2023 NBA Futures: Can Anyone Catch Luka Doncic in the MVP Race?

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jan 15, 2023 07:00 PM
2023 NBA Futures: Can Anyone Catch Luka Doncic in the MVP Race?

As the 2022-23 NBA season approaches the halfway mark, now is a great time to dip your feet into the 2023 NBA futures waters.

For the uninitiated, these wagers tackle big-picture events.  This includes betting odds to win the NBA MVP, conference championships, win totals, and year-end player awards. The latter category will be our focus in this space. More specifically, we want to figure out the best bet to win the 2022-23 NBA award.

Oddsmakers so far have Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks (+275) favored to bag the coveted individual honor. But is that correct? What other candidates should you zero in on? And above all, who will actually win it? To start us off, let's have a look at the latest 2023 NBA bets, courtesy of BetOnline:

MVP WinnerBetOnline
Luka Doncic+275
Jayson Tatum+330
Giannis Antetokounmpo+400
Nikola Jokic+400
Kevin Durant+700
Joel Embiid+1200
Ja Morant+2500
Zion Williamson+3000
Donovan Mitchell+4000
Stephen Curry+5000
Devin Booker+10000
Damian Lillard+15000
Pascal Siakam+20000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander+20000

It is incredibly important that you continue double-checking these online NBA betting odds until you actually submit your wager. The MVP award isn't given out until after the regular season ends in the middle of April, and our odds to win NBA MVP are accurate entering Wednesday, January 4, 2023. That gives sportsbooks plenty of time to shift their lines in the coming months.

To keep up with the latest NBA betting odds, we highly recommend checking out our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. We've jam-packed these in-depth evaluations with all the information you need to spot the best online betting sites for the NBA.

And now, let's get to the best bets to win NBA MVP!

Is Luka Doncic Fool's Gold in the 2023 NBA Futures Landscape?

There's no denying that Luka Doncic has been absolutely dominant—especially over his last four games, in which he's averaging 46.7 points and ten assists while shooting the absolute lights out.

Still, the MVP race so often favors players who come from teams with a top-five record in the league. Granted, this wasn't the case last year. Nikola Jokic won the award because he was able to elevate a shorthanded Denver Nuggets team to the playoffs. Doncic is doing a similar thing with the Dallas Mavericks this year, and he has the team all the way up to fourth in the Western Conference.

At the same time, there is a growing movement in league circles that suggests voters will no longer reward superstars carrying mediocre supporting casts to respectability. So while Luka Doncic remains one of the foremost MVP candidates, you should be wary of considering him the unchallenged favorite.

Luka Doncic To win the 2022-23 NBA MVP award

Can Nikola Jokic Win a Third Straight MVP Award?

Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain. Those are the only three players in NBA history to win three consecutive MVP awards. Can Nikola Jokic join them? Conventional wisdom suggests he won't. Voter fatigue is real, and there are many who believe he's a defensive liability who cannot be the best player on a title team

In this case, however, conventional wisdom may not win out.

Not only is Jokic positively blowing up the stat lines, but the Nuggets are annihilating opponents during his minutes on the court. On top of that, Denver is far from mediocre. They have the third-best record in the entire league–and the top record in the West.

Nikola Jokic To win the 2022-23 NBA MVP award

Who's the Better 2023 NBA Futures Bet: Kevin Durant or Jayson Tatum?

Jayson Tatum (+330) should seemingly have the edge here. He fits the most basic MVP argument of all by being the best player on the league's best team. There are also many who believe Kevin Durant (+700) won't top many ballots because he tried forcing a trade from the Brooklyn Nets this past season.

It's time to move beyond that part of the Durant discourse. He is having an All-NBA season on both ends of the floor so far. And while durability has been his Achilles Heel the past few years, he's now logging more minutes than almost anyone in the league.

Bake in the fact that KD's Nets are now contending for a top spot in the Eastern Conference and his odds should no longer be repressed by what happened over the summer.

Kevin Durant To win the 2022-23 NBA MVP award

Best Dark Horse NBA MVP Bet

Zion Williamson (+3000) or Stephen Curry (+5000) should be the picks here. Alas, they can't be.

Steph has been on the shelf for the past few weeks recovering from a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans just announced that Zion would miss at least the next month with a hamstring issue. Availability isn't everything in the MVP race, but neither Zion nor Steph will have the minutes played to justify earning votes over guys like Durant or Doncic.

That brings us to Joel Embiid (+1200). Though he already missed some time himself, he's worked his way back into the top 50 of minutes played while churning out 40-point performances and fairly sturdy defense. 

There's always the chance Embiid misses more time. He is a perpetual injury risk. At full strength, though, he's a dominant force unlike any other, and it's his play that's most responsible for the Philadelphia 76ers creeping back into title contention.

Joel Embiid To win the 2022-23 NBA MVP award

Official 2022-23 NBA MVP Prediction

Entering the halfway point of the 2022-23 NBA season, our MVP pick is...Nikola Jokic.

This is going to strike some people as weird. Surely he can't win a third straight MVP award when it seemed like the voters begrudgingly gave him the honor last year? Perhaps this is true.

Then again, Jokic isn't leaving voters much of a choice. He is one of the game's most efficient scorers and best passers, and the Nuggets' record can no longer be used as an excuse. Denver, in fact, has a chance to finish with the league's best record—which means Jokic is checking every single box of MVP criteria, more so than anyone else.

Nikola Jokic To win the 2022-23 NBA MVP award

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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