2023 NBA MVP odds in motion, Joel Embiid new favorite over Nikola Jokic
FOX Sports Betting Analyst
The NBA MVP chances have seen a change at the top of the table, with Denver Nuggets triple-double machine Nikola Jokic being passed by Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.
Jokic is the NBA’s reigning two-time MVP and looks set for a third consecutive trophy. But the Nuggets have slipped in four games recently, while the Sixers have won six in a row.
It caught people’s attention. FOX Bet’s Tieme Wesselink and BetMGM Nevada’s Scott Shelton helped dive into the NBA MVP ratings seesaw.
Let’s move on to the big odds change.
As noted, Denver went on a four-game slide, and it’s not like the slump has affected some of the NBA’s best. The breakdown, in order:
A 117-96 home bombardment at the hands of Chicago, one of the worst teams in the East.
A 128-120 loss to San Antonio, one of the worst teams in the NBA.
A 122-120 home loss to Brooklyn, which, while still in the playoff bracket, is a shell in itself after trading Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
A 125-110 loss to Toronto, which has talent but is below .500 right now.
Conversely, Philadelphia is on a 6-0 streak going into Friday’s game at Charlotte. And Embiid’s stat line is impressive. He scored 31 or more points in six games, including a 36-point, 18-rebound double-double in Wednesday’s 118-109 win at Cleveland.
And in the win that started the streak, a 133-130 win at Milwaukee, Embiid had 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
“We saw Jokic move away from Embiid and Giannis late in the run last season. We could see a role reversal this year,” Wesselink said. “Who would have predicted the Nuggets’ four-game losing streak? It allowed Embiid, with the Sixers on a six-game winning streak, to overtake Jokic. Embiid looks destined to hold onto the NBA score (leading), with Doncic out of action.”
Indeed, Embiid is averaging 33.5 points per game, half a point ahead of Doncic, who has missed three games with an ankle problem.
Time for Nuggets to freak out as Joel Embiid becomes new MVP favorite over Nikola Jokić
Watch as Nick Wright says it’s panic time for the Nuggets, then explains why Embiid deserves to win MVP at the current rate.
Big Man’s Big Move
In January, Embiid had a foot injury which caused him to slip to +2000 or more with some bettors. But he has since steadily risen in the MVP race.
On March 6, BetMGM had Embiid at +650, tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo as their second pick. Still, Jokic was seemingly running away with the honor as the -400 favorite. But on Tuesday, Jokic moved to -225, while Embiid improved to +200.
On Thursday morning, as the Sixers remained hot, Embiid moved to -110 favorite at BetMGM, while Jokic dropped to second at +160. Thursday evening, Embiid was at -105, Jokic +160 and Antetokounmpo +375.
And BetMGM is backing the big man from Philadelphia.
“We’re really doing Embiid good, and we’re really hurting Jokic,” said Scott Shelton of BetMGM Nevada. “So we hope it stays that way. We are also in good shape for Giannis. He would be the best case scenario. Jokic is the worst case scenario.
Shelton was speaking strictly from the position of BetMGM Nevada – how MVP odds are bet on the books of BetMGM in Las Vegas. But nationally, it’s a similar story. Jokic has the second most MVP tickets at BetMGM, behind only Doncic, but Jokic took 1.5 times more money than Doncic, who is second in money.
Embiid is a distant third in tickets and cash.
Records play a role
At FOX Bet, Embiid fell as low as +2200 in January. Now he is the -105 favorite, with Jokic +150 and Antetokounmpo +350.
And Embiid now has the Sixers at 46-22 this season. Although it’s only the third-best record in the East — behind Milwaukee (50-20) and Boston (48-22) — it puts Philly ahead of the Western Conference-leading Nuggets (47-23).
“Team records play a big part here, with the Sixers now half a game ahead of the Nuggets,” Wesselink said. “The consensus is also that the Eastern Conference is better than the Wild West this season. Pundits are emphasizing that Jokic would win an almost unprecedented three straight MVPs. I don’t think previous years have to be considered for the 2022-23 MVP, but it will certainly play a role in the minds of some voters.
“Embiid has finished second to Jokic twice. There are still 14 games to go for the Sixers, and it feels like Embiid is in control of his own destiny this season.”
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He is based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in the 110 degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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