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NBA MVP 2021: Nikola Jokic odds shift to win Most Valuable Player

With injuries to several superstars, Jokic has become the MVP favorite

Nikola Jokic continues to push ahead in the 2020-2021 NBA MVP race. 

After news broke Tuesday afternoon that James Harden will be sidelined at least 10 days with a strained hamstring, Jokic’s odds shifted at DraftKings Sportsbook to -159.

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Jokic is the front runner for the award, averaging over 26 points, nearly 11 rebounds and over eight assists. 

He is in the 91st percentile in efficiency differential, per Cleaning the Glass, and the Nuggets have won six straight. As of Wednesday, Denver is in the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference and only a game out of the three seed. 

While Jokic has been superb this season, he has also been able to stay healthier than his competitors for the award.

LeBron James was the early front runner for MVP, but he has been sidelined with a high right ankle sprain with no timetable for return. After that, Joel Embiid missed 10 consecutive games with a knee injury, and the 76ers are sure to be cautious with him given his injury history.

James Harden was making a push for the hardware with Kevin Durant missing 26 of the last 27 games due to a hamstring strain, but will now miss an extended period of time with a hamstring injury of his own.

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‘The Joker’ has been great this season, and is a deserving candidate for the award, but with such a short offseason leading up to the 2020-2021 season, many teams are being protective over their superstars. 

Meanwhile, Jokic has not missed a game this season. In a year with so many injuries and rest days for players, the Nuggets big man has not only played great, but has been available. 

The odds shift highlights that there may not be another deserving candidate due to the lack of playing time, and Jokic is in position to run away with this award.

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