Joel Embiid's 52-point performance ended the NBA MVP race

April 5, 2023 11:39 AM

Performance in win vs. Celtics seals the deal for the two-time MVP runner-up

There has been a lot of movement in the NBA MVP betting odds market throughout the course of the season. A three-horse race between Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid seems to have a clear winner with five days left in the regular season.

DraftKings Sportsbook has Embiid all the way out to a -750 favorite, after he was just -165 back on March 31. It turns out that scoring 52 of your team’s 103 points in a win over the Celtics is going to be that signature MVP moment that every award winner needs in his highlight reel.

In what appeared to be a second-round Eastern Conference Playoff preview, Embiid was 20-of-25 from the floor and 12-of-13 at the line, along with an emphatic dunk to get to 50 on the night and give the Sixers a six-point lead with 1:22 left to play.

On A Numbers Game, Gill Alexander, Kelley Bydlon and Drew Dinsick gave their thoughts on Embiid’s performance and the last days of the NBA MVP chase:

Embiid finished runner-up to Jokic each of the last two years, finishing with 26 first-place votes to 65 for Jokic last season. The 2021 race was nearly a landslide, as Jokic had 91 of the 100 first-place votes.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps did his NBA MVP straw poll back on March 30 and Embiid had taken a very slim lead at that point, but the lead appears to be insurmountable now. He leads the league with 33.3 points per game, while Giannis is fifth with 31.1 and Jokic has fallen all the way to 17th with 24.8 PPG. 

Jokic is still the league’s second-leading rebounder with 11.9 boards per game and Giannis is third with 11.8, but Embiid is seventh with 10.2 and also ranks sixth in blocks per game with 1.7.

Barring something really strange by Sunday, the NBA MVP race appears to be over.

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