Sport NBA betting: After Nikola Jokic's great game vs. Memphis, his short odds to win MVP might not be low enough
Nikola Jokic is officially the most prolific passing center in NBA history
Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic passed Wilt Chamberlain for the most double-digit assist games by a center, proving his incredible value. Wilt Chamberlain's NBA stats were insane. So Nikola Jokic should take extra pride in passing him. On Sunday night, Jokic notched his 81st career game with 10 or more assists, taking over Chamberlain's record for the most double-digit assist games by a center. Just call him a point center. Nikola Jokic has his 81st career 10-assist game, passing Wilt Chamberlain for the most by a center in NBA history. Point Center ???? pic.twitter.
When the Denver Nuggets lost Jamal Murray to a torn ACL, it put a significant dent in their ability to make a long playoff run.
On the bright side, it allowed Nikola Jokic a chance to all but lock up an MVP award.
The Nuggets have played three games since losing Murray. In the first, Jokic had a triple-double in a win. In the second, he put up 29-16-7 in a win. Then on Monday night, Jokic had a phenomenal 47-point, 15-rebound, 8-assist game and lifted the Nuggets to a double-overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Monday night's game is the type of performance that stamps an MVP case.
Jokic's MVP oddskeep getting shorter, and for good reason.
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Nikola Jokic is big MVP favorite
Jokic's odds to win MVP are all the way down to -300 at BetMGM, and it's hard to see anyone catching him.
Steph Curry has had a monster April and got some MVP chants in Philadelphia on Monday night. Curry has a case, but Jokic's season-long dominance probably edges him.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has missed some games and the Milwaukee Bucks have been underwhelming. Joel Embiid has had a great year too but it will be hard for him to pass Jokic, especially after missing 18 games. LeBron James was on track to win before a high-ankle sprain. James Harden's recent injury absence probably ends his case.
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The oddsindicate it's down to Jokic or Embiid, and Jokic is miles ahead.
Curry might be worth a shot, as he gets more attention for his torrid 3-point shooting streak. But it might be a waste, because Jokic is in clear control.
Jokic nearly averaging a triple-double
Jokic is close to averaging a triple-double this season, which is remarkable for a center. He is averaging 26.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game. He's a great free-throw shooter (85.4 percent), a threat from 3 (a solid 41.9 percent 3-point shooter) and the offense can run through Jokic because he's a great passer.
Jokic wasn't among the top few preseason favorites to win MVP. He was between 20-to-1 and 30-to-1 at various sportsbooks before the season started. The Nuggets have never had an NBA MVP winner. Spencer Haywood won an ABA MVP with the Denver Rockets back in 1970, and that's it. The Nuggets' history didn't indicate Jokic would overtake James, Antetokounmpo, Curry, Luka Doncic and everyone else to win an MVP. The Nuggets aren't a marquee franchise, so it's not like Jokic was going to be on TNT or ESPN every night. Also, very few big men like Jokic have won the award recently. Not that there are many bigs who play like Jokic.
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Each week during the 2020-21 NBA season, we will take a deeper dive into three of the league’s biggest storylines in an attempt to determine whether the trends are based more in fact or fiction moving forward. With the exception of the 1989 and 2004 Detroit Pistons, every NBA champion for the past 30 years has featured a superstar with an MVP and/or Finals MVP already to his name. In that same span, only the injury-ravaged 1995 Houston Rockets won fewer than 63% of their games en route to a title (52+ wins in an 82-game regular season). On that criteria, the Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are the only viable contenders.
But after Monday night's phenomenal performance against the Grizzlies, it will be hard to deny Jokic for the NBA's top award. He has earned it.
More from Yahoo Sports:
Why Nikola Jokic is the MVP .
What I’d rather talk to you about, though, is how little he does, how quickly he gives the ball up after touching out, how he leads the NBA in passes made without coming close in assist opportunities, that he keeps the ball in his hands for less than half the time as the other players in the top-five in assists, while turning it over less. As a result, despite — no, because — of the fact that Jokic relinquishes the ball so readily, the Nuggets are built in his image. I could tell you about how Jokic has kicked his game into overdrive ever since his favorite dribble hand-off partner, Jamal Murray, tore his ACL, but the truth is, the statistics don’t bear that out.