- BetOnline has Mavericks star Luka Doncic as a +500 favorite to win the 2021 NBA MVP ahead of back-to-back winner Giannis Antetokounmpo (+600)
- Lakers teammates LeBron James (+650) and Anthony Davis (+900) are once again in danger of splitting the vote
- Kevin Durant is a ridiculous value at +1200 if he can return to form after missing the entire 2019-20 season
It might surprise you that reigning two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is not the favorite for this year’s award. Instead, oddsmakers went with Luka Doncic after the Slovenian stud averaged almost a triple-double (28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists) in only his second season in the league.
Let’s check the latest odds and weigh some pros and cons for all the top contenders.
2021 NBA REGULAR SEASON MVP ODDS
LUKA OR GIANNIS?
Bursting onto the scene as 2019 Rookie of the Year, Luka Doncic (+500) continued his ascent in his sophomore year, placing top five in NBA MVP votes and almost single-handedly carrying the Mavericks past the Clippers in his postseason debut, averaging 31 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 8.7 APG in a six-game series where he drained an overtime buzzer-beater in Game 4.
To win the award, the 6-foot-7 guard will have to stay healthy after missing 14 games with a variety of ankle and thumb issues last year. After finishing seventh in the West in 2020, Dallas will also need to win more games as it’s rare for an MVP to come from a team that places outside the top four in their conference. To supplement Doncic’s supporting cast, the Mavs are rumored to be interested in names like Zach Lavine, Victor Oladipo and Jrue Holiday.
“It depends on what decisions they make. If they make the right decision, I’ll be there for many years. If they do not, we’ll see. The NBA is business and we take it day by day. Hopefully we can succeed together.”
– Giannis on his future in Milwaukee
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) November 14, 2020
Giannis Antetokoumpo (+600) is looking to become just the fourth player in NBA history to win the MVP award in three consecutive years, following in the footsteps of Bill Russell (1961-1963), Wilt Chamberlain (1966-1968) and Larry Bird (1984-1986).
Working in his favor is his greatness on both ends of the court (he just became only the third player in NBA history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year), but the Greek Freak also has many factors working against him: impossible expectations, voter fatigue, consecutive playoff disappointments and a looming 2021 free agency that will almost certainly serve as a distraction.
2021 NBA MVP BEST BET
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James (+650) was unhappy after receiving fewer votes than he expected last year, but the simple fact is it’s going to be almost impossible for he or teammate Anthony Davis (+900) to win the award while sharing a court. Don’t feel too bad for them, however – the Lakers are favored to win another championship, after all.
A back-to-back winner in 2015 and 2016, Steph Curry (+700) could contend again if he returns strong from a hand injury, but we prefer his former teammate Kevin Durant at +1200.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 10, 2020
While it has been almost 20 months since KD last played a NBA game, the 2014 MVP is one of the most prolific scorers in league history, ranking sixth on the all-time list with 27 points per game. If he’s healthy, Durant should also feast on subpar Eastern Conference competition while immediately showing his value to a Brooklyn Nets team that finished under .500 without him last year.
Not so far removed from winning consecutive NBA Finals MVPs in 2017 and 2018 and being considered the best player in the game after outplaying LeBron in back-to-back years, Durant is a big-time value at +1200.
2021 NBA MVP Best Bet: Kevin Durant (+1200)