One Future Colorado Sportsbook Is Taking Bets On Nikola Jokic Placing Second In NBA MVP Vote

Written By Derek Helling on 02/21/2020 - Last Updated on September 15, 2021

Getting a leg up on the competition for sportsbooks is about differentiation and innovation. A new twist on Nikola Jokic MVP futures is a good example of these principles.

PointsBet, which is coming to the Centennial State through a partnership with Double Eagle Resorts, has just opened up a new market on this award. It will be decided not by who wins the award but by who ends up as the runner-up.

Where Jokic MVP futures currently sit at PointsBet

When this new market first launched last week, PointsBet included the Denver Nuggets center among its field of nine candidates. LeBron James was the favorite at +150.

Jokic had the second-longest odds at +4000. PointsBet considered only Jimmy Butler a longer shot on this market at +5000.

PointsBet, which currently operates online in Iowa and New Jersey, currently lists Jokic as an even longer shot to win the award. The sportsbook lists him at +8000 in that market right now.

PointsBet’s jurisdictional availability will soon double. The brand plans to launch not only in Colorado but Indiana, as well.

By the time it launches in Colorado, this market may become more clear. Whether Jokic stays in contention until then depends on not only his play but the fate of the Nuggets as a whole.

How Jokic measures up against the favorites right now

Through games played on Thursday, Feb. 20, there are 28 players with higher scoring averages than Jokic. His 20.6 points per game doesn’t tell the full story of his season, however.

Jokic is averaging a double-double as he grabs 10.2 rebounds per game on average. Only 13 players average more boards than Jokic right now.

Of those 13 players, only Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns also average more points than Jokic. Only Antetokounmpo is currently listed in the runner-up field on PointsBet, however.

While Jokic’s numbers are impressive, Jokic’s contributions to a winning season could be working more in his favor. In the NBA’s Western Conference, only the Los Angeles Lakers have a higher winning percentage than Denver right now.

If the Nuggets could catch and surpass the Lakers in the standings, that would bode well for Jokic. It’s hard to imagine them doing so without him playing a huge role.

Jokic currently accounts for about 18% of the Nuggets’ scoring and nearly a fourth of the team’s rebounds. He’s definitely Denver’s most valuable player so far this season.

The question is whether people who have a vote for the NBA MVP will think he’s the second-most valuable player in the whole league, however. PointsBet thinks he has a shot but a long one.

Regardless of how this market pans out, PointsBet has an inside track on getting to market in Colorado. Unique products like this will help it compete in the state.

Why being different and first are important for sportsbooks

Double Eagle Resorts securing one of the first licenses to offer legal sports betting in the state means PointsBet can immediately get to work setting up its retail and online products in Colorado. Although a moratorium on legal wagering expires on May 1, there’s no guarantee that PointsBet or any other operator will actually start accepting wagers that day.

While other sportsbook brands like DraftKings and FanDuel have made market access deals, their casino partners in the state have yet to receive licensure. That means PointsBet has a bit of a head start.

Whether that leads to an actual bigger market share remains to be seen, however. Offering more unique markets like this may be a more significant factor in that competition.

Bettors are constantly looking for ways to maximize their wagers and get in on the action on their favorite athletes and teams. For Nuggets fans, this new wrinkle to NBA MVP futures checks both of those boxes.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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