Joel Embiid leads MVP race in latest straw poll

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, goes up for a shot against Dallas Mavericks’ Maxi Kleber during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Throughout the year ESPN’s Tim Bontemps does a straw poll to determine who the media is leaning toward as the Most Valuable Player at that time. In the final straw poll of the year, Joel Embiid is edging out the reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic by just two points. ESPN’s straw poll usually indicates how media voters would vote for the actual award. With that being said, this looks like this is going to come down to the final few games of the season with either Jokic or Embiid still having an opportunity to win the MVP.

Joel Embiid has a narrow lead in latest MVP Straw Poll

In the poll voting, Joel Embiid totaled 790 points, while Nikola Jokic totaled 788 votes. Embiid was able to edge past Jokic due to the number of second-place votes he received over Jokic. Jokic actually tallied more first-place votes but in the end, Embiid took the lead. Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 18 first places votes and still sway voters for votes during these last two weeks. The Bucks have the best record in the league and will more than likely lock up the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference.

The two centers have been battling for MVP the last two seasons but this year’s race seems more contentious than ever. Fans of both players have gone at it all year to help sway others to their narratives. Both players are tremendous generational talents but Joel Embiid has separated himself by his play on the defensive end. There are still games left to be played and this will end up being the closest MVP vote in history.

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NBA MVP Odds: Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are tied at the top

As shown by Zach Ciavolella’s tweet, the MVP race is heating up. Joel Embiid was -110 last week and now finds himself +115 with Nikola Jokic. The two are neck and neck going into the closing weeks of the season.

If you are looking to bet on Embiid, this is good news. If the odds have finally turned in his favor, there is probably going to be a flood of people wanting to bet behind him. The quicker you can back Embiid to win, the more value you’ll have.

If the time of Embiid is coming, then there may be no better time to back him. His odds will only shorten as the chip on his shoulder grows and his dominance hits new heights.

The Sixers are well-placed to make a playoff run, but can Embiid really guide them to being the top-seeded team in the East?

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NBA MVP Odds: Best betting offers on Joel Embiid winning the MVP award

AP Photo/Matt Slocum