NBA Awards Odds Update: LeBron James now Favorite to Win 5th MVP

The NBA is already just past the quarter mark of its 72-game shortened season and LeBron James’ odds to win his fifth Most Valuable Player award keep on going up.

Before the season began, some experts expected James to play in fewer games due to the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship run combined with a shorter offseason.

Well, the 36-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down. James has started in every one of the Lakers’ games this season and is averaging a 25.0-7.7-7.5 stat line on the season.

His play has led the Lakers to a 16-6 record, which is just 0.5 games behind the Utah Jazz (16-5) for the best record in the NBA.

James has also taken his opening odds to win MVP (+1500) all the way to the top spot at +200, according to Bovada.

Below, you’ll find more important odds updates for each of the individual NBA awards.

Updated Odds to Win Most Valuable Player

Odds according to Bovada as of Wednesday, February 3

  • Lebron James +200
  • Nikola Jokic +450
  • Joel Embiid +500
  • Kevin Durant +550
  • Luka Doncic +750
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo +1400
  • Steph Curry +1400

Before “King” James overtook the MVP race, the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic opened the season with the best odds at +410. Since then, the Mavericks have not been off to a strong start.

Last season, Dallas finished 43-32, whereas they’re only 8-13 to start this season. Because of that, Doncic’s odds are now at +750.

Two players who’ve seen their odds grow are Nikola Jokic (+450) and Joel Embiid (+500). Both big men were not even in the Top 10 for opening MVP odds and now they sit at second and third respectively.

Kevin Durant opened the season at +1500 to win MVP, but he’s now at +550 after carrying the Brooklyn Nets while Kyrie Irving was out and before James Harden joined the team.

Updated Odds to Win Defensive Player of the Year

Odds according to Bovada as of Wednesday, February 3

  • Anthony Davis +200
  • Myles Turner +250
  • Rudy Gobert +250
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo +900
  • Ben Simmons +950
  • Joel Embiid +1200

While Anthony Davis continues to lead the Defensive Player of the Year race, one of the biggest surprises is Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner.

Turner wasn’t anywhere close to being in the DPOY conversation at the start of the season, but his 3.9 blocks per game leads the NBA. Rudy Gobert, who was at +300 odds to start, is second in blocks with 2.7.

To put this into perspective, no player has averaged at least 3.9 blocks per game since Dikembe Mutombo did it in the 1990s.

Ben Simmons has also been surging this season after being on the 2020 NBA All-Defensive First Team. He opened with +2400 odds, but his 8.2 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 0.9 blocks per game have him at +950.

Meanwhile, Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo has fallen out of the DPOY race. He opened with the fourth-best odds (+950) but has fallen to +5000.

Updated Odds to Win Rookie of the Year

Odds according to Bovada as of Wednesday, February 3

  • LaMelo Ball -130
  • Tyrese Haliburton +350
  • Immanuel Quickley +550
  • James Wiseman +750
  • Anthony Edwards +1400
  • Cole Anthony +2000

LaMelo Ball opened the season with best odds to win Rookie of the Year at +390 and he’s still leading the race, averaging 12.2-6.1-6.9.

The Sacramento Kings drafted Tyrese Haliburton 12th overall, but his play this season makes it look like he should’ve gone higher. Haliburton wasn’t anywhere near the top of this award race before, but he’s been playing almost 30 minutes a night as he chases Ball.

Anthony Edwards was the 1st overall pick in last year’s draft for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He started the season with +700 odds, but his initial playtime was limited as he kept coming off of the bench.

Edwards has now been given more minutes and is averaging 19 ppg in his last five games. If his play continues, the ROTY race can only get closer.

Updated Odds to Win Sixth Man of the Year

Odds according to Bovada as of Wednesday, February 3

  • Jordan Clarkson -155
  • Chris Boucher +500
  • Goran Dragic +1200
  • Shake Milton +1600
  • Terrance Ross +1600
  • Montrez Harrell +2000

In recent years, Lou Williams has always been in the conversation to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. He even opened this season with the best odds at +350 but has plummeted to +3500.

Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson has improved his odds from +950 to -155. The Utah Jazz guard has been averaging a career-high 17.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

When Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol left Toronto, the Raptors knew they were going to need Chris Boucher to step up.

Since then, Boucher has jumped from +3600 to +500, averaging career-highs in points (13.0), rebounds (6.1) and assists (1.0). He’s also averaging shooting splits of .527/.440/.787.

Updated Odds to Win Most Improved Player

Odds according to Bovada as of Wednesday, February 3

  • Christian Wood +125
  • Jerami Grant +175
  • Jaylen Brown +700
  • Chris Boucher +1400
  • Collin Sexton +2000

Christian Wood wasn’t really in the conversation for Most Improved Player when the season started.

Fast forward to February, Wood is 21st in the NBA for points per game (23.3, up from 13.1 last year) and 11th for rebounds (10.7, up from 6.3). Wood is one of the Houston Rockets’ most important players in the post-Harden era, so expect him to excel in the opportunities he’s given.

Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant has also exploded this season. Like Wood, Grant wasn’t close to being a favorite for MIP when the season began.

In the offseason, Grant signed with Detroit for more opportunities than he had in Denver. It looks like betting on himself paid off because Grant is averaging 23.7 points per game, which is up from the 12.0 he had last year.

Grant’s also only scored under 20 points in a game this season four times in 21 games.

Jaylen Brown (+700), Chris Boucher (+1400) and Collin Sexton (+2000) have all seen increases in odds as well.

One of the biggest drops in odds for the MIP award race this season was Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray.

Murray opened the season as the favorite with +1200 odds, especially after how dominant he looked in the 2019-20 NBA Bubble Playoffs.

Instead, Murray has fallen to +17500 as he’s only averaged 0.4 more points per game this season compared to last (18.9 vs. 18.5).

Devon Platana
Devon Platana

After graduating with a Masters degree in Journalism, Devon joined USGS to improve his sports writing skills. As a lifelong sports fan, one of Devon’s favorite things to do is analyze statistics across all sports.