Nikola Jokic defends the Michael Jordan Trophy

In it nba Last game on Christmas Day, the reigning two-time league MVP delivered further proof that he can once again be the greatest player in basketball. And the sports bets the market is finally hearing your case.

Nikola Jokic’s superstardom was on full display in Sunday’s Cup when he led the Nuggets in points (41), rebounds (15) and assists (15) in a 128-125 overtime win over the Suns to score a game. exhibition night for the NBA. It ended a ridiculous week for Jokic in which he averaged 30.8 points, 15.8 rebounds and 12.3 assists with three triple-doubles in four Denver wins.

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Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets accepts the 2021 NBA MVP award
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets accepts the 2021 NBA MVP award
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NBA MVP odds and the case of Nikola Jokic

All this has finally caught the attention of gamblerswhich now has the two-time MVP winner priced at 5/1 on BetMGM to win it again, tied for third with pre-season favorite Luka Doncic and trailing only co-favorites Jayson Tatum (+275) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (+275).

It’s a remarkable improvement for the Denver center, who is trying to become the ninth player in NBA history to win three MVP awards and just the fourth to win three in a row, something that hasn’t been done since Larry Bird did. achieved between 1984 and 1986. .

Could Jokic really be next to join that exclusive roster?

His box score stats alone make a strong case. As the week began, Jokic ranked 16th in points (25.4), sixth in rebounds (11.0) and third in assists (9.4), while also ranking 12th in steals (1.5). and eighth in field goal percentage (61.6 percent). Let’s put some of those numbers in context: His assists per game would be the most by a center in NBA history, and his shooting percentage ranks among the best of anyone with at least 10 attempts per game.

His advanced stats are also terribly convincing, as they were in both of his MVP campaigns. Jokic leads the league in win share (6.1), win share per 48 minutes (.303) and cash plus-minus (12.4) while pacing the league in PER (32.3). He’s also tied for first in NBA player impact estimate (20.9) and ranks third in individual net rating (+11.8) behind two rotation guards.

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after a basket made in overtime against the Phoenix Suns
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after a basket made in overtime against the Phoenix Suns
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Bet on the NBA?

And the success of the team? For once, he has that too. The Nuggets’ win on Sunday, when Jokic posted the highest-scoring Christmas Day triple-double in league history, helped them hold onto the top spot in the West with a 21-11 record. For context, Denver was running a record .500 at this time last year and was barely over .500 at this time two years ago.

This early run is a big deal for Jokic, as every previous player to win three straight MVPs enjoyed great success from the team behind her. That has clearly been lacking for Jokic in recent years: The Nuggets clinched the No. 3 seed in his first award-winning season, but won just 48 games last year, when he became the third MVP winner to come from a sub-Team 50 wins.

Now he has it all, and the betting market can’t ignore him for much longer. Just two weeks ago, Jokic was trading at 20/1 to win his third straight MVP award, and he was trading at 10/1 less than a week ago, before his recent crazy triple-double led Denver to its seventh win in eight games. .

The dreaded “voter fatigue” still lingers in his three-peat bid and is a key reason he was priced as a preseason longshot in the first place. It was a similar story last year, however, when such fatigue suppressed his price for months until his statistical brilliance made it a moot point.

This season feels like he’s following a familiar rhythm, with detractors saying he can’t win again as Jokic rewrites what should be possible in today’s NBA. At this rate, it’s nearly impossible to bet against his next move, which may include another trophy on his mantle.

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