2021 NBA MVP Odds: Embiid Draws Even

Mar 5, 2021 |
By: Covers Staff
2021 NBA MVP Odds: Embiid Draws Even
After a dominant first half of the season on both sides of the ball, Joel Embiid has pulled even with LeBron James atop the MVP odds board at +225.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports
After a dominant first half of the season on both sides of the ball, Joel Embiid has pulled even with LeBron James atop the MVP odds board at +225.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The first half of a very topsy-turvy NBA season is officially in the books, pumping the brakes on what's shaping up to be a very intriguing race for NBA MVP betting. 

Since the December 22 tip-off, we've seen some of the NBA's perennial MVP contenders showing out, with some young superstars adding their names to the mix, and a few former winners proving they've still got it. 

As we prepare for the season's second half, let's take a pit stop to check in on the 2020-21 NBA MVP odds:

Favorite to win the NBA MVP award

Four-time regular-season MVP LeBron James has seen his name atop the MVP odds for most of this season. James (+225) has maintained his usual, unmatched consistency despite a lightning-quick turnaround from the Finals in the bubble to the start of the new season. James has the Lakers right in the mix near the top of the Western Conference, but a recent 3-7 skid with Anthony Davis sidelined hasn't helped his case. 

But LeBron now has some company: 76ers center Joel Embiid (also +225) has been an utter force this season. Philadelphia's big man has finally been optimized on offense, completely dominating in the post with little resistance. Philly sits atop the Eastern Conference heading into the break, largely thanks to Embiid's career year (30.2 ppg/11.6 rpg on sublimely efficient 52/41/85 shooting splits). As the season progresses, it's looking more and more like the MVP will come down to James and Embiid. 

Third on the odds board is Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, at +450. Jokic has been very arguably the NBA's single best statistical player this season, but Denver's lack of traction in the West has hurt his case. If the Nuggets are able to regroup and mount a run in the second half, his odds should rise accordingly. 

From there, we find a relatively large odds drop to preseason MVP favorite Luka Doncic (+1,200), while two-time MVPs Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry are knotted at +1,600. 

Here is a full update of the top 2020-21 NBA MVP odds contenders: 

Odds to win 2020-21 NBA MVP award

Player Odds to win NBA MVP (as of March 5)
Joel Embiid  +225
LeBron James +225
Nikola Jokic +450
Luka Doncic +1,200
Giannis Antetokounmpo +1,600
Stephen Curry +1,600
Damian Lillard +2,000
James Harden +2,500
Kawhi Leonard +3,300
Kevin Durant +4,000
Paul George +10,000
Donovan Mitchell +10,000
Devin Booker +15,000
Anthony Davis +15,000
Rudy Gobert +15,000
Kyrie Irving +15,000
Jayson Tatum +15,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Understanding NBA MVP odds

Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above.  Antetokounmpo was a huge favorite last season, so his odds were listed with a minus (-) sign ahead of the number. 

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo -400

The (-) meant that Giannis was an odds-on favorite, and a bettor needed to wager $400 to win $100. Other contenders in the MVP race had plus (+) odds to win.

  • Luke Doncic +650

Here, a bettor stood to profit $650 for every $100 wagered. 

If American odds aren't your thing, simply use a tool like our odds converter to switch the odds to decimal or fractional format. Most online sportsbooks also give you the option to change the odds format that you see.

NBA MVP betting trends

Here are some trends you may want to consider before placing a bet on the NBA MVP:

  • Repeat winners are quite common. Twelve different players have won the award two (or more) years in a row.
  • The MVP usually comes from an elite team. Since 1985, only twice has the MVP come from a team that didn't finish first or second in its conference.
  • The award is usually given to a player with a few years of service time. A rookie hasn't won MVP since Wes Unseld in 1969 and only four MVPs have been younger than 23 years old.
  • The MVP award has historically been dominated by centers. However, a center hasn't won the award since Shaquille O'Neal in the 1999-00 season. MVP awards by position:
    • Point guard: 11
    • Shooting guard: 8
    • Small forward: 9
    • Power forward: 10
    • Center: 26

NBA MVP history

A quick look at recent NBA MVPs and the position they played.

Season Player Position Team
2019-20 Giannis Antetokounmpo Power Forward Milwaukee Bucks
2018-19 Giannis Antetokounmpo Power Forward Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 James Harden Shooting Guard Houston Rockets
2016-17 Russell Westbrook Point Guard Oklahoma City Thunder
2015-16 Stephen Curry Point Guard Golden State Warriors
2014-15 Stephen Curry Point Guard Golden State Warriors
2013-14 Kevin Durant Small Forward Oklahoma City Thunder
2012-13 LeBron James Small Forward Miami Heat
2011-12 LeBron James Small Forward Miami Heat
2010-11 Derrick Rose Point Guard Chicago Bulls
2009-10 LeBron James Small Forward Cleveland Cavaliers
2008-09 LeBron James Small Forward Cleveland Cavaliers
2007-08 Kobe Bryant Shooting Guard Los Angeles Lakers
2006-07 Dirk Nowitzki Power Forward Dallas Mavericks
2005-06 Steve Nash Point Guard Phoenix Suns
2004-05 Steve Nash Point Guard Phoenix Suns
2003-04 Kevin Garnett Power Forward Minnesota Timberwolves
2002-03 Tim Duncan Power Forward San Antonio Spurs
2001-02 Tim Duncan Power Forward San Antonio Spurs
2000-01 Allen Iverson Point Guard Philadelphia 76ers
1999-00 Shaquille O'Neal Center Los Angeles Lakers

Where can I bet on NBA MVP odds?

Most online sportsbooks will offer NBA futures odds on who will win the MVP for the next season. Check out our top online sportsbooks listings for the most trusted books in your area.

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