 53-win tempo when OG Anunoby was wholesome a season in the past. Their roster is deeper and Scottie Barnes has a lot room to develop. I am unable to see him successful MVP in his second season, however at +50000, the chances are so excessive there’s not a lot hurt in throwing a greenback on it. Pascal Siakam at +15000 is the higher play, however I simply do not assume he has the upside. In Cleveland, I am leaning Donovan Mitchell at +80000. Newcomers do not win this award as steadily as they used to, however gamers like Steve Nash and Charles Barkley have gotten narrative boosts by lifting the Suns to new heights. I feel Cleveland will contend for the No. 1 seed this 12 months, so I wish to have a Cavalier in my portfolio.


After which there’s Anthony Edwards at +7500. He’ll be the offensive engine of an excellent regular-season staff. He meets each standards we have lined aside from scoring, however a third-year leap is comparatively normal. He is additionally such an unimaginable quote that voters will wish to cowl his marketing campaign. I feel there are most likely safer methods to wager on a robust season in Minnesota, and Edwards is the Most Improved Participant favourite in the meanwhile, however in case you’re in search of an extended shot, Edwards seems lots like Derrick Rose did earlier than the 2010-11 season.