NBA MVP odds: Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Luka Doncic get boost following Joel Embiid’s injury

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The NBA MVP race just got a little more interesting. Former betting favorite and reigning MVP Joel Embiid injured his meniscus and appears set to fall short of the 65-game threshold that’s required for him to be eligible to repeat. His absence will open up the door for a few other names to claim the award, and bettors should be looking to find value. Let’s go over who has a real case to win in 2024.
The Denver Nuggets’ star center is the new betting favorite and has a strong case to win his third MVP in four years. Embiid’s dominance as a scorer helped him edge out the Serbian big man in 2023, but it’ll be tough for any player to catch him this time around. Jokic’s all-round game has helped him crack the top five in points, rebounds, and assists so far this campaign. His all-around game could help power his team to the top of the Western Conference by the end of the regular season for a second consecutive year as well. However, voter fatigue is real and people might want to see a new name elevated to the forefront. The safest bet is Jokic, but if the Nuggets fall short of finishing atop the standings another option could come into play.
SGA has the best chance to prevent another Jokic MVP and his storyline could give him an advantage. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard couldn’t lead his young squad to the playoffs after putting together an All-NBA campaign, but now they’re real contenders to clinch the top seed once the postseason rolls around. SGA leads all players in points (1,472) but has also been a pest as a perimeter defender with a league-high 104 steals. Most didn’t expect the 25-year-old to climb the ranks of the elite so fast and he’s probably the only player you should bet on who’s not named Jokic at this point. His leadership over a less-experienced core can sway voters if he keeps winning at the same rate.
Doncic’s ridiculous raw numbers have made him one of the more popular preseason MVP candidates for a few years now. He seems like the player most likely to claim the scoring title following Embiid’s injury and is posting career-highs in points (34.7) and assists (9.6) in his first full season with Kyrie Irving as his co-star. Being a nightly triple-double threat isn’t nearly enough in today’s NBA, though, as Jokic and Domantas Sabonis have been just as likely to record one while leading more successful teams so far this season. Doncic could gain some ground, but the Dallas Mavericks’ lack of depth will make it tough for them to climb past the slew of loaded teams ahead of them in the Western Conference. While there’s intrigue because of the potential return on investment, bettors probably have too much faith in Doncic making a better case unless there’s a drastic change with one of the aforementioned players or within his own team.

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