Nikola Jokic New MVP Betting Favorite After Lakers' LeBron James Suffers Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 21, 2021

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, center, drives to the basket between Chicago Bulls guards Zach LaVine, left, and Denzel Valentine during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 19, 2021, in Denver. The Nuggets won 131-127 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has emerged as the +110 betting favorite ($100 bet to win $110) for the 2020-21 NBA MVP award, per the latest odds from FanDuel Sportsbook on Saturday.

The news comes after Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James suffered a high ankle sprain that will keep him out indefinitely, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is second on the list with +550 odds. He is currently out with a left knee bone bruise suffered on March 12. Wojnarowski and ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported at the time that Embiid would be re-evaluated in two weeks.

James (+550), Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (+750), Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (+1100), Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (+1600), Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (+1600) and Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic (+1800) round out all the MVP candidates under the 20-1 odds marker.

The 26-year-old Jokic has been fantastic for the Nuggets this year, averaging 27.0 points on 56.6 percent shooting, 11.2 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

The advanced stats all favor Jokic's MVP candidacy too. Per Basketball Reference, Jokic's win share/48-minute rate of .310 is tops in the league. The same goes for his 11.8 box plus-minus, 5.1 VORP (value over replacement player), 9.5 win shares and 31.6 player efficiency rating.

Denver has also won eight of its last nine games to move to 25-16, good enough for fifth in the Western Conference.

Ultimately, all signs point to Jokic winning his first-ever MVP as of now, although nearly two months of regular-season basketball still remain.


For all the latest betting information and reaction, check out B/R Betting.

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