2023 NBA MVP Odds: Joker Now Odds-On to Three-Peat

As the 2022-23 season picks up steam, see how the odds to win Most Valuable Player are taking shape, with two-time reigning winner Nikola Jokic making a serious case for a three-peat.

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2023 9:36 AM ET Read Time: 3 min
Nikola Jokic NBA MVP odds
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NBA MVP odds are front and center with 2022-23 hitting its second half, and plenty of the usual suspects are dominating the midseason Most Valuable Player narrative.

With the board shuffling, many bettors will be looking to sink their teeth into the NBA odds markets. Dallas phenom Luka Doncic entered as the favorite for the third straight season, but he's seen a fellow Euro superstar overtake him, also for the third straight season.

See how the contenders stack up against the surging Nikola Jokic in the latest odds for 2023 NBA MVP.

Odds to win 2022-23 NBA MVP race

Player Team Position Odds
Nikola Jokic Nuggets Denver Nuggets C -140
Luka Doncic Mavs Dallas Mavericks PG +400
Jayson Tatum Celtics Boston Celtics SF +700
Joel Embiid Browns Philadelphia 76ers C +700
Giannis Antetokounmpo Browns Milwaukee Bucks PF +1,200
Ja Morant Thunder Memphis Grizzlies PG +3,000
Kevin Durant Nets Brooklyn Nets F +4,000
Stephen Curry Lakers Golden State Warriors PG +4,000
Donovan Mitchell Thunder Cleveland Cavaliers SG +6,000
LeBron James Hawks Los Angeles Lakers SF +10,000

Odds courtesy of PointsBet, January 26, 2023.

Favorites to win the NBA MVP race

Nikola Jokic (-140)

Voter fatigue? Never heard of it. 

Two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has been going absolutely bananas over the past two-plus months, comfortably averaging a triple-double over a prolonged stretch that's seen the Nuggets ascend to the West's No. 1 seed. 

Three-peating as MVP is no small task. It's something only three players have ever done, none since Larry Bird in the mid-80s.

But with Jokic putting up another God-tier offensive season, and Denver now atop the uber-competitive West to boot, the narrative over the past few weeks has largely questioned if voters can plausibly deny him at this point. 

His odds movement suggests as much — priced around +2,800 to +3,000 in December, he's now the odds-on leader, and appears poised to make history.

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Luka Doncic (+400)

The preseason betting favorite each of the past two years, Luka Doncic is still in search of what feels like an inevitable MVP award.

Doncic has been putting up undeniably monster numbers this season, with his 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double still reverberating through the MVP narrative streets.   

But, the question remains. can Dallas succeed enough as a team to bolster his credentials? The Mavs are currently stuck in a huge glut of middling West teams, with just three games separating seeds No. 4 through 13.

Dallas could wind up pretty much anywhere in the West, putting Doncic's potential MVP claim in a blender.

Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid (+700)

Jayson Tatum's taken more upon himself, averaging 31.0 points on .545 effective shooting thus far — both career bests. He's also getting to the line more than ever, attempting roughly 40% more free throws than last season's previous career mark.

The Celtics have the NBA's best record at 35-14, leading the league in a host of catch-all metrics. This squad is getting a definite boost on offense (while its trademark defense lagged to begin the season) and Tatum's been leading the charge.

Meanwhile, after a dismal and injury-riddled start, the Sixers are charging up the East standings, now second, with Joel Embiid putting up more monster numbers. Runner-up in voting each of the past two seasons, The Process will definitely have his sights set on the new Michael Jordan trophy down the stretch. 

Understanding NBA MVP odds

Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. Nikola Jokic had all but locked up the award by the end of last season, so his odds were listed with a minus (-) sign ahead of the number. 

  • Nikola Jokic -700

The (-) meant that Jokic was an odds-on favorite, and a bettor needed to wager $700 to win $100. Other contenders in the MVP race had plus (+) odds to win.

  • Joel Embiid +650

Here, a bettor stood to profit $650 for a $100 wager on Embiid if he had won the award. 

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 somewhat common. Jokic's latest win marked the 13th different player to have won the award two (or more) years in a row.

    • The MVP usually comes from an elite team. Since 1985, only four MVP winners have 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, Jokic's victory in 2020-21 ended a serious drought for the position, which hadn't won the award since Shaquille O'Neal in the 1999-00 season.

NBA MVP awards by position

Position NBA MVP wins
Point guard 11
Shooting guard 8
Small forward 9
Power forward 10
Center 28

Centers owned the NBA MVP award in the early days of the Association, winning the trophy in 21 of the first 25 years it was presented.

NBA MVP history

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

Season Player Position Team
2021-22 Nikola Jokic Center Denver Nuggets
2020-21 Nikola Jokic Center Denver Nuggets
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

NBA MVP odds FAQ

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