NBA MVP odds: Doncic favored for 2nd straight year, Embiid close behind

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Stop me if this sounds familiar: Nikola Jokic is the reigning NBA MVP after one of the best offensive seasons we've ever seen, but Luka Doncic is favored to win the award this year.

For the second straight year, the Mavericks star is the preseason favorite (+450) to win the league's top individual award. Right behind him is Joel Embiid (+550), who finished as the MVP runner-up for two straight seasons, while two-time winner Giannis Antetokounmpo (+600) is the only other player priced shorter than 10-1.

After receiving each of the last two MVP awards, Jokic (+1000) is tied for the fourth-shortest odds with Celtics star Jayson Tatum (+1000), who broke out with a dazzling postseason before a lackluster NBA Finals. Kevin Durant (+1200), Ja Morant (+1200), and Stephen Curry (+1400) are the only other players with shorter than 20-1 odds to win this year's award.

Doncic is the safest choice given his sky-high usage and incredible production at such a young age, and even at a short price, it's a bet we'd make. But he's not the only value on the board. Here are the current NBA MVP odds at Barstool Sportsbook and a few players we're targeting early in the offseason.

PLAYER ODDS
Luka Doncic +450
Joel Embiid +550
Giannis Antetokounmpo +600
Nikola Jokic +1000
Jayson Tatum +1000
Kevin Durant +1200
Ja Morant +1200
Stephen Curry +1400
Devin Booker +2000
LeBron James +2500
Kawhi Leonard +2500
Trae Young +2500
Jimmy Butler +6000
Anthony Davis +6000
Karl-Anthony Towns +6000
Zion Williamson +6000
Paul George +8000
Donovan Mitchell +8000
LaMelo Ball +10000
DeMar DeRozan +10000
Anthony Edwards +10000
James Harden +10000
Brandon Ingram +10000
Zach LaVine +10000
Damian Lillard +10000
Dejounte Murray +10000
Chris Paul +10000
Pascal Siakam +10000
Bradley Beal +15000
Jaylen Brown +15000
Kyrie Irving +15000
Bam Adebayo +25000
Cade Cunningham +25000
De'Aaron Fox +25000
Darius Garland +25000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +25000
CJ McCollum +25000
Evan Mobley +25000
Jamal Murray +25000
Julius Randle +25000
Fred VanVleet +25000
Russell Westbrook +25000
Jarrett Allen +50000
Cole Anthony +50000
Deandre Ayton +50000
Desmond Bane +50000
Scottie Barnes +50000
RJ Barrett +50000
Malcolm Brogdon +50000
Jalen Brunson +50000
Wendell Carter Jr. +50000
John Collins +50000
Josh Giddey +50000
Rudy Gobert +50000
Jalen Green +50000
Tyrese Haliburton +50000
Tobias Harris +50000
Tyler Herro +50000
Jrue Holiday +50000
Jaren Jackson Jr. +50000
Kyle Kuzma +50000
Tyrese Maxey +50000
Khris Middleton +50000
Kristaps Porzingis +50000
Domantas Sabonis +50000
Ben Simmons +50000
Marcus Smart +50000
Franz Wagner +50000
Andrew Wiggins +50000
Christian Wood +50000
Anfernee Simons +50000

Jayson Tatum, Celtics (+1000)

It may feel ambitious to price Tatum as a top-five player in the NBA, as these odds suggest, but it suits what we've seen from him over the past 12 months.

The Celtics star was named first-team All-NBA a year ago and quietly finished sixth in MVP voting, just behind preseason favorite Doncic and ahead of fellow young superstar Morant. Then Tatum went on a tear during the postseason, averaging 27 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists before a lousy showing in the Finals.

His performance in that last series will leave a bitter taste in bettors' mouths, but I suspect it'll also light a fire under the 24-year-old to erase the stain of that loss and refine the weaker areas of his game. That could spell an MVP-level season for one of the smoothest scorers in the NBA.

Kevin Durant, Nets (+1200)

We don't even know what team Durant will play on for the 2022-23 season, but whichever club lands the 12-time All-Star will immediately be in the mix for the best record in the NBA, if not priced as the title favorite.

That's a major boon to Durant's MVP candidacy, as voters tend to favor elite players on elite teams. And there's no doubt that, when healthy, Durant is elite. The 33-year-old swingman averaged 29.9 points a year ago - his most since winning MVP in 2013-14 - and added a career-high 6.4 assists on better than 50% shooting for the Nets.

He should put up similar numbers wherever he lands, especially as the de facto No. 1 option for a likely title contender. I'd buy at this number before Durant is officially dealt, as a move to the Suns or Heat should generate massive interest from bettors in his MVP candidacy.

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers (+2500)

It feels like the general NBA community has mostly forgotten about Leonard, who was considered a unanimous top-five talent before tearing his ACL in the 2021 postseason. We haven't seen him play since, which has cooled interest in betting him to win this award.

Should that be the case, though? The Clippers star finished fifth in MVP voting in his first season in L.A. and is arguably the best two-way player in the league, which helps boost his candidacy in a close race. He's also had more than a year to recover from that injury and should be as rested as he's maybe ever been entering 2021-22.

The Clippers figure to be in the mix as one of the NBA's top teams - they're +700 to win the title - and Paul George is clearly better suited as a second option. That leaves Leonard plenty of opportunity to stuff the stat sheet in his long-awaited return and remind everyone just how dominant he can be.

Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers (+10000)

How in the world is Lillard dealing at this price? Sure, he only played 29 games last year, but much of that came after the Trail Blazers' season was effectively over. And when healthy, the six-time All-NBA star is one of the best guards in the league.

Before last season, Lillard had finished in the top eight in MVP voting in each of the previous four years - peaking at fourth in 2017-18 with a seventh-place finish. That doesn't sound like a player who should be priced as a 100-1 long shot, even after a down year.

Injuries were never really an issue for Lillard before last season, which was the first time he played fewer than 66 games in his 10-year career. With an improved roster around him full of switchable wings and defensive-minded guards, he should be free to post gaudy offensive totals for a team with real playoff ambitions. At this price, I'll take that all day long.

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at cjackson.cowart@thescore.com.

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NBA MVP odds: Doncic favored for 2nd straight year, Embiid close behind
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