Sportsbooks & NBA Insiders See Runaway Leader In MVP Race

Is the MVP race over already? 

ESPN conducted a straw poll of 100 NBA media members to simulate the MVP voting that will take place at the end of the season. One player came out as the overwhelming favorite. It appears that Nikola Jokic is a lock for his 3rd straight MVP.

Jokic got 77 of the 100 votes, a full seven times the total of the second-place finisher Giannis Antetokounmpo. After Giannis' 11 votes, Joel Embiid was 3rd with six votes, Jayson Tatum was 4th with five, and Luka Doncic got one vote. 

"Jokic is almost certainly going to win MVP as long as he stays healthy," said Insider Tim Bontemps. "Given Denver is winning the West, and given he's averaging a triple-double for the season, I think it's going to take something pretty significant for this to change from now to the end of the year."

The Joker is averaging 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 10.1 assists. He's also shooting a career-high 63.2% from the field, and 39.1% from three-point range. 

Only Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird have won back-to-back-to-back MVPs. That's some pretty select company. 

But don't just take the NBA Insiders' word for it. The various sportsbooks around the country also have Jokic as a solid favorite. 

According to Oddschecker, Jokic has -163 odds (63.6% implied chance of winning). Embiid is 2nd at +390, or a 20.4% implied chance. 

Photo: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports