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Ohio residents have been privileged to witness one of the best of all time in recent years. LeBron James won the NBA MVP award twice while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as an NBA championship in 2016. The NBA’s MVP trophy recognizes the best player in the best league in the world, making it a career highlight for anyone who wins it.
For basketball bettors, wagering on the NBA MVP is a popular option. You can attempt to predict who will win the award in the upcoming season. For those who are interested in NBA MVP betting, this guide will cover the main points to know. From the basics of how to read the odds to some recent trends to keep in mind when placing your bet, continue reading to learn more.
Current NBA MVP odds
Understanding NBA MVP futures odds
When you first take a look at NBA MVP betting odds at any sportsbook in Ohio, you will see a list of names. Each name will have a number beside it to indicate the odds for that pick. Knowing how to read the odds will tell you how much you stand to win for any potential bets.
The first thing to look at is whether the number is positive or negative. Because of the nature of an MVP futures bet, most or all of the odds will be positive numbers. This is because positive numbers indicate an underdog. Since there are so many potential winners — and anything can happen over the course of a season — any individual player will tend to be an underdog versus the rest of the field. This may change later in the season, though.
The positive number that you see next to each player shows your potential winnings on a $100 bet. For example, if you’re looking to bet on LeBron James and his odds are +400, you could bet $100 to win $400, returning a total of $500 if he does win the award.
Sometimes you will see negative odds. These indicate a player who is favored to win the award. You will generally only see odds like this right near the end of the season or if one player has vastly separated himself from the pack. A negative number shows how much you would need to bet to win $100. For example, if Giannis Antetokounmpo had MVP odds of -125, you could bet $125 to win $100, returning a total of $225 if he wins the award.
While all Ohio sports betting apps will calculate your potential return before you place your bet, knowing how to do the math can sometimes come in handy.
How to bet on NBA MVP futures in Ohio
Before betting on the next NBA MVP, it’s a good idea to have a rough understanding of how sportsbooks set the odds and why they move. Sportsbooks create the odds for the NBA MVP far in advance of the season starting. Most of the time, you will see odds come out shortly after the previous season has ended. This leaves an entire offseason and regular season to play out before we know the next MVP winner.
Sportsbooks employ many people to create odds that bettors will enjoy but that will also make the sportsbooks money. One of the largest factors in building these lines is the use of statistics and mathematical models. Sportsbooks will analyze a lot of data to get an idea of what the numbers say is going to happen. Another aspect that goes into the odds is the use of industry veterans to tweak the lines to make them more attractive to the betting public.
The original lines, however, will not stay static throughout the season. Instead, they can shift quite dramatically. That is why knowing when to bet is crucial. The lines will shift to reflect any events that change the implied probability of any player winning the award. Examples of such events could be a major injury, a team climbing up the standings, or the performance of an individual player.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what’s going to happen, it can be a good idea to bet on more popular players earlier in the season. As the season progresses, if a big name appears to be putting together a strong MVP case, the odds on such a player can shorten dramatically. In addition, look for periods where your desired choice has a cold streak to potentially get better odds to win NBA MVP on your preferred selection.
Cleveland Cavaliers MVP candidates
Since the departure of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been looking for their next superstar. They have drafted a few players with premium selections, including Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. While those are good players, neither has yet shown true superstar quality.
If there is going to be an MVP candidate on the Cavaliers, it’s likely to be a young player who breaks out and has a special season. Here is some more info on a couple of potential candidates:
Evan Mobley is a big man who played at USC before going to the Cavaliers with the third overall selection in the 2021 NBA draft. He is talented for his size and has had NBA scouts drooling for a while now. He is someone who could win an MVP at some point during his career with his dominance inside the paint, as well as his silky smooth game outside of it.
Garland is another young player on the Cavaliers who oozes potential and could one day win an MVP. As a guard, he has shown he can put the ball in the basket at the NBA level, while also being a strong enough playmaker. He can fill the box score very quickly with a barrage of threes, a skill that could be useful for winning over MVP voters.
NBA MVP betting trends
One thing that can help with NBA betting is to look at recent winners to see if they share some common qualities. Examining the list of recent winners, we can see that to be in the MVP conversation, you need to be playing for a good team. This may seem like common sense, but some bettors still choose strong players on weaker teams. While a player could still win on a team that isn’t among the league’s elite, it’s much more difficult.
In terms of position, there are not a lot of strong recent indicators. We’ve seen Nikola Jokić — a center — and Stephen Curry — a guard — each win an award within a few years of each other. While any player can win the MVP award, there can be a slight bias toward small forwards. This is because players at that position have the best opportunity to impact the game in multiple ways. However, with the direction that the NBA is moving where positions are increasingly meaningless, it doesn’t matter too much which position your pick plays.
The most important thing for any MVP candidate is having good statistics. At the moment, the most important stats are still those that anyone can recognize. This means the basic box score stats such as points, assists, rebounds and shooting percentage make up the bulk of a player’s candidacy. Analytics continue to gain weight in basketball, though, so keep that in mind, as well.
Recent NBA MVP winners
Here are the past 10 MVP winners in the NBA.
More NBA futures bets
Betting on the eventual MVP is not the only NBA futures bet available. You can also place bets on other individual accomplishments and on team accomplishments. Here are some of the other NBA bets you may see available at top Ohio betting sites, such as DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in Ohio.
- NBA champion
- Season win totals
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Division winners
- Conference winners
- Sixth Man of the Year
Who has the most MVP awards in NBA history?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has the most MVP awards in NBA history with six. One of the greatest of all time, he dominated the center position like few others. In addition to his talent, Kareem had longevity on his side, as he played from 1969-89. Few others have had a career that long.
Abdul-Jabbar was known for his signature move: the skyhook. It’s widely considered to be one of the most unstoppable weapons of all time and a guaranteed two points while he was in his prime. He also was a key member of two of the greatest teams of all time: the 1970s Milwaukee Bucks and the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers.
The great Michael Jordan is tied for second place on the all-time MVP list with five. The player he is tied with is Bill Russell, the best winner that the NBA has ever seen. Among current players, LeBron James paces the pack with a total of four awards. He could catch Kareem with a late-career resurgence.