Did PointsBet Really Declare Jokic NBA MVP Over Embiid?

Written By Bill Gelman on April 22, 2022 - Last Updated on December 12, 2023
PointsBet MVP Early Payout

Is Joel Embiid the 2021-22 NBA regular season MVP?

The only thing we know for sure at this point is the Philadelphia 76ers center is one of three finalists. Nikola Jokic, the reigning NBA MVP, of the Denver Nuggets and Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks are the others.

Like you, we are waiting until June when the winner will be announced. So NJ sports bettors, if you made an NBA MVP futures wager on one of these three players, hold on to those bet slips.

That is unless you placed the wager with PointsBet NJ. The sportsbook sent out a press release Thursday afternoon announcing an early payout. However, only the Jokic bettors receive the early payout.

Those who have Embiid tickets are getting a free bet (more on this below).

Instead of starting a heated debate over why Embiid bettors might be getting a bad deal, we’ll let PointsBet explain their thinking.

Why didn’t PointsBet declare Joel Embiid NBA MVP?

The bottom line is that PointsBet NJ bettors (as well as those in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado and West Virginia) who placed a wager on Jokic to be named MVP are getting early payouts.

But why in the world is PointsBet awarding payouts so early?

According to the press release, “it’s a gesture for having invested up to nine months ago when MVP betting opened in July 2021.”

And the odds of Jokic and Embiid winning have moved significantly throughout the regular season.

Jokic closed as a -350 favorite, although it rose as long as +2000 during the season. Embiid finished at +300 to win the award despite being the favorite at -150 less than two months ago.

Here is a more detailed explanation from Kyle Christensen, Chief Marketing Officer at PointsBet USA:

“We are confident that Jokic will once again be named MVP, and rather than waiting for the official announcement from the league, we have decided to provide an early payout for PointsBet users that have placed their money on ‘The Joker.’ At PointsBet, ‘Live Your Bet Life’ is a mantra we strive to showcase to our users, and this is how we bring that idea to fruition.”

Embiid bettors getting a freebie

Would anybody be surprised if PointsBet receives a ton of emails questioning their decision?

Embiid is the one who led the NBA in scoring with 30.6 points per game. The Embiid for MVP argument also includes his 11.7 rebounds per game, leading the 76ers to a 51-31 regular-season record.

Where was Ben Simmons through all this?

Sitting at home until he got traded to the Brooklyn Nets for James Harden (along with other players and draft picks).

Embiid has been there the whole season and didn’t go MIA when the times got tough.

At the same time, Jokic definitely belongs in the MVP conversation.

He only averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. Solid numbers across the board. He is a big reason why the Nuggets, who didn’t have star guard  Jamal Murray this season, made the playoffs with a 48-34 record.

And honestly, when it comes to awards, the voting is subjective.

While the Jokic ticket holders are getting the early payouts, PointBet is not stranding all of those Embiid bettors.

Instead, PointsBet is refunding all Embiid to win MVP tickets with a free bet up to $25.

Of course, Christensen and the PointsBet team are well aware that “there will be disappointed PointsBet users with Embiid the favorite for a good portion of the season.”

“We loved watching the competition this year, and we are already looking forward to the 2022-23 season so much so that we have already posted future MVP Odds,” Christensen said.

What are the odds of Joel Embiid winning 2022-23 NBA MVP?

Yes, it sounds strange to be talking about the 2022-23 NBA MVP Award when the one from the current season hasn’t even been announced yet.

More importantly, the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets are focussed on this year’s NBA Playoffs.

Hey, since you might be one of those PointsBet online sports bettors with a free $25 bet in your pocket, let’s look at the odds:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo +400
  • Luka Doncic +550
  • Joel Embiid +650
  • Jayson Tatum +700
  • Nikola Jokic +700
  • Kevin Durant +700

Noticing a common theme?

Looks like this Jokie vs. Embiid for NBA MVP will remain an ongoing debate.

As a side note, putting $25 on Embiid to win MVP with +650 odds would pay $187.50.

For now, we sit back and wait to see whether or not PointsBet made the right call.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman has been reporting on the NJ gambling market since 2018, right around when the Garden State launched sports betting. Bill transitioned from lead writer for PlayNJ and NJ Gambling Sites to his current role as managing editor in 2020. Besides offering in-depth analysis on NJ gambling market trends and news, Bill regularly sits down with Atlantic City casino industry executives to offer readers exclusive interviews and comprehensive coverage. Bill received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College. He has contributed to other Catena Media sites including The Lines, Legal Sports Report, PlayPennsylvania and PlayCanada.

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