Luka leads Giannis as betting fave to win MVP

  • Joined ESPN in 2014
  • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

Luka Doncic has separated himself from Giannis Antetokounmpo and emerged as the consensus favorite to win the regular-season MVP at U.S. sportsbooks, and bettors are flocking to the Dallas Mavericks’ young superstar.

On Nov. 10, Doncic and Antetokounmpo opened as +550 co-favorites at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. Since then, Doncic has attracted twice as many bets — and twice as much money — as any other player to become the solo favorite at +450.

Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ two-time reigning regular-season MVP, has dropped a notch back at +500, followed by Lakers stars Anthony Davis (+800) and LeBron James (+850). Doncic has attracted more bets at William Hill than Antetokounmpo, Davis and James combined.

At sportsbook operator PointsBet, one out of every three bets placed has been on Doncic, who capped a breakout second NBA season with an electrifying playoff performance in the bubble in Orlando.

“I thought he should have finished higher than he did last year in the [MVP] voting,” said Jeff Sherman, a longtime NBA oddsmaker for the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

Sherman said New Orleans Pelicans second-year forward Zion Williamson also has been attracting support from bettors, causing his MVP odds to move from 80-1 to 50-1 at the SuperBook.

Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young also has been generating interest at sportsbooks. Young’s odds have shortened from 200-1 to 50-1 at the SuperBook, and William Hill reported taking a $1,000 bet on Young for MVP at 100-1 odds.

“Our largest liability so far is on [Charlotte Hornets rookie] LaMelo Ball at 5,000-1,” Sherman said.

Odds to win NBA regular-season MVP [Courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, as of Tuesday]:

Luka Doncic +400
Giannis Antetokounmpo +450
Stephen Curry +750
Anthony Davis +800
LeBron James +850
Kawhi Leonard +1,400
Kevin Durant +1,500
James Harden +1,500
Damian Lillard +2,000

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