While it’s true that NBA superstars play to win championships, they also fight hard to be recognized as the NBA MVP. Other than the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and possibly NBA Finals MVP, the regular-season MVP is basketball’s most coveted honor.
If Texas legalizes online sports betting in 2023 as expected, not only will you be able to bet on basketball, you’ll soon be able to bet on who will win NBA MVP right from your own home. As a local plus, all this is happening as Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic emerges as a perennial favorite to win NBA MVP.
NBA MVP odds are on the board at sportsbooks from the start of the offseason through the end of the regular season. MVP odds for the NBA change constantly based on on-court performance, but you lock in the odds as currently posted when you place a bet.
Here’s how to do just that, including the latest NBA MVP odds at legal sportsbooks, a look at how MVP voting works, and the current favorites.
Odds to win the 2023 NBA MVP
Here’s a look at the current NBA MVP odds from legal online sportsbooks in Texas (when launched):
Current NBA MVP favorites
Four clear MVP favorites emerged this offseason. The list includes:
Luka Doncic ()
This Slovenian star does it all for Dallas, but he was also the MVP favorite last offseason and still hasn’t won the award. Only time will tell if MVP voters will recognize Doncic’s worth to the Mavs the way MVP bettors do.
Joel Embiid ()
This dominating big man has wondered aloud what he has to do to win MVP. The answer is probably to win (even) more and stay (even more) healthy. If the Philadelphia 76ers end up with the best record in the league this season, Joel Embiid should get his due.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ()
This back-to-back NBA MVP took a couple of seasons off from winning the award to win a championship and defend it admirably. It’s likely time for “The Greek Freak” to enter the MVP conversation again, considering his dominance.
Nikola Jokic ()
The name “Nikola” doesn’t fit in all that well with Bill, Wilt and Larry. But if this back-to-back MVP manages a third win, it’ll have to, as he’ll join legends Russell, Chamberlain and Bird as some of the only players to pull off this feat. Oddsmakers have him as the outside favorite here, but Jokic does so much for the Denver Nuggets, he’s not that far outside.
How to bet on NBA MVP futures
The NBA MVP odds market settles after the regular season, but you can bet on it all year long. The odds are first set as the offseason begins and change based on roster moves, injury reports and, ultimately, superstar performance.
Like anything else, when you place a bet, you lock in the currently posted odds, and winners get paid at those odds no matter how much they change afterward. Most of the time, even the favorites for MVP pay like underdogs. In fact, you likely won’t have to lay money on even the biggest favorite until quite late in the season. However, the NBA MVP betting odds are almost always better earlier.
Just keep in mind that early bets are subject to the same rules as late ones, including that they all stand unless the season is canceled and there is no NBA MVP. Plus, bets are only voided and returned on players who don’t play a single game, not even for favorites who get injured early, miss most of the season, and are never truly in contention for the award.
Trends in NBA MVP betting
Two types of players win NBA MVP:
- More than half the time, the best player on the best regular-season team wins;
- The rest go to stat stuffers, who put up undeniably great numbers even on mediocre teams.
Back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic falls into the latter category, but five of the other past 10 NBA MVP winners were clearly the best player on the best team, or at least the team with the best record throughout the regular season.
That tells you NBA MVP is an individual award in which team wins count, and that big stats aren’t a clear path to winning it. That’s especially true for scoring stats, considering the league’s top scorer has only won the award three times in the past 10 seasons. Winning and all-around play matter much more.
Past 10 NBA MVP winners
Here’s a list of the past 10 winners:
|2021-22||Nikola Jokic||C||Denver Nuggets|
|2020-21||Nikola Jokic||C||Denver Nuggets|
|2019-20||Giannis Antetokounmpo||PF||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2018-19||Giannis Antetokounmpo||PF||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2017-18||James Harden||PG||Houston Rockets|
|2016-17||Russell Westbrook||PG||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2015-16||Stephen Curry||PG||Golden State Warriors|
|2014-15||Stephen Curry||PG||Golden State Warriors|
|2013-14||Kevin Durant||SF||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2012-13||LeBron James||SF||Miami Heat|
More NBA futures odds
Other NBA futures odds markets for awards outside of NBA MVP include:
- Rookie of the Year odds
- Defensive Player of the Year odds
- Most Improved Player odds
- Sixth Man of the Year odds
Plus, you can bet on other NBA futures, including:
- NBA Finals odds
- Win totals (team)
- Division winners
- Conference Championship winners
- Teams to make the playoffs
- Points, rebounds or assists leaders
NBA MVP FAQ
Who chooses the NBA MVP?
The NBA MVP award is voted on by a panel of media members. Plus, a single ballot is cast collectively by fans online. Panel members vote by awarding points to their top five on a sliding scale. The player with the most points wins.
Who has been named NBA MVP the most?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won a record six NBA MVPs. He won three with Milwaukee in 1971, 1972 and 1974, followed by three with the Lakers in 1976, 1977 and 1980.
Who’s had the best and worst MVP seasons?
Michael Jordan won MVP in 1992, averaging 30.1 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.3 steals. He was dominant, and the Chicago Bulls won 67 games to lead the NBA. It was one of the most impressive MVP seasons in history.
By contrast, Steve Nash won his second MVP Award in 2006, scoring just 18.8 ppg. He did average 10.5 assists, but just 4.2 rebounds per game. Considering Phoenix had the third-best record in the league, Nash’s MVP season is considered one of the least impressive ever.
Should I bet on an MVP winner to repeat?
You probably should, considering 15 MVP winners have won at least one more and eight have won three or more. Here’s the list of multiple NBA MVP winners:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6)
- Michael Jordan (5)
- Bill Russell (5)
- LeBron James (4)
- Wilt Chamberlain (4)
- Moses Malone (3)
- Larry Bird (3)
- Magic Johnson (3)
- Karl Malone (2)
- Tim Duncan (2)
- Steve Nash (2)
- Stephen Curry (2)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (2)
- Bob Pettit (2)
- Nikola Jokic (2)
When should I bet on NBA MVP futures odds?
The earlier you bet on NBA MVP, the better the odds are on the true favorites. Late in the season, when the MVP picture becomes clearer, the odds tighten up significantly. Unless you’re betting on longshots without much of a chance, the offseason is the best time to bet on NBA MVP futures.