Kev Mahserejian checks in on the 2021 NBA MVP Futures Market. The NBA All-Star Break is right around the corner, and MVP talks are as hot as ever. Should you place your 2021 NBA MVP betting money on LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, or another NBA MVP candidate?
(Odds current as of Tuesday, Feb. 23, on PointsBet. Use our welcome offer — 2 Risk-Free Bets up to $2,000 — to sign up and claim this special promotion.)
2021 NBA MVP Futures Market & Odds
- LeBron James, F, Los Angeles Lakers (+190)
- Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers (+250)
- Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets (+400)
- Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors (+1000)
- Luka Doncic, G/F, Dallas Mavericks (+1200)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee Bucks (+1600)
- Kevin Durant, PF, Brooklyn Nets (+1600)
- Kawhi Leonard, SF, Los Angeles Clippers (+2000)
- Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers (+2500)
- James Harden, G, Brooklyn Nets (+5000)
- Anthony Davis, PF, Los Angeles Lakers (+8000)
- Jayson Tatum, G/F, Boston Celtics (+8000)
We have the clear tier of favorites in LeBron James, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokic with odds under +500 with the next closest coming in at +1000 and so forth. While we are not even half-way through the season, you must begin the discussion with those three and add in the “in case of injury" label beyond that.
With LeBron James struggling to carry an AD-less Lakers team, this is a 2-man race between Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.
Embiid sits as more of a favorite given that the 76ers sit atop the Eastern Conference standings with his performance on both ends of the court providing at a high level.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are above .500 and in the Western playoffs but not nearly as dominant as Philly. However, there is a case to be made that the 76ers would still win games and remain a playoff team sans Embiid and the Nuggets without Jokic are fighting for a top spot in the lottery.
How voters weigh impact will matter and playing for a massive winner is typically favored, but the Nuggets have more room to operate at the deadline and slide into the top of the West. This, along with the reasons below is why it may be best to lean away from Embiid.
2021 NBA MVP Futures Market: Best Bet
Nikola Jokic (+400)
The Denver Nuggets might be mediocre but the only reason they are not a bottom-feeder is because of Nikola Jokic. Jokic has stepped up this season with career-highs in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, free-throw volume+efficiency, three-point volume+efficiency, true shooting percentage, steals, and usage.
Jokic is a mad man who is putting up ridiculous numbers on a nightly basis without the “for a center" caveat. If a point guard was putting up numbers like his from three on top of the near double-digit assists, we would be impressed. 26.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 8.5 assists with 1.5 made threes per game on a 40.4% average is the epitome of a “modern" big man. While his defense may not be notable, 1.7 steals per game is significant and makes up for the lack of blocks. Jokic may not be a rim protector in a traditional sense, he can defend competently. Not being a black hole keeps him in the good graces of voters’ perception.
Most notably, he leads the NBA in win-shares-per-48. Since LeBron’s 1st MVP in 2009, all but two award winners (Rose in ’11 and Russ in ’17) led the NBA in WS/48. While this is not the most comprehensive stat in the world due to the favoritism bigs get with their natural efficiency around the rim, considering that the other favorite for this award is Joel Embiid, this cancels out.
2021 NBA MVP Futures Market: Sleeper Bets
Stephen Curry (+1000)
The Warriors are in an even worse boat than the Nuggets without their star. Steph Curry has come back from a lost season and showed the world once again who he is. Unfortunately, that is with the worst surrounding environment in about a decade. Steph is obviously a MUCH more impactful player now than he was then and is capable of single-handedly lifting a team to at least mediocrity.
While that is at a lesser degree than Jokic, if the Nuggets were to fall out of the playoff picture (doubtful) and the Warriors were to stay in and possibly ascend, Steph’s case would strengthen further. This is not as much of a longshot as +1000 may seem. Steph should realistically be around +500 just behind Jokic, but his injury history knocks him down a bit.
Kawhi Leonard (+2000)
Leonard is having one of his best seasons in nearly half a decade and it is mostly unnoticed because of how quiet he is and how stable his volume stats are. Kawhi’s shooting above 50% from the field for the first time since 2015-2016 and playing the most minutes per game of his career while participating in back-to-back sets.
Paul George on the bone edema in his right toe: "I'm clear. I'm good to go. As of now, it's an afterthought. I'm healthy and I feel good."
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) February 22, 2021
🏀 After reading the 2021 NBA MVP Futures Market check-in, head over to our NBA betting and fantasy basketball homepage to catch up to our ongoing coverage of the 2020-2021 NBA season.
Stay up-to-date with all of our 2021 NBA betting tips, and place these 2021 NBA MVP bets at PointsBet. Use our welcome offer — 2 Risk-Free Bets up to $2,000 — to sign up and claim this special promotion.)