2023 NBA MVP Who the odds say will win

The NBA’s season and MVP race this year is up for more grabs than prime Gary Ablett, with contenders and superstars spread all the way throughout the league.

So, with the NBA standings flatter than Utah’s slat flats – only a handful of games separate teams with playoff home court advantage and those not making the playoffs entirely – who do the odds like to take home the 2023 NBA MVP as we hurtle headlong into the season’s All-Star break and final third?


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Could Denver’s gigantic Serbian become only the fourth NBA player in history to win three straight MVPs, and follow in the footsteps of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird?


Amazingly Jokic – a centre, don’t forget – is currently averaging a triple double (25 ppg / 11.1 rpg / 10.1 apg) and owns one of the league’s most devastating true shooting percentages at 70.4% while helming the best offence in the NBA.

He’s dominant, efficient, involves his teammates and he has his Nuggets sitting on top of the Western Conference as the No. 1 seed and with the NBA’s second best record. He’s the favourite for a very good reason.

So yeah, Jokic could – and probably should – win a third straight MVP.


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What more can Joel Embiid do? The Sixers big man is only leading the NBA scoring (33.5 points a game) while being the most efficient he’s ever been (64.3% true shooting), has his Sixers as the NBA’s hottest team (22-7 since the start of December), while also playing the best defence of his career.

He also battered Jokic like a nice piece of freshly caught trout to the tune of a 48/18/5 masterpiece in their head-to-head matchup last week. Individual battles shouldn’t matter in a season-long MVP race, but it did feel like Embiid made a statement as big as he is.

If the Sixers keep winning and Embiid stays healthy (those two are inextricably linked), he’s going to be a good chance to finally shrug off his two-time MVP runner up mantle and win the whole enchilada.


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All season Luka has been on a tear to end all tears – he had a 60 point triple double and two 50+ point games in basically the SAME WEEK – while single-handedly carrying his Dallas Mavericks to title contention.

The problem for Luka is that while his individual brilliance is glaringly obvious, he can only lift the talent-bereft team around him to a certain point.

So while his numbers (33.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists a game while shooting over 50% from the field and 35% from 3) are eye-popping, because the Mavs have lacked a secondary star – or even a fellow current or former All-Star like everyone else on this list – Dallas’ record is good, not great.

Even Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen.

Luka Doncic HAD Spencer Dinwiddie.

Now he has NBA Kanye (s/o NBA Straya), Kyrie Irving.

It’s was a Catch 22: that lack of an offsider had made his Most Valuable Player case stronger, but also dents his team’s record, which works against Doncic.

Now that the Mavs have traded for Kyrie Irving it likely means that the floor of the Mavs is lifted with Kyrie there to help shore up the Mavs non-Luka minutes and sneak out some more wins.

Their defence will likely suffer dramatically without Dorian Finney-Smith, but if they can avoid the typical Kyrie-induced chaos and kick their offence up from ninth to top 5, the Mavs could lock in a top 3 seed in the West in the season’s final third.

If that all comes to pass, Luka should see more space on the floor and will get plenty of credit for accomodating Kyrie, so if those wins come, Doncic – who was favourite as recently as three weeks ago – looks a great value pick.


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It feels like it should be illegal that the Greek Freak just keeps getting better: after all, this is the guy who dropped a 50-point close-out Game 6 to win the NBA finals two seasons ago, but it feels like there’s a well-compensated repair carpenter on call somewhere in Milwaukee as Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t care about ceilings.

32.3 points a game, 12.3 rebounds, three 50+ point games: Giannis is basically the most dominant interior presence since Shaq, even if he’s not a centre.

Defensively he’s still a wrecking ball on both the perimeter and interior on one of the league’s stingiest teams and every time someone else’s name pops up for MVP, Giannis pulls a Jordan and takes it personally and drops a 50-piece.

Milwaukee seems primed for a last-third run, so Giannis can’t be counted out of the MVP race by any stretch.


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Tatum has to be looking around at this MVP field and thinking ‘what else can I do?’ His team has the NBA’s best record, he’s putting up career-best numbers across the board – 30.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 60.9 TS% – and he has critical and fan acclaim to degrees we’ve never seen him hit before.

Tatum has evolved into the combination of Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce he always threatened to be and is beloved by the media (his All-Star voting results were confirmation of that).

If Boston stays atop the East and finishes with the NBA’s best record, with Tatum maintaining this rate of scoring, keeps upping his all-round game and throws in some big-time clutch performances? He’s sneaky good value.


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Count out LeBron at your own peril. He’s 38 years old, but averaging 30.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists a game while scoring at his best rate per-36 mins in his entire 20-season long career.

This is the MVP narrative pick: if LeBron and Anthony Davis stay healthy and rip off wins at the rate they were before AD went down, the Lakers could very easily sneak not just into the playoffs, but into a top 4 seed and home court advantage (only a few games separate 4th through 12th in the West).

If that happens, voters will definitely look long and hard at rewarding LeBron one last time.


  • Nikola Jokic – $1.80
  • Joel Embiid – $3.75
  • Luka Doncic – $9
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – $9
  • Jayson Tatum – $13
  • LeBron James – $51
  • Ja Morant – $51
  • Kevin Durant – $67
  • Stephen Curry – $67


If he stays healthy, keeps up his scoring title lead and has the Sixers in an East top 2 spot, it’s hard not to think voters are split between Joker and Embiid, with the Philly big man getting over the sentimental line.

[all odds as of February 6 via Betr]


Originally published as Joker, Embiid, Luka… LeBron? Who do the odds say will win 2023 NBA MVP?

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