2022 NBA MVP Odds Tracker: Luka Doncic the Favorite, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid Behind Him
Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic
2022 NBA MVP Odds
|Michael Porter Jr.||+25000||0.27%|
The NBA MVP award is a standalone sports betting event. We cover it extensively here. And the debate represents a beautiful synergy between betting and fandom. You don’t need to bet the MVP race to be interested in how the odds are shifting, because it tells an interesting story regardless.
It’s so difficult to win an MVP award — Kevin Durant only has one, and LeBron James has four. You may think a player winning his first will be the first of many, but it rarely is. Over an 82-game regular season, in a sport that’s as sticky year to year as basketball, randomness can’t impact the NBA like it can other sports.
Durant saw a bit of a bump when the Nets announced Kyrie Irving would miss the first part of the season due to the vaccine mandate, and possibly more. He won’t be allowed to play in certain locations without the vaccine, and the team is choosing to not have him as a part-time player for now, and instead keep him out until it’s resolved.
The betting market has a clear favorite in Luka Doncic, though the real probability of him winning is under 15%.
Anyone can win an MVP, but here are a few criteria the victors usually have:
- At least 23 years old, younger than 35
- On a great team
- Past MVP consideration
- Scorer and/or stat-sheet stuffer
- Bonus: Poor defense doesn’t disqualify you
The NBA MVP award will generally go to a scorer (and offensive all-around star) on a great team who has been in the mix before. So take those into account when placing any bets.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (+400)
Luka Doncic is the betting favorite at every sportsbook, and for good reason. He’s finished fourth and sixth the last two years, and enters his age 23 season as the focal point of a team expected to take the next step with him leading the way. Doncic’s usage and volume (and talent, of course) will keep him toward the top of this race all year, barring injury.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the best price in the United States on Doncic at +480.
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (+700)
Kyrie Irving might miss the beginning of the season, and perhaps more. According to the betting market, Durant’s chances originally increased by about 1%. Durant should see more offensive volume with Irving out, and the narrative will be strong if he can lead the Nets to a regular-season conference title, or close to it.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (+700)
Embiid will also be in the MVP award conversation if he can stay healthy. He may not have Ben Simmons alongside him, but that probably won’t be an MVP factor.
Health is always the biggest concern. Embiid has played just 260 games in seven NBA seasons, including 51 last season, which is on the higher end of his range to date. He did finish second in MVP voting last season.
Ben Simmons has ‘mentally checked out’ as a member of the 76ers, per @ShamsCharania
“Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle — and most of the team were set to take a jet to see Simmons before being turned away.” pic.twitter.com/kMMmkyckOy
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) September 25, 2021
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (+800)
Giannis is fresh off his first NBA title and Finals MVP, and while the Bucks lost a few key pieces in the offseason, they should be near the Eastern Conference again. He’ll be in the mix for the MVP award again after winning two consecutive in 2019 and 2020.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (+900)
Currey dropped from +800 to +900 over the last week.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (+1100)
Lillard starts a tier of players with double-digit odds who will probably have a hard time winning it for one reason or another (well, we did say that about Jokic last year). He appears set in Portland; a big splash in his first season in New York could have gotten him a little bit more love in this race.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (+1500)
Well, well. The defending champ entered last season at 25-1 to win MVP, and while it’s unlikely he repeats, he’s getting a little more love this regular season.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (+1500)
You don’t see LeBron this far down the board now, but he’s a different player in a different situation. When he’s at his best, he’s LeBron. But he’s going to take more games off, and his usage will be down with the supporting cast around him.
James Harden, Brooklyn Nets (+2000)
Harden is an interesting flier because if Durant or Kyrie Irving miss time, Harden’s usage will skyrocket, and he’ll return to putting up video game numbers. His usage is already insanely high
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (+2000)
Young and the Hawks broke through with a playoff appearance and two series wins in his third season. Would an MVP-caliber next step be too much to ask? Probably, but offense is most of what matters here, so his lack of defense won’t hurt him as much as it should.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (+2500)
Booker’s teammate, Chris Paul, finished top 5 in MVP voting last NBA regular season. Is it Booker’s turn now?
The Suns should be one of the league’s best teams after finishing runner-up in the NBA championship if you believe in the efficiency of the NBA win totals market, and Booker is the guy now.
Anthony Davis, LA Lakers (+2500)
Davis finished sixth in MVP voting two years ago during the COVID-shortened season, but didn’t factor in last year as he dealt with injuries.
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers (+2500)
Kawhi is not going to return until at least 2022 after partially tearing his Achilles in the playoffs — and he may not return at all. So making an MVP run feels very unlikely. There are better ways to tie up your money for nine months.
"I'm here. I'm here to be a Clipper. I'm not going to any other team. I'm here for the long run."
Kawhi Leonard explains his decision to sign the 4-year deal as opposed to the 1+1 and then the 5-year max deal. pic.twitter.com/37Oc9fNrGx
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) September 27, 2021
Russell Westbrook, LA Lakers (+2500)
Westbrook, now a Laker, shouldn’t have the Herculean stat lines he’s used to, but he will raise their floor when LeBron and AD are out.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (+3000)
Tatum is still just 23-years-old and probably hasn’t played his best basketball yet. The Celtics should be in the playoff hunt in the East despite a new coach. You’re betting on a huge step forward for Tatum, but not one that’s outside the realm of possibility.
The Jazz have the highest win total in the Western Conference and Mitchell will lead the way again. He was fifth in usage among qualified players last season, so it’s not a “too many mouths to feed” situation in Utah.
Paul George, LA Clippers (+3000)
George looked like an MVP-caliber player in the posteason, carrying the Clippers to the franchise’s first Western Conference Finals without Leonard. They’ll be missing Kawhi for much of this season, too, so maybe George makes some noise in this race.
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets (+4000)
The third member of the Nets to appear on this list, we don’t even know if Kyrie will be able to play in home games because of New York City’s mask mandate. You could find much better ways to tie up your money for the entire season.
Asked if he planned to play home games by @malika_andrews , Kyrie says: "Again I would like to keep all that private. Please respect my privacy regarding anything regarding homes games, what’s going on with vaccination."
Said it will come out at a "later date" https://t.co/tyjiOAQ8so
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 27, 2021
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans (+4000)
Both Zion on the guy below him on the list are hoping for Year 3 mega-breakouts.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies (+4500)
It feels like the year Morant could work his way into the conversation, but he’s still a longshot.
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat (+5500)
The Heat retooled a bit last year and should be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. But Butler won’t have the offensive output to compete with the names at the top. At age 32, we know how he is.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards (+6000)
Maybe Beal would have a better shot on another team, because his gaudy offensive numbers have never earned him much MVP chatter in the past.
Julius Randle, New York Knicks (+6500)
The regression monster is coming for Randle, who already started to show some cracks in the playoffs. He finished eighth in MVP voting last year — a very well-deserved finish — but repeating last year’s output is going to be difficult for Randle.
Sabonis took a big step forward last season but the Pacers fell off at the end of the season and missed the playoffs. He averaged 20.3 points, 12 boards and 6.7 assists per game last year.
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (+8000)
You could do worse at 80-1 here. LaVine set career highs in points per game and PER in the shortened 2020-2021 season, and the Bulls addressed some holes this offseason that should have them in the playoff hunt.
Past NBA MVP Winners
|2001||Allen Iverson||Philadelphia 76ers|
|2002||Tim Duncan||San Antonio Spurs|
|2003||Tim Duncan||San Antonio Spurs|
|2004||Kevin Garnett||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|2005||Steve Nash||Phoenix Suns|
|2006||Steve Nash||Phoenix Suns|
|2007||Dirk Nowitzki||Dallas Mavericks|
|2008||Kobe Bryant||Los Angeles Lakers|
|2009||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2010||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2011||Derrick Rose||Chicago Bulls|
|2012||LeBron James||Miami Heat|
|2013||LeBron James||Miami Heat|
|2014||Kevin Durant||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2015||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors|
|2016||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors|
|2017||Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2018||James Harden||Houston Rockets|
|2019||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2020||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2021||Nikola Jokić||Denver Nuggets|