NBA MVP Odds: What Makes Luka Doncic Clearcut Favorite With Sportsbooks

Bookmakers have strong respect for the young Mavericks superstar


Dec 18, 2020

Najbolj dragocen igralec is Slovenian for Most Valuable Player.

Most oddsmakers probably are unable to pronounce that phrase properly, but math is more their speed anyway. They let their numbers do the talking.

So when 21-year-old Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic recently became the consensus favorite (+400) to win the NBA MVP award, the sportsbooks essentially announced that the future has arrived.

?Luka made a lot of progression last year and I expect Dallas to improve,? FanDuel Sportsbook director of trading John Sheeran told NESN. ?They?ve got some good pieces around him. He?ll be more active than the key players who played late into the season last year. That gives him an advantage over LeBron and guys like that. Luka will get the opportunity to build up some hype and momentum in the market, so we think we jumped out ahead of that by having him at the top. We?ve seen limited action, but we?re happy with that situation.?

Sheeran and his team definitely made the right call listing Doncic at the top of the odds sheet. He?s an extremely likable player who’s capable of making a highlight play every time he?s got the ball. An exciting young star that plays for a blossoming team — think Derrick Rose and the 62-win Chicago Bulls in 2011 — strongly appeals to the voters.

?If they get a fully healthy (Kristaps) Porzingis to support Luka, they?re capable of big things and having a long postseason run,? Sheeran estimated. ?They?ve got some good shooters around those guys as well. Winning a couple playoff games against the Clippers was a good example of what they can do. They?re young, but they have a good chance to improve against some of the better teams.?

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After Luka (+410), FanDuel has Giannis Antetokounmpo (+480), Anthony Davis (+850), Stephen Curry (+850) and James Harden (+1000) rounding out the top five. Former MVPs Kevin Durant (+1300) and LeBron James (+1500) have higher odds due to their expected load management.

It?s still weird to see 15-to-1 on LeBron, a four-time league MVP.

?LeBron is going to take his time,? Sheeran asserted. ?We saw it the season before last. Before Anthony Davis came to town, LeBron was very patient and he didn?t play a lot of minutes. I think we?ll see him continue to take his time in the regular season and save himself to build it up for the playoffs.?

Jayson Tatum (+2600) is the first Celtic on the list. A $100 dollar bet would pay $2,600 if Tatum wins the award. Kemba Walker is way down the page at 250-to-1 as he battles a lingering left knee injury.

And while the C?s might lack an All-NBA first teamer, bookmakers are bracing for Boston future bets. Bettors love to bet on Brad Stevens.

?We respect the Celtics,? Sheeran said. ?They?re a pretty young team and they?ve got some pieces that allow them to be very competitive in the East. They need to probably find another piece or two to be a team that can go all the way. We usually see a lot of money for them out East and of course they have a big national following too. We expect to see plenty of money on them to win the conference.? 

Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images

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