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Doncic, Antetokounmpo betting favorites to win 2023 NBA MVP

2022 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 26: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals on March 26, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Nikola Jokic is the two-time defending NBA MVP, but history would suggest don’t bet on him for a three-peat. The last player to win three MVPs in a row? Larry Bird, from 1984-86. Almost 40 years ago.

But if not Jokic, then who? Which players are the favorite to grab the MVP trophy? The list starts with Luka Doncic. From our partners at Points Bet, here are the dozen players with the lowest odds to win NBA MVP next season (the odds are how much you would win on a $100 bet).

Luka Doncic +450
Giannis Antetokounmpo +600
Joel Embiid +600
Nikola Jokic +1000
Kevin Durant +1000
Stephen Curry +1000
Jayson Tatum +1200
Ja Morant +1400
Devin Booker +2200
Kawhi Leonard +2500
Trae Young +2500
LeBron James +2500

It’s not surprising that Doncic is the odds-on favorite. He’s an elite player whose team just lost their No. 2 shot creator — his load just got heavier and his counting stats likely will up. If he comes into the season in shape and ready to play, he has a legitimate shot.

If not Doncic, my money would be on Joel Embiid, who has finished second to Jokic each of the past two seasons and should be in the mix again. Even if James Harden is healthy and taking on some of the scoring load, and Tyrese Maxey takes a step forward, Embiid will put up efficient offensive numbers and be a defensive anchor. He will again be in the mix.

There’s another NBA MVP bet people seem to be leaning into: Zion Williamson, who is +6600 at Points Bet.

Two bets I would not make: Kevin Durant and LeBron James. It’s not that they are not good enough to win the award or will not have the stats to be in consideration, but both are getting up in age (Durant is 34, LeBron 37) and have an injury history — are they going to play enough games? One of Jokic’s strengths in winning this award the past couple of years is he is on the court — he missed a total of eight games over the last two seasons. LeBron and Durant will likely miss double-digit games (same with Kawhi Leonard) as their teams look ahead to the postseason rather than be focused on winning a random Tuesday game in December.