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We're a month into the NBA campaign, and the MVP race is already heating up. Luka Doncic (+400) is still the favorite with Giannis Antetokounmpo (+450) close behind, though neither has exceeded expectations or bested what they've done in prior years. That opens the door for another star to steal this award in an already tumultuous season.
Here are the updated NBA MVP odds and our favorite values on the board after the first month.
|Field (all others)||+25000|
After more than a year away from game action, Durant looks like he never took a day off. He's averaging 31.3 points - which would be the second-highest mark of his career behind his 2013-14 MVP campaign - and a career-best six assists per game on a loaded Nets roster.
Brooklyn's trade for former MVP James Harden is unlikely to derail Durant's campaign. He's averaged 36.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists in three games with Harden, who doesn't figure to siphon away MVP votes given his own early-season drama. Durant is the best player on arguably the NBA's best team, and he's certainly playing like it.
No player has offered more on-court value this season than Jokic, who is averaging career highs in points (25.1), rebounds (11.4), assists (10), and steals (1.9) on 57.3% shooting from the floor. He's the only player currently averaging a triple-double. He leads the NBA in win shares (2.3) by a country mile and ranks second in assists and fifth in steals, which is simply absurd for a center.
The only knock on Jokic's campaign is team success. The Nuggets are currently outside of the Western Conference playoff field, though they've won six of their last nine games behind some eye-popping stat lines from their Serbian star. Jokic finished ninth in MVP voting last year and feels like a lock to improve upon that this season.
We've been waiting for this Embiid for years, but the 76ers star is finally putting it all together for the Eastern Conference leaders. He isn't posting career-best stats but has been incredibly efficient on offense and has been an absolute force on the defensive end.
The 7-footer is one of four players averaging at least 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals. The Sixers have a +10.1 net rating when he's on the court and a -4.3 rating when he isn't. His best case for winning this award is if Philadelphia keeps hold of the No. 1 seed, which it seems poised to do given how well Embiid is playing.
Is there a more slept-on superstar than George this year? Just two seasons removed from finishing third in MVP voting, the six-time All-Star is in the 50/50/90 club and has scored at least 20 points in all but one game, when he instead dished 12 assists in a blowout win.
He simply hasn't had a bad game this year for the Clippers, who are tied for the NBA's best record (11-4) through 15 contests. George's current level of play probably isn't sustainable, but it's worth a 75-1 shot to find out.
I'm a sucker for the field in markets like this. It's even sweeter when they include such high-profile names at a dart-throw price.
Where is Domantas Sabonis, the uber-efficient Pacers big who's priced at 100-1 at most shops? How about Nikola Vucevic, who ranks No. 2 in win shares (2.3), box plus-minus (9.3), and VORP (1.4) for the feel-good Magic? Bradley Beal leads the NBA in points per game (34.9), including a 60-point outburst for the Wizards on Jan. 6. Chris Boucher ranks in the top three in effective field-goal percentage (69.1) and blocks per contest (2.4) and has scored at least 20 points in five of the Raptors' last seven outings.
There are simply too many breakout stars this year to ignore the field. The price might be worth it for even one of those aforementioned players alone.
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.