2021 NBA MVP Odds: Jokic Gaining Steam

Updated: March 18, 2021

With the Denver Nuggets climbing the West standings, Nikola Jokic (+200) is now seeing his MVP odds rise as well.

Photo By – USA TODAY Sports

The second half of a very topsy-turvy NBA season is kicking off, as we prepare for the crux of what’s shaping up to be a very intriguing race for NBA MVP betting odds. 

Throughout this unique schedule, 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 home stretch, 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 (+160) 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 Los Angeles Lakers right in the mix near the top of the Western Conference, but a recent rough stretch with Anthony Davis sidelined hasn’t helped his case. 

Second on the odds board is Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, at +200. Jokic has been very arguably the NBA’s single best statistical player this season, but Denver’s slow start hurt his case. With Denver climbing the West standings, Jokic’s odds to win NBA MVP are also rising.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (+600) 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 has been at the top of the Eastern Conference all season, largely thanks to Embiid’s career year. But the big man bruised his knee in an awkward landing March 12, and his MVP odds have tumbled a bit while he’s sidelined indefinitely.

From there, we find a relatively large odds drop to James Harden at +1,200, followed by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and preseason favorite Luka Doncic (both at +1,400).

Here’s a full update of the odds for NBA MVP: 

Odds to win 2020-21 NBA MVP award

Player Odds to win NBA MVP (as of March 18)
LeBron James +160
Nikola Jokic +200
Joel Embiid  +600
James Harden +1,200
Giannis Antetokounmpo +1,400
Luka Doncic +1,400
Stephen Curry +1,800
Damian Lillard +1,800
Kawhi Leonard +3,300
Kevin Durant +5,000
Donovan Mitchell +8,000
Devin Booker +15,000
Anthony Davis +15,000
Paul George +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.

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 best sportsbooks available for the most trusted books in your area.

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