BetMGM: Ohio Bettors Backing Surging Cavaliers, Mitchell For MVP

Written By TJ McBride on January 5, 2023 - Last Updated on May 26, 2023
Cleveland Cavaliers Ohio Sports Betting

The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a hot start, and Ohio bettors have taken notice.

After the first weekend of legal sports betting in Ohio, the betting splits look quite different when comparing Ohio bettors to the U.S. at large. Ohioans are betting much more heavily on the Cavaliers to win the NBA title and for star guard Donovan Mitchell to win the league MVP award.

Ohioans betting heavily on Cavs, Mitchell

According to BetMGM, 38.7% of Ohio bets for NBA champion have come in on the Cleveland Cavaliers, significantly topping the Golden State Warriors (10.7%) and Boston Celtics (9.2%).

Here is how the top-three NBA championship bets look nationwide at BetMGM:

  • Warriors 11.7%
  • Celtics 10.1%
  • Nuggets 10.0%

Similarly, Ohio bettors are backing Donovan Mitchell with 32.9% of bets to win MVP, second to the leader, Luka Doncic (36.9%), but far ahead of Nikola Jokic (9.1%), who ranks third nationally.

BetMGM NBA MVP (all states):

  • Luka Doncic 17.3%
  • Ja Morant 10.1%
  • Nikola Jokic 10.0%

Mitchell only has 2.2% of the nationwide bets for league MVP. He currently has the seventh-best odds at +3500.

Mitchell scores 71, enters MVP discussion

Mitchell exploded for 71 points in the Cavaliers overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 2, forcing his way into the MVP discussion. 

He’s still a long shot compared to Doncic and Morant, but running up a combination of 99 points and assists in that 145-134 overtime win over the Bulls officially put Mitchell on the map. 

Mitchell’s 99 points + assists was second-highest in the history of the NBA behind Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game. 

Mitchell and the Cavs followed that win up with another against Phoenix on Jan. 5. They currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and are riding a three-game winning streak.

Cavs surging behind Mitchell’s career-high numbers

Mitchell is averaging MVP-type numbers across the board:

  • 29.0 points (career-high)
  • 4.0 rebounds
  • 4.9 assists
  • 1.5 steals

The sixth-year player out of Louisville is shooting a career-high 49.2% from the field on 20.6 attempts per game.

From three-point range, Mitchell is shooting a career-high 41.3% while taking the second-most three-point shots per game of his career at 9.3 per contest.

Mitchell’s six free throws per game are also tied for his career-best and he is shooting a career-best percentage of 87.1%.

This has been unmistakably Mitchell’s best season to date, and he is doing so with his most efficient season scoring the basketball of his career.


Mitchell will need to make up some ground against the NBA’s best in order to claim the MVP award.

Current MVP odds at BetMGM:

  • Luka Doncic +275
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo +350
  • Nikola Jokic +400
  • Jayson Tatum +425
  • Kevin Durant +700
  • Joel Embiid +1300
  • Ja Morant +3000
  • Donovan Mitchell +3500

Jokic is already the back-to-back Most Valuable Player winner and is currently putting up an equally incredible season for a Nuggets team that leads the Western Conference. Doncic just had the first 60-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist game ever and is single-handily carrying the Dallas Mavericks to a winning record.

Antetokounmpo is destroying worlds as he usually does for the Milwaukee Bucks, who are clearly one of the elite teams in the East.

Tatum is leading the best team in basketball with his own best season to date for the Boston Celtics and is producing on both ends of the floor.

Oh, and there is still Durant having a mind-boggling season for the Brooklyn Nets, plus Embiid, who is dominating the paint on a night-to-night basis for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Mitchell will have to perform at a level he has never reached before for a long period of time to grab this award from one of those titans of the NBA.

Cavaliers in prime playoff shape after four-season drought

The Cavaliers have plenty of other talent on the roster, but Mitchell’s arrival this season has been the catalyst for a unit that missed the playoffs for years in a row.

They are currently 25-14 and fourth in the East, just 1.5 games back of the Boston Celtics for first place.

Mitchell is not just enjoying the individual success of being a top-10 scorer in the league while posting his most efficient season of his career, but he has the team success going for him as well.

Mitchell is helping a good team in the Cavaliers become potentially great. While improbable, it is not impossible for Mitchell to win the NBA MVP award. 

He has the skill, talent, and team surrounding him to be one of the deadliest scorers in the league. If Mitchell can continue to fine tune his game around fellow stars Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, he could remain in the MVP discussion for years to come.

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TJ McBride

T.J. McBride is a Denver-based writer and reporter who covers sports betting for PlayOhio. His work has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and Yahoo Sports, among others.

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