DALLAS - At the beginning of the 2021 NBA season, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was the odds-on favorite to take home the NBA's Most Valuable Player award.
As the second half of the NBA season rolls on, the MVP race remains hot. Doncic is still in the running but has slipped to make room for Lakers superstar Lebron James, Denver center Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid and most recently, Brooklyn Nets' newest star James Harden.
These are the most recent odds according to BetOnline:
LeBron James 6/5
Nikola Jokic 5/2
Joel Embiid 6/1
James Harden 8/1
Luka Doncic 12/1
Doncic is still posting all-star numbers but Harden has recently stole the attention... Harden's Nets career is just 26 games old and he already has 10 triple-doubles. Brooklyn has the second-best record in the league over since the Nets acquired Harden, going 19-7.
Embiid looked the front-runner after the All-Star break, but now will miss time recovering from his injury. Embiid had a stellar run in the first half of the season; averaging 30 points and 11 rebounds while shooting a career-high of 52-percent from the field and 41-percent from three.
James, who hasn’t won an MVP award since 2013 with the Miami Heat, is the betting favorite again. The four-time MVP is shooting close to 51 percent from the field and has been dominant on the defensive end of the floor.
Doncic's odds fell sharply after a 9-14 start that saw the Mavs fall to 14th in the Western Conference, Dallas suddenly has rattled off 11 wins in their last 15 games to vault all the way up to the eighth seed at 20-18. The 22-year-old is averaging 28.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 9 assists per game.
Jokic is also nearly averaging a triple-double with 27.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game. Jokic has lead Denver to a 22-15 record, good for fifth in the conference.
With 33 games left in the regular season, Doncic's odds have shrunk but he's not out.