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LeBron or KD? Giannis or Jokić? Harden or Curry?
With sports betting now legal in Maryland, it’s now possible to bet on the winner of the next NBA MVP at local sportsbooks. Fans who love to weigh in on who the best player in the NBA is will now get their chance.
MVP betting is open all year long. Sportsbooks release odds on a wide group of players in the offseason, but the list of true favorites narrows substantially as the season progresses. Odds change based on performance, injuries and other factors. Regardless of how they change, you lock in the current posted odds when you place a bet.
The favorites do tend to dominate the betting action but a well-timed bet on an emerging contender can pay off, too. Here’s a roadmap to betting on the NBA MVP award online in Maryland, complete with current odds as posted at online sportsbooks, how the voting works, and the latest MVP trends.
Here are the current NBA MVP betting odds from the top online sportsbooks in Maryland. Click on any odds to go directly to the MD online sports betting site if you want to make a bet.
Here are two players either playing for the Washington Wizards or who grew up in the Maryland area who make for compelling MVP wagers:
Bradley Beal has emerged as a true star for the Wizards since they selected him third overall in the 2012 NBA draft. A three-time All-Star, Beal is now a regular in the MVP conversation.
Born in Washington, DC, Kevin Durant is a perennial MVP candidate. The four-time NBA scoring champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP won the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player award and has been part of the MVP conversation ever since.
As a typical futures betting market, NBA MVP odds show the contenders to win the award all year long. Sportsbooks set the odds during the offseason, and they can change ahead of the start of the regular season based on things like injuries and any relevant news.
Once the regular season tips off, the odds change even more regularly, based on player performance and the top contenders’ perceived chances of winning. You can bet on your favorite to win at any time. You place your bet at the currently posted moneyline odds. If your player wins, you get paid at those odds, no matter how much the odds change going forward.
For example, Nikola Jokić was the clear favorite to win the 2021 MVP race late in the season. The odds on Jokić winning sat at around -140. That meant those who bet $140 on Jokić at those odds received a total payout of $240 when he won the MVP in June. It also meant those who bet on Jokić earlier in the season, when he wasn’t such a clear favorite, received a larger payout.
If there’s a trend to find in NBA MVP voting, it’s that voters tend to like the best player on the team with the best regular-season record. Seven of the past 11 MVPs have gone to the best player on the best team.
Of the four who were not, two were the best players on the second-best team, and two were nightly triple-double threats Russell Westbrook and Jokić. Average a triple-double or close to it, and you have a good chance to win the NBA MVP.
Scoring also seems to sway voters. Four of the past 11 awards have gone to the NBA regular season scoring leader. However, nothing attracts voters like winning does. The 11 most recent award winners were on playoff teams with winning records.
Here are the NBA’s MVP winners over the past 10 years:
|2021||Nikola Jokić||C||Denver Nuggets|
|2020||Giannis Antetokounmpo||PF||Milwaukee Bucks (2)|
|2019||Giannis Antetokounmpo||PF||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2018||James Harden||PG||Houston Rockets|
|2017||Russell Westbrook||PG||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2016||Stephen Curry||PG||Golden State Warriors (2)|
|2015||Stephen Curry||PG||Golden State Warriors|
|2014||Kevin Durant||SF||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2013||LeBron James||SF||Miami Heat (4)|
|2012||LeBron James||SF||Miami Heat (3)|
A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters votes on who will win the award. Plus, fans can be part of casting a single collective ballot online. Ballots award descending points to the top five candidates: 10 points for first, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth. The player with the most total points from all ballots wins the MVP.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record with six MVPs (1971, 1972 and 1974 with the Milwaukee Bucks and 1976, 1977 and 1980 with the Los Angeles Lakers). Abdul-Jabbar also was on six title-winning teams throughout his career and was twice named the NBA Finals MVP. The team with the most MVPs in its history is the Boston Celtics, with 10.
There have been few issues with the NBA MVP award over the past 10 years. It has mostly gone to the best player on the best team or players who have had historically great seasons. You probably have to go back to Steve Nash’s 2004-05 award to find an argument for anyone other than the actual winner. Nash averaged only 15.5 points per game that year, much lower than teammate Amare Stoudemire’s 26.9. Plus, Shaquille O’Neal led Miami to the top seed in the Eastern Conference with 22.9 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game.
Michael Jordan dominated the NBA in the 1991-92 season. He led the league in scoring and led the Chicago Bulls to 67 wins, easily the league’s best record. Averages of 30.1 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 6.1 assists per game and 2.3 steals per game make Jordan’s 1991-92 season one of the best ever.
Steve Nash’s scoring was up in his second of back-to-back MVP awards, but just 18.8 points per game, 10.5 assists per game and 4.2 rebounds per game are hardly numbers that scream MVP. The Suns were also third in the NBA that year, which means the best player on the best team did not win the MVP.