After the shortest turnaround of all-time, the NBA 2021 season is set to be back on our screens from December 22nd!
Along with the return of play comes the MVP race and in what will be another unique season, there's plenty of value to be found when making a futures bet on the award.
The league is absolutely flooded with stars right now and we've broken down a host of these guys who will be eyeing off the Most Valuable Player trophy that Giannis has now held for two straight seasons.
After initially publishing this article when the odds were first released, we've jumped back in with some updates due to odds changing, roster moves and early pre-season form!
Tap in to see where your futures money should be going as we begin what is yet to be another WILD season.
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Check out our plays and predictions below ⬇️
🏀 Giannis Antotokounmpo (+480) (was +390 on 11/23)
Only three men ever have three-peated the NBA MVP, with Larry Bird doing it in the 80s, after Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell both achieved the feat in the 60s.
So, could the Greek Freak become the first player in almost 40 years to be named the most valuable player in the NBA three years running? Well, the sportsbooks say yes.
Giannis comes in as the favorite again this season and if his numbers continue to grow as they have done year-on-year, then he will be right in discussions again.
He probably doesn’t present enough value for bettors right now, with the best advice being to hold out in the hope that he drifts at some point in the season with a rival for the award going on a hot streak.
🏀 Luka Doncic (+410) (was +440 on 11/23)
The Slovenian superstar took his offensive game to another level in year two and there’s little reason it won’t grow even more in 2021.
As it stands, he is our top pick to win the award, but at similar odds to the reigning back-to-back champ, it may be hard to play him right now.
But in saying that with Kristaps Porzingis already slated to miss the start of the season, there’s a serious chance that Luka catches fire early, having to shoulder the load, meaning his odds could actually become SHORTER after the first few weeks.
*Since writing this article initially, Luka has come into favoritism with the sportsbooks, which lines up with data given to us by BetMGM, where Luka represents 14% of the total MVP tickets, way ahead of second place Nikola Jokic at 9%.
🏀 Anthony Davis (+850) (was +700 on 11/23)
AD is a world champion now and for a while there during the finals, looked like he may win a Finals MVP in the process.
He will turn 28 during this season, seeing him right in the middle of his prime. With LeBron likely to hand the keys over a little bit more each season, Davis will put himself right in the MVP conversation without having to really even improve on his output from the past couple of seasons.
There’s also a chance that LeBron will at times rest early in the season, allowing AD to put up bulk numbers in the opening weeks of the season, which could mean that 7/1 is the longest odds we will get all season.
🏀 Steph Curry (+850) (was +1200 on 11/23)
The Warriors had a year down the standings, with Steph and Klay out (and of course KD sidelined at the Nets) but will be right back up near the top this season.
With KD gone and the unfortunate injury to Klay Thompson, we’re likely to see Steph handling the ball a lot more like he did in his back-to-back MVP seasons and if he gets some Harden-like usage numbers, the stats he puts up could be out of this world.
*Steph's odds have been slashed of late, with the two-time MVP now into +850. He also just 29/4/4 in a pre-season game and looked in extremely good knick!
💰 The Sleepers
🏀 Damian Lillard (18/1) (was 20/1 on 11/23)
The Blazers are currently ranked the ninth best team in the West according to FanDuel but Dame Dolla won’t be accepting that.
Lillard is the man at Portland and with a fully fit Nurkic on the team and recruits like Robert Covington, they will be eyeing off a much better place in the standings than they had last season.
If it clicks for the Blazers and they can finish in the top four seeds, then Dame will be one of the top guys being talked about in MVP discussions.
🏀 Jayson Tatum (26/1) (was 24/1 on 11/23)
It’s been a meme ever since he was drafted, but it’s pretty mind blowing that Jayson Tatum is still only 22 years old.
Tatum’s game has gone to another level every year he’s spent in the NBA and he was playing like a top-10 guy leading into the shutdown back in March of this year.
Having just signed a max deal and with his eyes on becoming one of the upper echelon superstars of basketball, Tatum is a serious threat when it comes to the MVP race this season.
*It was recently revealed that Taco Jay is being officially listed as two inches taller than last season which is a scry prospect for those defending him. We really like Tatum at these now inflated odds!
🏀 Nikola Jokic (36/1) (was 24/1 on 11/23)
The Joker is a star, no one can deny that. With AD seemingly a permanent number four and Joel Embiid always injured, Jokic is probably the best Center in the league and surely we’re due for a big man winning the MVP with 2000 Shaq the last C to take out the award.
The Nuggets should only get better and so should this guy. Jokic usually starts the season a little slower than most so if he comes out firing in the first month, he will provide great value for bettors.
Oh, he is also the best passing big man of all-time.
*Keen eyes may have noticed that Joker's odds have blown out since we initially wrote this, which we can't even remotely understand! He is definitely worth some pizza money before the season gets underway.
🔮 Bets for the Brave
🏀 Devin Booker (36/1) (was 55/1 on 11/23)
The Bubble Suns were one of the stories of the season return, going 9-0 only to just miss out on making the play-in tournament. But the whole squad will take inspiration and confidence from that performance that they can be a serious problem this season.
With the addition of Chris Paul, Book will have less pressure on him to hold up the offense and should absolutely shine. If the Suns can make a proper push for a top four seed, Booker’s 55/1 odds will look ridiculous.
*Well, we called it. Book's 55/1 odds were seemingly as crazy as we thought, with the young superstar now into 36/1!
🏀 Donovan Mitchell (85/1) (no odds change since 11/23)
Now we’re getting to some BIG odds. Donovan Mitchell is no doubt going to be in MVP conversations for multiple seasons of his career, and why couldn’t that start now?
Spida took his game to a whole new level in the playoffs last season, especially when going head-to-head with Jamal Murray in a series for the ages.
Another in a similar boat to Lillard and Booker in which he will need his team to finish high in the standings in a competitive Western Conference, Mitchell will be out to build on his 2020 campaign and become one of the premium dudes in the league.
🏀 Trae Young (85/1) (was 65/1 on 11/23)
Another guy at the crazy odds of 85/1, the benefit for Trae could be that he plays in the East, where although there's some incredible talent at the top, a team like the Hawks could still cause some trouble when it comes to the playoff positions.
Last season, Trae became just the 5th player in NBA history to average at least 29 PPG & 9 APG, increasing his averages from 19.1 & 8.1 in his rookie year to 29.6 & 9.3 as a sophomore.
With Rajon Rondo now on the Hawks, Trae's lacking defensive skills should be covered a bit, whilst Rondo will also be able to help Trae grow as a player on the offensive end, which in itself is a scary prospect.
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook all correct at time of publishing.