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NBA predictions: Breaking down MVP odds, picks for 2021-22 season

We take a look at the favorite to win MVP, along with other contenders and possible value plays for the 2021-22 NBA season.

LA Clippers advance to the second round after defeating the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 during game seven of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoff basketball game.
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks reacts against the LA Clippers in the fourth quarter of game seven of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoff basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 6, 2021.
Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The 2021-22 NBA season kicks off the the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks hosting the Brooklyn Nets, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers facing the Golden State Warriors. Reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic won’t be in action, but several other contenders for the league’s top individual honor will be playing to start the new season.

NBA MVP Award 2021-22 odds

The favorite: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (+380)

Doncic has risen to an elite level in a short period of time. The Mavericks guard averaged 27.7 points, 8.6 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game last season but will need to take his team to the next level in the West to be in the conversation for this honor. The stats will be there for Doncic. Will the wins come this season?

Other contenders

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: +700

Embiid was a finalist for this award last season, finishing in second place. He’s going to be the dominant force for the 76ers and should put up strong numbers. The Ben Simmons situation is creating unnecessary drama in Philly, but Embiid believes he’s the best big man in the game. It could be time for him to show it this season.

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets: +700

Detractors will point to Kyrie Irving and James Harden’s presence to say Durant would be unworthy of this honor but the reality is he’s the most important player for the Nets and might be the best player in the league. Brooklyn is expected to be one of the best teams in the league and Durant will have the numbers. The best player on the best team usually wins this award, so Durant has a great case.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks: +800

Don’t forget about the reigning Finals MVP. He’s won two of these honors and should be right in the thick of things for a third MVP award. Antetokounmpo has the Finals monkey off his back and can now focus on being the most dominant force he can be. His shooting has never come around, but the Greek Freak is entering his peak years and will have the Bucks in the championship conversation again.

Best bet: Kevin Durant (+700)

Doncic’s numbers will put him in this conversation and voters love him, but will the Mavericks have enough wins. Russell Westbrook’s triple-double campaign was historic, which helped him overcome his team’s relatively poor record. Jokic carried the Nuggets after they suffered a big injury to Murray, gaining some sympathy from voters. Unless there’s some injuries or Doncic is putting up 40 points per game, this award is once again going to go to the best player on one of the best teams. Durant’s numbers will be stellar and he’s going to be on the best team. He’s good value to win MVP at +700.

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