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Stephen Curry has been the standout player in the NBA to many this season, having led the Warriors to a 9-1 record after 10 games, averaging 27.6 points, 6.6 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game.
The two-time MVP winner – who is also the league’s only ever unanimous MVP – is chasing his third Maurice Podoloff Trophy and, according to Basketball Reference’s MVP Tracker, he currently has a 36.6% chance of doing so.
This tends to be a good metric when it comes to analyzing who could win MVP come the end of the season, although it should not be viewed as gospel given that Washington Wizards center Montrezl Harrell is currently ranked 9th.
The MVP race looked to be a pretty wide open one at the start of this season after Nikola Jokic was the recipient in 2021. Luka Doncic was the early favourite, while the usual suspects including LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antentokounmpo were all touted as potential winners.
Curry started out the season as high as +800 with many sports betting sites, but those odds have now fallen significantly for him to now be the favourite at +300 with FanDuel. He is followed by Durant at +550, Antetokounmpo at +700, Doncic at +900 and Jokic at +1400.
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Making The Case For Curry
This has been a very impressive start to the season from Curry, but there is still room for improvement when it comes to his efficiency. One of the reasons why he is the greatest shooter of all time is because of the efficiency that he has consistently shown through the years, currently sitting as a 43% three-point shooter from 8.6 attempts per game across his career.
So far this season Curry has shot 39% from behind the three-point arc from a career-high 13.4 attempts per game and he has never shot below 40% in a season in his career. That is a stat that we would expect to continue and his numbers should increase by the time Klay Thompson returns.
His backcourt partner is expected to return over the Christmas period and although it remains to be seen how he looks physically after two-and-a-half years out injured, his shooting touch should still remain. That will give Curry more space to operate due to Thompson’s presence on the court alone.
Team success undoubtedly plays a huge role in where the MVP award heads to and the Warriors have an extremely deep squad this year with plenty of talent. Steph and Draymond Green are the two pillars of the team, while they have got excellent production from Most Improved Player contender Jordan Poole.
The rest of their roster includes Andrew Wiggins, Damion Lee, Kevon Looney, Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Nemanja Bjelica, Gary Payton II, Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga. The Warriors are also still yet to see last year’s second overall pick James Wiseman touch the floor this season, giving them one of the deepest squads in the league.
That also gives them the young assets to potentially make a blockbuster trade for an all-star level player, something which they have held off of doing as of yet despite previously being linked to players such as Ben Simmons and Bradley Beal. They are clearly the outstanding team not just in California, but in the entire Western Conference.
The eye test says Brooklyn Nets forward Durant is Curry’s closest contender at this moment in time despite him being fourth in the Basketball Reference MVP tracker. Many consider KD to be the best player in the world and he is currently averaging 29.5 points per game this season on the 7-4 Nets. He is available at +550 with FanDuel.
Last year’s winner Jokic had to be one of the most understated of all-time given the lack of media attention that it garnered, though he is said to have a 28.8% chance of retaining his trophy. The 26-year-old is putting up big numbers once again on a Denver Nuggets team that is still without injured point guard Jamal Murray and is yet to get consistent production from Michael Porter Jr.
Dallas Mavericks guard Doncic was the heavy favourite at the start of the season but currently isn’t in heavy contention after seeing his numbers take an early hit. The Slovenian has seen his points, assists, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage take a hit during the first 10 games. The Mavericks as a whole haven’t looked too convincing either despite starting with a 7-3 record, currently sitting 21st in the NBA in average scoring margin at -2.3.
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