We’re already finished the first week of the 2021-22 NBA season and there has already been discussion about who should be named this year’s Most Valuable Player. Fortunately, BetOnline has released odds to shed some light on the award race. As of October 28, the sportsbook is favoring Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP at +400 odds. That’s impressive considering that he was +650 before the season began.
This wouldn’t be anything new for Curry. After all, he won back-to-back NBA MVP awards in 2015 and 2016. If he wins it for a third time, he’ll become the eighth player in NBA history to accomplish that task.
The Warriors are a perfect 4-0 to start the 2021-22 season and a lot of that is thanks to how dominant Curry has been. He’s averaged 29.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists through his first four starts. He’s averaging his most minutes played (35.3) since the 2013-14 season (36.5) and is operating on .434/.400/.963 shooting splits.
There’s no telling how long Curry’s hot start will last, however, if anyone can keep it up across an 82-game campaign, it’s him. Golden State's just a better team when he’s healthy and rolling like this. Golden State made it to the Play-In Tournament last season after Curry had missed most of the previous year with a hand injury. Now that he’s had a season under his belt, it’s looking like the “Chef Curry” of old is back. If he can keep up his play and bring the Warriors back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018-19, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t continue being involved in the NBA MVP discussion.
2021-22 NBA MVP Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Thursday, October 28
- Stephen Curry (+400)
- Luka Doncic (+550)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (+550)
- Kevin Durant (+600)
- Joel Embiid (+1200)
- Nikola Jokic (+1400)
- Ja Morant (+1400)
- Donovan Mitchell (+1600)
- LeBron James (+1800)
- Damian Lillard (+2000)
- Trae Young (+2000)
- James Harden (+2000)
- Jason Tatum (+2000)
- Paul George (+2500)
The complete MVP odds list is available at BetOnline.ag.
Doncic Falls in MVP Race
Back in August, Luka Doncic owned the best odds (+450) to be named this year’s NBA MVP. However, the Dallas Mavericks guard has now fallen to second place in the race as his odds have shifted to +550.
The Mavericks have only played three games so far this season, going 2-1. However, Doncic’s play during that stretch isn’t how it was last season. The fourth-year pro averaged 27.7 PTS/8.0 REB/8.6 AST with .479/.350/.730 splits last season compared to 23.7 PTS/11.3 REB/.8.7 AST on .409/.217/.857 this year. While Doncic’s rebounding and assist totals are up during this small sample size, it’s evident that he’s had a tougher time scoring the ball this season.
The good news is that there are still 79 games left to be played. Doncic is easily one of the best players in the league and it wouldn’t be shocking if his first three games were an anomaly compared to the rest of the season. He’s only 22 years old, too, so we likely haven’t even seen his peak yet. Expect him to remain in the NBA MVP race throughout the season despite his “slow” start.
NBA MVP Odds: Antetokounmpo Tied for Second
After winning his first NBA Championship and Finals MVP a few months ago, Giannis Antetokounmpo also sits at +550 odds to be named this season’s NBA MVP. And just like Curry, it would also be the Greek Freak’s third time receiving the honor.
The 2021-22 NBA season has been business as usual for Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks power forward is averaging 27.6 PTS/11.6 REB/6.6 AST per game through his first five contests. While his .522 field goal percentage is below his career of .532, Antetokounmpo is shooting a career-best .352 from three-point range and has also shot .735 on his free throws. If he continues that pace from the line, it would be his best free throw percentage since he finished with .760 in 2017-18.
One thing that’s likely holding Antetokounmpo back is that the Bucks are only 3-2 through their first five games. There’s still a lot of the season left to play, so anything can change as the year continues. With that being said, Antetokounmpo’s NBA MVP odds could improve significantly once Milwaukee begins climbing up the Eastern Conference standings again. Once that happens, the MVP race could become even closer than what it already is.