2023 NBA MVP Betting Odds: Nikola Jokic Favored to Win Again
In the history of the NBA, there have been only three players to three consecutive MVP awards: Bill Russell (1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63), Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68), and Larry Bird (1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86).
Denver’s do-it-all center Nikola Jokic is now the betting favorite to join that illustrious list.
The 27-year-old is the back-to-back winner, after nearly averaging a triple-double the past two seasons, and he’s inching closer to finishing this campaign with that on his resume.
As of this writing (Jan. 18), his stats look like this: 24.9 ppg (on 63 percent shooting), 11.0 rpg, and 9.7 apg.
If that happens, he’s going to complete the three-peat, despite some pundits’ concerns that there could be the so-called “voter fatigue” for Jokic again and that voters will back Luka Doncic.
A few weeks ago, I wrote that I’m still sticking with Doncic, who was my preseason selection.
The Mavericks are currently fourth in the Western Conference standings while the Nuggets are half a game ahead of the Grizzlies for the No. 1 seed. But can you imagine where Dallas would be without Luka? I’d dare say ninth or worse.
Both players have recorded historic triple-doubles just in January.
The Nuggets and Mavs each have a favorable second-half schedule, with Denver’s SOS at 15th and Dallas’s at 22nd.
The Mavericks probably need to finish among the top eight in the West for Doncic to have any chance to win the award. I still think they will and he will.
This is looking like a two-man race at this point of the season, but we’re only halfway there.
With that in mind, let’s look at the latest MVP odds courtesy of one of our favorite sites: FanDuel Sportsbook. But be sure to check out our reviews of the many great wagering sites across the country and the ones that offer the best bonuses.
2022-23 NBA Regular Season MVP
-Nikola Jokic +130
-Luka Doncic +270
-Jayson Tatum +600
-Giannis Antetokounmpo +900
-Joel Embiid +1100
Tatum certainly can’t be counted out just yet. He has the Celtics playing great basketball – they’ve won nine of their last 11 – and Boston is now four games up on the Bucks in the East. The 24-year-old Tatum has a lot to do with that, with averages of 30.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.2 apg.
Speaking of the Bucks, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is always capable of putting together a spectacular season to claim his third award and he’s been great all season (31.0 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 5.3 apg) – that is, until knee soreness sidelined him the past two games and he’s expected to miss a couple more.
Joel Embiid, last year’s MVP runner-up, has been awesome again (33.5 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 4.4 apg) and I expect him to be a major force in the second half. If you’re looking for a long shot at this point, he’s your guy.
After that, the next betting favorite is Kevin Durant at +2900. His injury will keep him sidelined for the next several weeks, according to reports, and that also ends his chances.
What I recommend you do at this point, is put some on Jokic (more) and some on Doncic (a bit less). With both at better than even money, for now, you’re bound to make a profit.
Unless you like Tatum’s chances. However, I think it’s a Joker-Luka showdown from here on out.
In closing, I must give a shoutout to NBA.com’s Michael C. Wright when he wrote this about Jokic: “The Nuggets go from championship contender to ‘our most untrustworthy family member is being forced to babysit because of an unforeseen emergency, and now the kids are eating ice cream for dinner’ whenever Jokic rests.”
Heh. The same could be said of Doncic.