Embiid catches Jokic as favorite for NBA MVP

Betting on the NBA regular season MVP title has changed dramatically this week in bookies, with 76ers star Joel Embiid catching up with Denver’s longtime favorite Nikola Jokic in a race that turned out to be close.

Embiid went from a 2-1 underdog to Wednesday’s favorite. Jokic has been the clear favorite since February 1st at bookmakers and was listed as -350 at bookmaker Caesars earlier this week.

The odds began to turn on Tuesday after the Nuggets lost at home to Brooklyn. By Thursday, Jokic and Embiid were the favorites, each -105 at Caesars. Embiid is a clear favorite at other bookmakers including DraftKings and PointsBet.

“Money dictates the price and customers are betting on Embiid,” said Kevin Lawler, head of trading at PoinstBet. “Time will tell if they’re right.”

Jokic’s fall in MVP odds coincides with the Nuggets’ recent struggles. On Wednesday, they lost for the fourth time in a row, and their lead in the Western Conference was reduced to 4.5 games over the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies.

Jokic showed great results during the Nuggets’ downturn. He triple-doubled with 35 points and 20 rebounds in the Nets loss and averaged 29.5 points and 14.8 rebounds during the team’s four-game losing streak. But bettors believe the MVP race is getting tougher and becoming a three-man race.

Over the past week at Caesars Sportsbook, 85% of bets and 79% of the money won in the MVP market have come from Embiid, who leads the league with 33.5 points per game. Jokic, on the other hand, has only raised 6% of stakes and 2% of money since last week.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was the third choice behind Embiid and Jokic. Antetokounmpo’s MVP odds also improved this week, going from a 9-1 underdog to a 3-1 as of Thursday at Caesars.


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