The second half of the NBA season started last night, and the games did not disappoint. Stars were in exceptional form across the Association. The depth of talent throughout the National Basketball Association these days is unprecedented for MVP.
The NBA is the most player-driven league of the four major North American sports. While there are many fun team bets to make, the player propositions in the NBA are one of my favorite sports betting markets.
The egos in the NBA are huge. It’s what sports bettors and fantasy players depend on during this time of the sports calendar.
The futures market of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player is top-heavy this year. Still, the second half of the NBA season always offers the opportunity for opportunistic narratives and sportswriter lobbying to make a compelling case for someone as MVP. Let’s break down the field!
Battle of the Big Men: Embiid v Jokic
At first glance of a futures board, one trend is abundantly clear: the value in this future bet is in the frontcourt players. That’s easy to see – players like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo drive their teams like everyone else. Across most major boards, they’re the three biggest favorites regarding NBA MVP futures.
Giannis has been dealing with a wrist injury for almost ten days now. It forced him to drop out of the NBA All-Star Game. Bucks fans and bettors will hold their breath for his full-fledged return to the court. In the meantime, it’s worth focusing on Jokic and Embiid as the two favorites.
Embiid demonstrated his value to the 76ers through his performance in a comeback win versus the Memphis Grizzlies last night. Embiid went 7-for-25 from the field, but grabbed 19 rebounds, dished out six assists, and blocked six shots. He eventually scored 27 points.
Jokic also won in his post-All-Star break return. The Western Conference-leading Nuggets won on the road in an intraconference game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jokic had another triple-double with 24 points, 18 rounds, and 13 assists. It was his 22nd triple-double of the season.
Possible Backcourt/Longshot MVP Candidates
It’s most likely that one of the two big men candidates will become the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. For those of us that enjoy taking long shots, some backcourt candidates have compelling narratives that pair with their odds.
Ja Morant and LeBron James are two fun longshot futures to look into. Ja and the Grizzlies are going through some growing pains, but steadying the ship and getting the Grizzlies to a top-4 seed would be a massive achievement.
LeBron James is on a permanent victory tour. Still, with a retooled Lakers roster, a massive 2nd-half performance to deliver the Lakers into the playoffs would certainly sway some sportswriter votes over to the case of his narrative.
The second half of the NBA season is one of the best sprints in professional sports. I’ll be watching. Hope you will too!
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