The NBA MVP is one of the most prestigious honors in sports history.
The award has been given 66 times in the league’s 76-year history to an elite group of 35 players.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record for most career MVPs (6), with Michael Jordan having five to his name.

Aside from those two, only 13 other players have won the award multiple times, most recently Nikola Jokic, who was named the recipient of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the second consecutive year.

This year’s race is heating up as Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokoumpo, and Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic are in a close race for the award. 

Here’s a rundown of the top favorites to win the MVP according to FanDuel Sportsbook betting odds.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (+290)
  • Luka Doncic (+390)
  • Jayson Tatum (+700)
  • Ja Morant (+1200)
  • Stephen Curry (+1300)
  • Joel Embiid (+1600)
  • Kevin Durant (+1600)
  • Nikola Jokic (+2100)
  • Pascal Siakam (+3000)
  • Donovan Mitchell (+3000)

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Antetokoumpo is no stranger to MVP conversations. He’s won the award two consecutive times (2019, 2020), and despite finishing third in the MVP voting last year, one could give a fair argument that he deserved to win it last year. I mean, we’re talking about a guy that averaged 29.9 points (55.3% FG), 11.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals last year, coming off a 2021 championship and Finals MVP-winning season.

Photo: Markus Spiske

So far, in this new campaign, the Greek Freak is averaging 33.6 points on 62% TS, 12.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. Plus, the Bucks are the only undefeated team in the NBA, despite not having Khris Middleton on the floor.

At 27 years old, Antetokounmpo seems to be just entering his prime, which is quite scary considering how much of a dominant force he’s been in the past few seasons. One thing is certain: he has a couple more MVPs in him, barring any injuries.

Luka Doncic

Doncic has been a joy to watch since his rookie season, and his consistency appears to be paying off. Only 23 years old, the face of the Maverick’s franchise has put up some of the most outrageous stats in the past three years.

He led the Mavs to their first Conference Finals since 2011. Doncic averaged 28.4 points (45.7% FG and 35.3% 3pt), 9.1 rebounds, 8.7 assists, and 1.2 steals en route to the playoffs before taking down the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns in the playoffs. He finished 5th in the MVP voting last year but has so far proven to be a closer favorite this year. 

The Slovenian is having a historic start to the season. He leads the league in point average (36.1 ppg on 60.9% TS) and is the first player since Wilt Chamberlain (1967) with 7-30 point games to start the season. He’s also averaging 8.9 rebounds and 9.0 assists.

If he keeps up this pace and provided the Mavs finish with a considerably good regular season record, which is almost a given at this point, Luka could win his first award. 

Fun Facts

  • The past four MVP awards have been won by two international players; Giannis Antetokoumpo and Nikola Jokic. With both Antetokoumpo and Doncic leading the early voting, the NBA could see another international winner this year.
  • Doncic could be the first guard to win the MVP award since James Harden won the award in 2018
  • The MVP has been awarded to players 23 years or younger only four times: Derrick Rose (2010-11), Wes Unseld (1968-69), Moses Malone (1978-79), Bob McAdoo (1974-75)

Featured Image: Markus Spiske
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