For the second straight season, Luka Doncic is set to be the preseason favorite for NBA MVP.
DraftKings Sportsbook released its odds for the 2021-22 season Wednesday, with Doncic coming in as a +400 favorite (bet $100 to win $400). Joel Embiid is second in the odds at +700, while Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all tied at +800.
Reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic is surprisingly listed at +1500 to repeat.
The Doncic MVP hype train is understandable, given he finished fourth in 2019-20 and sixth in 2020-21. All it would take is the Mavericks taking the next step as a team in order for Doncic to get himself in the conversation for the individual accolade.
Doncic's numbers are already there. He averaged 27.7 points. 8.0 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game this season, all while showing improvement as a three-point shooter and acting as the Mavericks' offensive fulcrum. Doncic also is not the same injury concern as Embiid, who has missed significant time every year of his NBA career.
None of the lower-odds selections appear to be great bets at this point. Trae Young (+1800) has some momentum after the Hawks' run to the Eastern Conference Finals, but his night-to-night inconsistency could hurt him over the course of a full 82-game season. Devin Booker, James Harden and Anthony Davis all have superstar teammates who get more public shine.
Jokic as a repeat winner may actually be the smartest bet on the board. There's little reason to think his numbers will dip any from this season, and he'll have to shoulder more of an individual load with Jamal Murray likely missing much of the 2021-22 campaign. If Jokic keeps Denver in the top half of Western Conference playoff teams, 15-1 will seem like a bargain.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN). 21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.