Luka Doncic, Giannis open as favorites


In 2019-20, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo took home his second consecutive MVP award, handily defeating LeBron James and James Harden. Yet, with a new season ready to begin, Giannis is actually second in the opening 2021 NBA MVP odds.

Antetokounmpo and James were the only two players to receive first place votes, and the Greek Freak won by over 200 points.

Who is the 2021 NBA MVP favorite?

Despite that, rising Dallas Mavericks wunderkind Luka Doncic leads the pack as the 2021 favorite, standing at +325 to take the title of NBA MVP.

Doncic closed last season on a tear, hitting a buzzer-beater for the ages in the NBA Bubble and giving the Los Angeles Clippers a run for their money in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s not a shock to see Doncic so high on the NBA MVP odds board. He finished 4th in MVP voting last year, higher than players like Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis.

Another factor working in Doncic’s favor is the fact that he is the clear and undisputed best player on his team. The talent gap between him and the next best Mavericks player (Kristaps Porzingis) is considerable. Doncic is projected to carry a heavy workload for a playoff contender, a key factor to the MVP race.

Trailing just behind Doncic are two previous MVPs: Antetokounmpo (+500) and Stephen Curry (+800).

Giannis has a tall task ahead of him if he’d like to win his third straight MVP. Only Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird have accomplished the feat.

With Klay Thompson out for the season, Curry is expected to take a majority of the workload for the Golden State Warriors. The Baby-Faced Assassin would need an otherworldly season to add a third MVP award to his overflowing trophy cabinet.

Several other previous MVPs rank in the top 10 favorites to start the season: LeBron James (+900), Kevin Durant (+1,200), and James Harden (+1,400) are all expected to give Doncic stiff competition.

Below are the current 2021 NBA MVP Odds for the 25 front-runners, updated weekly.

2021 NBA MVP Odds

Player Odds
Luka Doncic +325
Giannis Antetokounmpo +500
Stephen Curry +800
Anthony Davis +900
LeBron James +900
Damian Lillard +1,200
Kevin Durant +1,200
James Harden +1,400
Kawhi Leonard +1,600
Nikola Jokic +1,600
Joel Embiid +2,000
Jayson Tatum +2,200
Jimmy Butler +2,200
Devin Booker +2,800
Donovan Mitchell +2,800
Kyrie Irving +3,300
Russell Westbrook +3,300
Paul George +4,000
Ben Simmons +6,600
Bradley Beal +6,600
Kyle Lowry +6,600
Trae Young +6,600
Zion Williamson +6,600
Bam Adebayo +8,000
Jaylen Brown +8,000

Line-Shifting Events

Below is a list of major events that shifted betting lines for the 2021 NBA Regular Season MVP, updated weekly.

[December 2] Russell Westbrook For John Wall Trade: The Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards swap All-Star point guards. Because James Harden is expected to do more of the heavy lifting in Houston, his MVP odds drop from +1,800 to +1,400. Because Russell Westbrook is expected to have more creative freedom in Washington, his MVP odds drop from +5,000 to +3,300.

[November 23] Klay Thompson Confirmed Out: An MRI confirms that Klay Thompson has a torn right Achilles tendon.  Because Stephen Curry’s workload is expected to increase with Thompson out, his MVP odds drop from +1,000 to +800.

[November 16] Chris Paul Trade: The Oklahoma City Thunder send Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns to form a dynamic backcourt with Devin Booker. Because Booker is expected to defer some playmaking possessions to Paul, his MVP odds increase from +2,500 to +2,800.

Analyzing 2021 MVP Odds 

The first step in selecting which player to bet on is to analyze if the payoff is worth the risk.

If you decide that Doncic (+325) has the best chance to take home the hardware, then you can bet $100 on him to win $325.

Even if you think Doncic has a better chance to win the award than any other player, it could still be worth it to bet on a different star for the higher payout.

You may predict it is more likely for Doncic to win the award than LeBron James, but James’ payout is significantly higher than Doncic’s.

While $100 pays off $325 if the Slovenian star wins his first MVP, $100 would pay off $900 if LeBron can take home his fifth MVP trophy.

Weigh your odds and select which player gives you most bang for your buck.

Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis, Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James, Lakers

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