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NBA Betting News: Curry, Giannis tied atop MVP odds

NBA star Steph Curry

As the NBA season is now a little over halfway through, fans and bettors alike can now parse through awards odds with a relatively good idea of who may take home the MVP. In a season filled with parity and unlikely teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies rising towards the top of their respective conferences, it may be hard to single out a good value pick for the MVP award. Realistically, however, only five guys have a real chance to win the MVP. Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Ja Morant currently have the five best odds, and while a couple guys could jump into that group with a late-season run, it is somewhat safe to say the MVP from this year will be one of those names.

Narrative has always been a major factor in deciding the MVP and all these guys have a story that can compel voters into choosing them. Prior to Russell Westbrook’s MVP season in 2016-17, the previous 21 winners all were on either a one or two seed in their conference. Simply put, unless you’re doing something unprecedented, like Russ averaging a triple double, you must be on one of the top teams. While Jokic and Embiid have been dominant and carrying their teams, they are both on sixth-seed teams and although they deserve recognition, I don’t believe the MVP is where it will come. Embiid’s current odds of +350 and Jokic’s odds of +460 with Bovada do not represent good value as they will need to drastically improve their team’s standing in order to win. Jokic also deservingly won MVP last year and although he statistically has been better this year, there is a fatigue associated with this award. Winning back-to-back MVPs requires a ridiculous improvement on not only their individual statistics, but also the team has to get better. With the Nuggets struggling to match their third-seed finish from last year, Jokic for MVP doesn’t look like a good bet.

Moving on to the other three candidates, Giannis Antetokounmpo also is right in the thick of it. In our opinion, Giannis is the best player in the league and it’s not necessarily arguable at this point. Coming off back to back MVPs in 2018-19 and 2019-20, he won the NBA title in 2021 and is dominating yet again. That being said, Giannis being the best player in the league doesn’t necessarily mean he will win the MVP. This is evident by the fact that LeBron James ‘only’ has four MVP awards. The Bucks are currently the five seed in the Eastern Conference but sit two games out of first place. While it is completely feasible they jump into the top of the pack, Giannis’ odds of +320 do not represent good value. He is playing at a high level but it is not a clear jump over his past seasons, while his team’s relative struggles should hold him back from winning the award for the third time in four years.

That leaves us with Stephen Curry and Ja Morant. While Morant is extremely fun and his Grizzlies are outperforming expectations, it would be surprising if his team keeps up with the big guns of the Western Conference. If the Grizzlies do continue playing at this level and Ja keeps showing out, his odds of +1500 would be a steal at this point in the season. There are better players with better stats, but this award requires a strong narrative and the young star carrying a team to a top seed fits the bill. A lot needs to happen for Ja to continue his ascendency up the MVP ladder, but if things break the right way, it could happen.

The best bet for MVP is Steph Curry. Although he is the co-favorite in terms of odds at +320, Curry has the best chance to win. He is beloved by the fans and media alike and he is performing at potentially the highest level of his illustrious career. While his counting numbers aren’t at the point where they were in his previous MVP seasons, Curry is consistently putting up crazy numbers with efficiency and has the Warriors as the two seed in the West. The Warriors should comfortably finish amongst the top of their conference, and that fact – combined with their improvement on last season’s disappointment of losing the play-in game – create a very strong storyline for Curry’s MVP case. He has the pedigree, he has the numbers and he has the narrative.

It may feel obvious to bet on Curry, but it is impossible to overlook him at this price. All you need is the Warriors to continue winning and Curry to have some of his signature games where it feels like he can’t miss, and he should coast his way to his third MVP award. People love a redemption story, and Curry is providing everyone with just that.

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