NBA MVP Odds: Nikola Jokic Is Pulling Away From the Pack

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
NBA MVP Odds: Nikola Jokic Is Pulling Away From the Pack

The NBA season is entering its final month as regular season play ends on April 12th. With so little time left in the season, can any of the league's stars mount a comeback on Nikola Jokic for the coveted 2023-24 MVP trophy? Or is the two-time winner inevitably marching towards a third award in four seasons?

Let's take a look at the NBA MVP odds market from FanDuel Sportsbook to see how bettors are feeling about this exciting race.


Current Odds
Previous Odds
Nikola JokicDenver Nuggets-230-155
Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderOklahoma City Thunder+330+220
Luka DoncicDallas Mavericks+800+700
Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks+2000+1500
Jayson TatumBoston Celtics+4800+4000

Jokic has seemed to further cement himself as the MVP since FanDuel Research's last MVP odds check-in with Zack Bussiere at the end of February. Is his case rock solid as we wrap up the season, or can someone else beat him to the finish line?

Nikola Jokic (-230)

If you look at the stats, it sure seems like Jokic has his eyes on the MVP prize this season. The star center took a year off as the league's MVP, letting Joel Embiid take a turn with that title, but he's come back in force for the 2023-24 season.

Jokic's 26.2 points per game ranks last among the MVP frontrunners but still 13th league-wide and 1st among centers. He is also 4th in rebounds per game (12.3) and 4th in assists per game (9.2) with only point guards handing out more points to their teammates than he does.

So while Jokic's raw points per game trails those of his peers and rivals, his 132 Offensive Rating (ORtg), which factors in things other than just points, paces the pack. He's an offensive juggernaut -- who also happens to have the best defensive rating (109) among this year's MVP hopefuls.

Jokic's 2023-24 resume stacks up favorably against his previous MVP-winning seasons, as well. That 132 ORtg tops either of the ratings he logged in those winning seasons, and his per-game stats look similar to his marks from those campaigns. If those numbers were good enough to win him the award twice already, it stands to reason that they'll hold up for a third MVP crown.

Jokic's dominance on the court has helped the Denver Nuggets to a 45-20 record, which ranks second-best in the Western Conference. They currently trail the 45-19 Oklahoma City Thunder by a half-game and have -108 Odds to Win the Northwest Division over the Thunder (+116) by the season's end.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+330)

Speaking of the Thunder, star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is still putting up a fight for the MVP award this season after finishing fifth in votes for the award in his breakout 2022-23 season. His 32.5 points per game ranks second-best in the league, and his Thunder currently trail only the 50-14 Boston Celtics for the best record in the NBA.

Even while he himself is putting more points on the scoreboard than Jokic this season, Gilgeous-Alexander's impressive 131 ORtg still falls just short of Jokic's 132 mark. Likewise, his 110 DRtg is also 1 point shy of Jokic's 109. For as good as he's been, Jokic has just been ever so slightly better by those metrics.

Playing for such a winning team is a bit of a double-edged sword for Gilgeous-Alexander. MVP winners have canonically hailed from winning teams -- often as the primary reason for those teams' winning records -- but the Thunder this season have seen high-quality basketball come from across their lineup. SGA has been the frontman of an elite team this season, but Jokic has set himself apart from his teammates.

It's not Gilgeous-Alexander's fault that the Thunder have constructed one of the strongest rosters in the NBA this season. But he'll have to do something to further set himself apart from his teammates if he wants to take down Jokic for the MVP award this season. If he can, for example, post massive games against the Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks and their MVP candidates over the final weeks of the season, it would go a long way toward bolstering his case for the award.

Luka Doncic (+800)

Luka Doncic just became the first player in NBA history to record six consecutive 30-point triple-doubles. His odds for the MVP award have dropped from +700 at our last check-in to +800 on March 12th. Sometimes life isn't fair.

Doncic's 34.6 points per game paces the NBA, coming in 2.1 full points higher than Gilgeous-Alexander's second-place rate. He's on a whole different level than the rest of the league when it comes to putting the ball in the basket.

Of course, it should be noted that the Dallas Mavericks posted a 3-3 record during Doncic's incredible record-setting streak. They're 37-28 on the season, which is good enough for 8th place in the Western Conference. And with the 9th place 36-30 Los Angeles Lakers hot on their heels, the Mavericks could be looking at a tough two-game schedule in the upcoming Play-In Tournament.

Unfortunately, Doncic's team context is making it difficult for him to mount an MVP case as strong as either of Jokic's or Gilgeous-Alexander's. His impressive feats on the court aren't turning into wins, so while he's easily the most valuable player on the Mavericks, there's still a sizeable gap between him and the two frontrunners. The Mavericks still have Odds to Make the Playoffs (-310) available on FanDuel Sportsbook, unlike every other MVP-hopeful's team.

Doncic still has a shot at winning the MVP, though. He became the fourth player in league history to finish a single game with 70 or more points. We already mentioned his record-setting 30-point triple-double streak. If he can somehow muster up a couple more historic feats over the Mavericks' remaining 17 games. His individual accomplishments could be difficult for MVP voters to ignore when it becomes time to cast their votes.

Think back to Russell Westbrook's MVP-winning 2016-17 season. Even though his Thunder finished with a 47-35 record, Westbrook still took home MVP honors by averaging a triple-double per game while leading the league in points per game (31.6). Doncic's Mavs could reasonably finish with a better record than that, and the star himself is averaging close to a triple-double a night, as well.

Looking for the latest NBA odds? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook and check out all of the NBA betting options.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.