When the new NBA season began in December, the race for the 2021 NBA MVP was supposed to be a two-man race between two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and Dallas star Luka Doncic.
Fast forward to March and neither Doncic nor Giannis has taken control of the MVP race. LeBron James has made the biggest moves and a pair of undervalued centers are now worth contenders.
Here’s a look at the 2021 NBA MVP updated odds.
The New Favorite – 2021 NBA MVP
James is anything but new. With 18 years in the league and at 36 years of age, he may not be new but he is the new favorite to win this year’s league MVP.
James is scoring 25.5 points, averaging 8.1 rebounds, and dishing out 7.8 assists per game. His Lakers did have the best record in the Western Conference until the Utah Jazz caught fire recently.
Still, what James is doing is even more impressive now that Anthony Davis is out of the L.A. lineup. With Davis out a few weeks with an Achilles injury, James can prove he is worthy of the MVP by leading the Lakers to a No.1 or No. 2 seed in the postseason and then leading them to a repeat of last year’s NBA title.
James is now the even money favorite to win dropping from +350 just a few weeks ago.
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Where is Luka?
This was supposed to be the year Doncic just took over and made Dallas a real contender for an NBA title. The problem is that the third-year pro can’t do it himself.
Much of the NBA MVP award has to do with the performance of a team. Right now, the Mavericks are ninth in the Western Conference with a .500 record.
Is Doncic one of the best players in the league? Absolutely. He is seventh in scoring (28.5), fifth in assists (9.0), and fifth in offensive efficiency rating (30.52).
The reality is that unless Dallas begins a slow rise into the upper echelon of the Western Conference, Doncic will not be the league MVP. Can he get the Mavs into that upper echelon? Yes, and bettors that think so might be willing to take a shot at Doncic to win the MVP at +700.
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Front and Center Favorites for 2021 NBA MVP
Two players have seen their 2021 NBA MVP odds improve over the past few weeks – Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Denver’s Nikola Jokic.
Embiid is an absolute beast. He’s second in the league in scoring averaging 30 points a game. Embiid grabs 11.3 rebounds a game and is third in offensive efficiency rating (33.57).
Embiid is now listed at +250 to win the MVP primarily because he is the best player on the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Jokic is equally as good for one of the West’s top teams in the Nuggets. The Denver center is an amazing basketball player. He is among the league leaders in points (26.7), rebounds (10.9), assists (8.5), and steals (1.7).
Jokic is given +550 odds to win the MVP, an award he likely deserves but much of it will depend on how the Nuggets finish.
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It’s almost hard to believe, but two-time reigning MVP winner Antetokounmpo is now a longshot to win at +1350.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Portland’s Damian Lillard are now given better odds – +1150 and +1200, respectively – to win the MVP than the Bucks star.