NBA MVP: Odds, best bets, value plays
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With the NBA season right around the corner, let's dive into the MVP market for some best bets, value plays, and everything you need to know before submitting your tickets.
If we're factoring in standard error and giving teams roughly a nine-game cushion based on win totals, players on teams like the Bucks (58), 76ers (54.5), Rockets (54.5), Jazz (54), Clippers (53.5), and Nuggets (53.5) are good places to start looking for the next MVP.
Players to rule out
- Beal's a star who should probably be shipped out of a train wreck Wizards organization. He'll stuff the stat sheet, but Washington will be lucky to win 30 games.
- Same with Booker. The Suns could make a leap from the West's basement, but you're better served ripping your money up on the spot.
- Doncic is intriguing. He made waves with Rookie of the Year honors last season during a seamless transition to the league. He'll be another stat-stuffer, but will the Mavericks make a big enough jump in a jam-packed conference to get noticed? Probably not.
- I never want to discount James' age, because at 34 he's still dominant. But he'll need to conjure up some magic to get his Lakers into a mid-50s win total and produce an earth-shattering campaign in the process. Plus, there's always LeBron fatigue in the media.
The Warriors' win total is 47.5, so they don't qualify as a team to initially keep in your back pocket. There's also fatigue tied to Golden State recently among MVP voters.
He's still arguably the most dominant offensive player in the league, and the 31-year-old won't have to split as much usage this year. The team's win total is the biggest question here, but I'd be willing to bet Curry gets a bump if he leads the way while the Dubs exceed expectations.
There's always the question of how many games Embiid will miss. He hasn't played in more than 64 contests in a season since entering the league.
But when he's at full strength, Embiid is one of the NBA's most polarizing yet unheralded players. A player's typical peak in the NBA is 26 years old, and Embiid will hit that next March. He's coming off a season in which the fourth-year pro did just about everything, averaging 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game.
It also helps that the Sixers should be a top-two seed in the Eastern Conference this season.
I like Mitchell at 33-1 and would still take him closer to 25-1.
There's no question the Jazz will be good this year. They own a higher win total than the two L.A. squads and hold a legitimate shot at a top-two seed in the West. Mitchell is a budding star who should build off his 23.8 points per game last season. He just needs to improve in other areas after putting up only 4.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per contest.
So, the Sixers will be in the thick of things and I get a ball-dominant player at 40-1? I don't need much else to be persuaded at this price.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.