Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid put together the best scoring performance of the 2023-24 NBA season on Monday night, scoring 70 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
It was an unreal performance, and oddsmakers reacted to it, moving Embiid to +130 to win the league's MVP award, well ahead of the next closest contenders -- Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Embiid is now averaging 36.1 points per game on the season, and he's well on his way to a third straight scoring title. The reigning MVP is looking to win his second straight MVP award, but bettors may want to proceed with caution in betting on Embiid.
Even after a 70-point game, Embiid's MVP case still has some holes -- and the Sixers center may have better value later on in the season.
First, a look at the latest odds:
Latest Odds to Win NBA MVP in 2023-24 Season
Don't Overreact to Joel Embiid's 70-Point Performance
This may seem like a crazy take, but here me out.
The market adjusted massively in Embiid's favor after this game, but there's a chance it could cool off over the coming weeks. Embiid scored 70 points, which is no small feat, but it came against the eight-win San Antonio Spurs.
Does that really warrant a jump to the near odds-on favorite to win MVP? I don't think so.
All it takes is a big game from Nikola Jokic or Gilgeous-Alexander to sway the odds? I'm not a huge fan of getting in on Embiid at his lowest price this season.
Plus, there is still a concern that the big man may not meet the 65-game threshold to win the award this season.
Embiid's MVP last season was an anomaly. He played just 66 games, yet only four league MVPs have played less than 70 games since the 1977-78 season. They are:
- Joel Embiid in the 2022-23 season
- Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2019-20 season (shortened because of COVID-19)
- LeBron James in the 2011-12 season (shortened because of NBA lockout)
- Karl Malone in the 1998-99 season (shortened because of NBA lockout)
Embiid has already missed 10 games this season, and if he misses eight more -- which is highly possible for an injury-prone player -- he will be ineligible to win MVP under the new rules in the CBA.
If the season ended today, Embiid is the MVP. However, his current odds give him a 43.48 percent chance of winning the award. Given his injury history, and the fact that his team is the No. 3 seed in the East (OKC is the No. 2 in the West tied with Denver) he may not be as big of a lock as oddsmakers are making him out to be.
If you want to bet Embiid, you're better off waiting for a better number later in the season. It may not come, but he's not worth the lack of upside at +130 odds.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.