The MVP race has evolved into a head-to-head contest between Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic, who are neck and neck to take home the award at the end of the season. With just a handful of games remaining in the regular season, let’s look at the two candidates and who you should consider betting to be this season’s MVP.
Joel Embiid (-115)
Embiid has put together the best season of his career with some gaudy stats. The five-time All-Star has posted averages of 29.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 61 starts this season. Following the fallout with teammate Ben Simmons, Embiid has remained the team’s lone constant, keeping them among the top of a brutally tough Eastern Conference all season long.
In games where Embiid scores 35 points or more, the 76ers are 15-3. His performance has a substantial impact on the team’s success, and it clearly shows with an on/off differential of +9.4 points per 100 possessions, according to CleaningTheGlass.com. The Sixers sit just a game behind first-place as things stand and also have the second-easiest remaining schedule, something to note in such a close race down the stretch here.
Nikola Jokic (-105)
If Jokic fails to capture a second consecutive MVP at the end of this season, you will see some stats that will boggle your mind as to how unbelievably valuable he is to Denver. The Serbian currently has a Player Efficiency Rating of 32.7, the highest single-season PER the NBA has ever seen. Jokic is currently averaging 26.3 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game on 57.6 percent shooting from the field.
Losing star point guard Jamal Murray and third-option Michael Porter Jr. have left the big man to do it all on his own, which is precisely what he has done. If you thought Embiid’s on/off differential was solid, this will blow you away. Per CleaningTheGlass.com, Joker has an on/off differential of +18.2 per 100 possessions, leading the league among players who have recorded at least 750 minutes this season. The Nuggets currently sit in sixth in the Western Conference standings, and it’s hard to argue they’d even have a shot at the play-in tournament without him.