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Betting on the 2021 NBA MVP Award – Odds, Top Contenders, and Sleepers

| November 28, 2020 2:26 am PDT
Likely Winners of the 2020-21 NBA Regular Season MVP Award

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Bucks have dominated the NBA regular season in the past two years and that brought the Greek Freak back-to-back MVP awards. Plenty of superstars will be eager to steal the prize next season and it should be an epic battle.

The odds for the 2021 NBA Most Valuable Player are out. With many offseason trades now completed, so it’s time to explore the top contenders and evaluate their chances in the battle for the prestigious prize.

NBA Regular Season MVP Odds for 2021

Luka Doncic +450
Giannis Antetokounmpo +500
Anthony Davis +800
Steph Curry +800
LeBron James +1000
Kevin Durant +1600
James Harden +1600
Kawhi Leonard +2000
Jayson Tatum +2000
Nikola Jokic +2000

The top online betting sites have no clear favorite and there are plenty of likely winners of the MVP award for this season.

Luka Doncic and Giannis are leading the way, but at least five more players should be in contention.

Let’s take a look at them.

Top Contenders for the 2021 NBA MVP Award

I’ve split the athletes into three groups based on their chances to earn the award. The first one consists of the three most likely winners.

Luka Doncic

What Luka Doncic did in his second NBA season was out of this world for a guy who’s only 21. He averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game on solid efficiency during the regular season.

His insane numbers helped the Dallas Mavericks qualify for the playoffs and Luka carried his team to two wins against the Clippers in the first round, without the injured Kristaps Porzingis.

The Slovenian prodigy is arguably among the best players the NBA has ever seen at his age and even a slight improvement would be enough to win the MVP award. I would argue that he could’ve fought for the prize last season too, if it wasn’t for several injuries. Just look at his highlights!

Doncic will likely lead the Mavericks to the playoffs once again and he should go on breaking record after record. On top of that, the hype around him is real and his popularity could certainly help.

If the Slovenian is fit, he is my top favorite and the early NBA MVP odds for 2021 suggest the same.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Bucks might have been disappointing in the NBA Playoffs last season, but I’m sure they will dominate the regular season once again. The organization traded for Jrue Holiday and added several more players in an attempt to support Giannis.

The Bucks hope that the star will sign the supermax and the early signs look good. The Greek Freak should have more help from Holiday who’s an excellent playmaker, shooter, and defender.

We know that coach Bud’s system works well in the regular season too, so I expect a strong performance from the team. Giannis should be once again the main man and that puts him in a good position for the MVP award.

One of the problems I see is that no player has won the regular season MVP three times in a row since Larry Bird did in the 1980s. In fact, only three players have done that in the entire NBA history, as you can see below.

Player Seasons
Bill Russell 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63
Wilt Chamberlain 1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68
Larry Bird 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86

You can find several reasons for that and one of the most obvious ones is that staying so consistent and healthy is hard. I don’t think that Giannis will struggle with that, but there’s another factor here.

The public gets tired of seeing the same winner for so long and that certainly influences the panel that picks the winner.

I also believe that at least several players will likely have a strong case to replace Giannis. If the final decision is close to a coin toss between Giannis and Luka Doncic, for example, it’s likely that the Slovenian will get the award because most people will want a fresh face.

And yet, the Bucks superstar remains a strong contender and I won’t be surprised if he is once again the Most Valuable Player in the 2020-21 NBA season.

Stephen Curry

Many thought that the Golden State Warriors might be title contenders again next season and for a good reason. Unfortunately, Klay Thompson tore his Achilles and is out of the campaign which changes the situation dramatically.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect wonders from the team under such circumstances, but fighting for the playoffs should be the goal. Steph Curry is back and he’s the kind of guy that can orchestrate the offense of a team almost on his own.

The point guard is the best sharpshooter ever and he should have the help of Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, the second pick from the 2020 NBA Draft James Wiseman, and new boy Kelly Oubre Jr.

I see enough talent here for a place in the postseason. If the Warriors finish in the top 8 and Steph has insane numbers, he will be a legitimate contender for the regular season MVP.

Curry’s won it twice in the past and he’s still in his prime, so the point guard is one of the favorites for the award in 2020-21.

Dark Horses for the 2021 NBA MVP Race

There are a couple of other superstars with a legitimate opportunity of becoming the NBA MVP next year, but their chances are slimmer than the guys I already discussed.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James

I’ve decided to group up Anthony Davis and LeBron James because I believe their chances are on approximately the same level. Both are exceptional players who have the talent to win the MVP award and will likely deliver the required production.

I see two main problems backing any of them, though. The first one is that they are on the same team. There is no clear number one option in the LA Lakers which is great for the organization, but it hurts both players’ chances to win the award.

On top of that, the early start of the season might be a problem too. I won’t be shocked to see AD and LeBron on minute restrictions for the first month or even two, so that could be a negative in the MVP race.

I believe that the NBA Regular Season MVP odds reflect the same concerns and I’m not sure that backing any of the Lakers superstars is a good option if you are going to bet on that market.

James Harden

It’s hard to grasp on the concept that James Harden hasn’t won an MVP award already, considering his insane numbers in the past couple of years. The man broke a bunch of records and won multiple scoring titles, but he’s been unlucky to compete with a beast like Giannis.

I’m sure that Harden will be excellent next season as well and the big question is if he will be on a team that can help him shine. The shooting guard wanted a move to the Nets, but it seems like both the Beard and Westbrook are staying in Houston for now.

The team will be going through way too many change, so I don’t expect anything special during the regular season. Even if Harden moves, there aren’t many good destinations that would put him in a position to win the regular season MVP.

Still, the superstar is one of the best offensive players in the history of the NBA and that makes him a potential candidate for the award.

Kevin Durant

Another former regular season and Finals MVP deserves a spot in the conversation. Kevin Durant will finally return after an Achilles injury and he is expected to form a formidable duo with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

The Nets have plenty of role players too, so if the two superstars click, we could expect a strong performance in the Eastern Conference.

The main issue with Durant is that many players are not the same after such a gruesome injury. If he can display the same production and efficiency as before the problem, there’s every chance he will be a candidate for the regular season MVP.

NBA MVP Sleepers for the 2020-21 Season

The MVP regular season odds for 2020-21 suggest that the rest of the league doesn’t have much of a chance, but I see several sleepers that deserve your attention.

Joel Embiid should finally have enough spacing to blossom and I expect a strong season from him and the 76ers. The center is an absolute beast on both ends of the floor and he could win the MVP award if he stays healthy.

Another guy that might upset the odds is Damian Lillard. The guard is one of the best players in the NBA offensively and if he carries the Trail Blazers to a good seed in the stacked West, that could be enough for the honor.

The young guns Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, and Nikola Jokic weren’t far off last year. They are all the primary option on strong teams, so it won’t be a complete shocker if one of them is up there.


The odds for the NBA 2020-21 Most Valuable Player might suggest that only four or five players have a realistic shot at the award, but I see at least a couple of other potential winners. Do you agree with my suggestions or do you think I’m forgetting someone?

Feel free to share your own views in the comments below and don’t forget to follow our NBA category for more similar posts.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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