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NBA odds: After monster game vs. Jazz, Joel Embiid now co-favorite for MVP with LeBron James

Sam Cooper
·3-min read

Joel Embiid is now tied with LeBron James as the betting favorite to win the NBA MVP at BetMGM.

The Philadelphia 76ers star was second in MVP odds behind James, but that changed after Embiid’s monstrous performance on Wednesday night. Embiid put up 40 points and 19 rebounds in a come-from-behind victory over the Utah Jazz.

The Sixers trailed almost the entire game, but Embiid willed his team back. He was a monster in the post, repeatedly scoring on two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Embiid also made several key defensive plays and hit two timely fourth-quarter 3-pointers. The second trey came in the final seconds of regulation and ultimately forced overtime.

Embiid, with the help of Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons, then helped the Sixers complete the comeback and win 131-123 in overtime. The Sixers have won six of their last eight games and are in first place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 24-12 overall record. The Brooklyn Nets are a half-game back at 24-13, with the Milwaukee Bucks sitting in third place with a 21-14 record.

“We’ve seen steady action on Embiid all season and after a game like last night against the league’s best team, while being guarded primarily by Rudy Gobert, we felt it was time to make him a co-favorite with LeBron to win MVP,” said Seamus Magee, a sports trader for BetMGM. “The Lakers have struggled without Anthony Davis. Had LA continued to win then LeBron would be the clear favorite but at this point in the season it is a two-man race for the award.”

Joel Embiid’s MVP odds surging

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Embiid was listed at +300 to win MVP. By Thursday morning, those odds had shifted to +250, putting him alongside James, who also sits at +250. Next in line are Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic at +400, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic at +1000, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry at +1200 and two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo at +1300.

Embiid, though, has been surging up the ranks. Embiid opened the season with +4000 odds at BetMGM, well behind James and Jokic, who opened the season with +800 and +2500 odds, respectively.

To this point in the season, James has received most of the betting action — 28.7% of the tickets and 36.4% of the money — at BetMGM. Embiid, meanwhile, has received 11.3% of the tickets and 21.9% of the money. Jokic has received 10.7% of the bets and 13.1% of the money.

Embiid is now averaging 30.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game while shooting 52.1% from the field, 41.6% from three and 85.6% from the free-throw line. Wednesday night's effort was the fifth 40-plus point outing of the season for Embiid, including when he had 50 points and 17 rebounds in a win over the Chicago Bulls in February.

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