Philadelphia 76ers superstar and reigning MVP Joel Embiid is not so quietly in the midst of enjoying the best season of his career. Throughout the year, the conversation around the two-time NBA leading scorer has consistently centered around the improvements he’s made off his winning the 2022-23 MVP award.
Averaging 36.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.9 assists on the season, Joel Embiid has been far and away the most dominant player in the league this season, and that’s been reflected in the betting odds for the 2023-24 MVP award.
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Joel Embiid has been the betting favorite for the award for some time, and after setting a franchise record for points scored in a game on Jan. 22, that has not changed. Currently, Embiid remains atop the odds ladder at +130 to win the award.
After Embiid, two-time MVP and reigning NBA champion Nikola Jokic sits with +250 odds, followed by Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at +400. Despite Embiid’s dominance, he can’t quite be considered a heavy favorite, despite his personal success and that of the team. But why is that?
What can stop Embiid?
Simply put, it comes down to the recent change the NBA made regarding eligibility for NBA awards and All-NBA honors. Players are required to play a minimum of 65 games over an 82-game season to qualify for such awards.
Currently, Joel Embiid is on pace for a 62.5-game pace. He had missed some time earlier in the season due to a sprained knee, so the hope is that barring another injury, Embiid will reach that 65-game mark and qualify for the many honors that he deserves.
Embiid must play in 33 more games to secure that magic number. If he does, it’s hard to envision a reality in which he does not win his second consecutive MVP award.