• March 26, 2023

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Joel Embiid overtakes LeBron James as favorite to win NBA MVP

There’s a new MVP favorite as the NBA regular season prepares to restart.

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid overtook Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James last week and is now the consensus favorite to collect the regular-season MVP award at sportsbooks around the nation. Embiid is listed at +200 to win MVP at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, followed by James at +225.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is next at +350, followed by Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (+1300), Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (+1400) and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1600).

Embiid opened at 40-1 to win MVP at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, but his odds steadily improved throughout the campaign as he put up big numbers. Embiid is averaging 30.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.

He is on pace to join Curry as the only players to average 30 points on 50% shooting and 40% on 3-pointers in a season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He’s also looking to become the first center to win MVP since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000.

Embiid has attracted nearly 20% of all MVP bets placed with FanDuel’s sportsbook, while James has garnered the most money wagered.

James, a four-time regular-season MVP, emerged as the favorite to attain his fifth award in late January. James saw his odds get as short as +160 entering March before being surpassed by Embiid.

The 76ers are in first place in the Eastern Conference but are expected to be without Embiid and Ben Simmons for Thursday’s game match the Chicago Bulls due to league COVID-19 contact-tracing protocols.

Embiid had a truly signature game last Wednesday in leading a 131-123 overtime upset of the NBA-best Utah Jazz. He hit the tying three-pointer late in regulation and finished with 40 points and 19 rebounds.

Steve Carr

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