The NBA Finals are still in full swing, but DraftKings Sportsbook dropped a swath of 2022 NBA Futures markets on us anyway. Peaking the interest of many are the 2022 NBA MVP odds, which lists Mavs’ superstar Luka Doncic as the favorite to take next season’s award home.
Below we’ll dive into the odds; including the favorites, contenders, and longshots.
Note: The following odds are opening lines found at DraftKings Sportsbook, reflected as of July 14.
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Luka Doncic (+400): Despite rumors surrounding discontent with the Mavericks and potential connection to the firing of Rick Carlisle, Doncic leads MVP odds for the 2022 season. The odds follow a historic postseason in which Doncic averaged 35.7 points per game in a seven-game, first-round exit. At just 22 years old, it’s clear he’s here to stay and evolve into one of the most prolific players in the game. He’s also the new cover boy for the 2K video game franchise.
Joel Embiid (+700): Embiid was the runner-up for the 2021 award in a bigs-heavy voting season. He averaged 28.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game this past season while also leading the 76ers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and 49 wins. Teammate Ben Simmons is almost certainly out of town; with the keys to himself, Embiid will likely see a boost in usage. The question remains, can he stay healthy enough?
Kevin Durant (+800): Durant has become an annual lock for being an MVP contender. No matter the team, the teammates, or the circumstance, KD is usually near the center of the conversation. Major pieces for Brooklyn like Spencer Dinwidde and flash-in-the-pan star Bruce Brown Jr. are due for free agency– players the Nets won’t likely retain. Durant finished 2021 with 26.9 points per game, his highest since Oklahoma City (2015).
Giannis Antetokounmpo (+800): The two-time MVP has become a household name and arguably the best player in the NBA. His Bucks toppled the superteam Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals, leading Milwaukee to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974. However, teammate Khris Middleton has shown capable of being able to carry the Bucks (as seen in Giannis’ absence), which could inhibit his campaign to win his third MVP in 2022.
Stephen Curry (+800): Despite not leading his team to the NBA Playoffs in 2021, Curry looked to be at his best since 2016. He led the league in scoring while also posting a career-high 32 points per game. From late-March through the end of the season, he was scoring a ballistic 36.9 points per game, including seven games of at least 40 points. Klay Thompson is expected back after missing two consecutive seasons and the Warriors opened with 8/1 odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals.
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Damian Lillard (+1100): Rumors heavily indicate that Dame is out of Portland after the team repeatedly failed to win much of anything with him in town. Never was that more evident than in the 2021 Playoffs where the team went 0-3 when Lillard scored 35 or more. Whether the Blazers retain Dame or not may affect his MVP odds– buzz surrounding complementing him with Ben Simmons is out there, but Lillard will need to mostly carry a team to get MVP consideration.
LeBron James (+1100): While not the most fun pick right now, LeBron James is always in the MVP consideration. 2021 was derailed seemingly by injuries to Anthony Davis (and James himself), closing the book to many on any future MVP campaigns. However, LBJ has defied age time and time again, pacing many records and looking overall spectacular for a player entering his 19th season. Like Tom Brady in the NFL, just when you count him out is when he plays his best ball.
Nikola Jokic (+1500): The reigning NBA MVP defied the prototypical award winner for many and that’s reflected in his opening 2022 NBA MVP odds. The Nuggets were victim to the infamous “Suns In 4” in the second round of the NBA Playoffs despite terrific play from Jokic. Jamal Murray’s status is unknown at this point, but with his wingman out, Jokic has a chance to post serious numbers next season. A repeat might be hard to believe, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Trae Young (+1800): A surprising opening line for sure from opening 2022 NBA MVP odds – Trae Young exploded in the 2021 playoffs, averaging just shy of 30 points per game and stealing every headline. He carried a Hawks team that at one point was +20000 to even make the NBA Finals to the Conference Championship. While getting him +1800 seems like a value at first glance, he would likely have to continue his postseason tear throughout all of next season to cash in.
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