Nikola Jokic making case for Michael Jordan Trophy

In the NBA’s remaining sport on Christmas Day, the league’s two-time reigning MVP offered additional proof that, as soon as once more, he simply could also be the perfect participant in basketball. And the sports activities betting market is lastly listening to his case.

Nikola Jokic’s superstardom was on full show in Sunday’s nightcap when he led the Nuggets in factors (41), rebounds (15), and assists (15) in a 128-125 additional time win over the Suns to punctuate a showcase night time for the NBA. It capped off a ridiculous week for Jokic during which he averaged 30.8 factors, 15.8 rebounds, and 12.3 assists with three triple-doubles in 4 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
Getty Images

NBA MVP odds and the case for Nikola Jokic

All of that has lastly caught the eye of oddsmakers, who now have the two-time MVP winner priced at 5/1 at BetMGM to win it once more — tied for third with preseason favourite Luka Doncic and behind solely co-favorites Jayson Tatum (+275) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (+275).

It’s a marked enchancment for Denver’s middle, who’s attempting to grow to be the ninth participant in NBA historical past to win three MVP awards and solely the fourth to win three straight — one thing that hasn’t been executed since Larry Bird pulled it off from 1984-86.

Could Jokic actually be the subsequent to affix that unique listing?

His box-score stats alone make a robust case. Entering the week, Jokic ranked sixteenth in factors (25.4), sixth in rebounds (11.0) and third in assists (9.4) whereas additionally rating twelfth in steals (1.5) and eighth in field-goal proportion (61.6 p.c). Let’s put a few of these numbers into context: his assists per sport could be probably the most by a middle in NBA historical past, and his taking pictures proportion ranks among the many better of anybody with at the very least 10 makes an attempt per sport.

His superior stats are awfully compelling, too, as they had been in each of his MVP campaigns. Jokic leads the league in win shares (6.1), win shares per 48 minutes (.303) and field plus-minus (12.4) whereas pacing the league in PER (32.3). He’s additionally tied for the highest spot within the NBA’s participant impression estimate (20.9) and ranks third in particular person internet score (+11.8) behind two rotation guards.

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after a made basket in overtime against the Phoenix Suns
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after a made basket in additional time in opposition to the Phoenix Suns
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Betting on the NBA?

And how about crew success? For as soon as, he’s acquired that, too. The Nuggets’ win on Sunday — when Jokic posted the highest-scoring triple-double on Christmas Day in league historical past — helped them keep the highest spot within the West with a 21-11 report. For context, Denver owned a .500 report right now final year and was barely over .500 at this level two years in the past.

This early run is an enormous deal for Jokic, as each earlier participant to win three straight MVPs loved sturdy crew success behind it. That’s clearly been lacking for Jokic in recent times: the Nuggets secured the No. 3 seed in his first award-winning season, however they received simply 48 video games final year, when he grew to become solely the third MVP winner to ever hail from a sub-50 win crew.

Now he’s acquired all of it, and the betting market can’t ignore him for much longer. Just two weeks in the past, Jokic was dealing at 20/1 to win his third straight MVP award, and he was dealing at 10/1 lower than every week in the past — earlier than his current triple-double insanity carried Denver to its seventh win in eight video games.

The dreaded “voter fatigue” nonetheless lingers over his three-peat bid and is a key motive why he was priced as a preseason lengthy shot within the first place. Yet it was an identical story final year, when such fatigue suppressed his worth for months till his statistical brilliance rendered {that a} moot level.

This season feels prefer it’s following a well-known beat, with naysayers saying he can’t win once more as Jokic rewrites what must be potential in right now’s NBA. At this rate, it’s practically inconceivable to wager in opposition to his subsequent transfer, which simply could embody one other trophy on his mantle.

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