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Will 2023 feature a first-time NBA MVP? The top two favorites for the award have never won an MVP.
Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic are the opening favorites to win the MVP for the 2022-23 season at BetMGM. Both players are at +500 to win the award ahead of the NBA draft and free agency and it’s easy to see why they’re the favorites.
Embiid finished second in the voting to Denver’s Nikola Jokic earlier this spring. Embiid was one of the best players in the Eastern Conference in 2021-22 and carried the Philadelphia 76ers without Ben Simmons and with James Harden.
Doncic pushed his team to the Western Conference Finals. Dallas was one of the biggest stories of the NBA playoffs as the Mavericks blew out the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in the second round to play the Warriors in the conference finals. Doncic was a huge reason why Dallas got past Phoenix and the Mavericks have already made moves to bolster the roster ahead of 2022-23.
The Mavericks traded for Christian Wood from the Rockets earlier in the week as they look to find a perfect pick-and-roll partner for Doncic. Wood has put up very good numbers for bad teams throughout his career and the move to Dallas is a great chance for him to show what he can do on a good team.
Giannis and Jokic are next
Jokic is at +900 to win his third consecutive NBA MVP award and become the first person since Larry Bird in 1984-86 to win back-to-back-to-back MVPs.
Jokic got the MVP award this year because of the injury issues that plagued the Denver Nuggets. Denver made the playoffs thanks to Jokic’s brilliance as Jamal Murray missed the season while rehabbing a torn ACL and Michael Porter Jr. missed significant time with a back injury. Denver’s backcourt was a mess at times in 2021-22 but Jokic was a constant and carried the team to the postseason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo went back-to-back before Jokic did and he’s just ahead of the reigning MVP at +700. Antetokounmpo finished third in the MVP voting behind Jokic and Embiid and nearly got the Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals as Khris Middleton was sidelined with a knee injury. With Middleton set to be back at full strength for the regular season and the Bucks’ core largely returning intact, Antetokounmpo should once again be in the MVP running all season.
There could be some really good MVP value outside of the top four. Memphis guard Ja Morant is at +1000 after his jump to superstardom in 2021-22. If the Grizzlies repeat their breakout season and Morant continues to climb into the NBA stratosphere, it’s not hard to envision him being the MVP.
Kevin Durant is at +1200 to win his second MVP award. Durant was stellar for the Nets in 2021-22 and will have to be the team’s focal point again in 2022-23, especially if the Nets can’t figure out what Kyrie Irving’s future is with the team.
The Celtics’ Jayson Tatum is at +1400 to win MVP after Boston got to the NBA Finals. Boston enters the 2022-23 season as the Eastern Conference favorite and that can be an edge for an MVP candidate. If Boston holds up as the favorite and Tatum has a fantastic year, he could leap ahead of Embiid and Giannis in the conversation.
2022-23 NBA MVP favorites
Joel Embiid (+500)
Luka Doncic (+500)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (+700)
Nikola Jokic (+900)
Ja Morant (+1000)
Kevin Durant (+1200)
Jayson Tatum (+1400)
Stephen Curry (+1400)
Devin Booker (+2000)
LeBron James (+2500)
Kawhi Leonard (+2500)
Trae Young (+3000)
Karl-Anthony Towns (+5000)
Jimmy Butler (+6600)
Anthony Davis (+6600)
Anthony Edwards (+6600)
Zion Williamson (+6600)
Damian Lillard (+8000)
LaMelo Ball (+8000)
Donovan Mitchell (+8000)
DeMar DeRozan (+8000)
Paul George (+8000)