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Joel Embiid leaps to clear MVP betting favorite after 52 points against the Celtics

After the big fella dominated Boston, the oddsmakers took notice.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Well, after a brief stint sitting neck-and-neck with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is back as the clear betting favorite for the 2022-23 NBA MVP Award, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Embiid is now a minus-450, compared to Jokic at plus-600. He already held a lead prior to Tuesday’s explosion, but it was much smaller.

Embiid sported the best odds before missing last week’s matchup against Jokic and the Nuggets, as he recovered from calf soreness, at which point the odds were evened back out. Last week, DraftKings had Embiid and Jokic neck-and-neck at plus-105 and plus-110, respectively.

That gap widened again while Jokic missed a few games of his own because of calf issues over the past week. It was blown wide open once Embiid dropped 52 points (of the Sixers’ total 103 points) in Tuesday’s victory over the Boston Celtics. Embiid shot a stellar 20-for-25 from the floor and 12-for-13 from the charity stripe, pulled in 13 rebounds, had six assists and put up two blocks.

Fans that were looking for a headlining performance to close out the regular season for the big man, rejoice. If Embiid is set to topple Jokic for the MVP crown, Tuesday’s game may have a lot to do with that. This race has taken its fair share of twists and turns already, however, and the season still has a little bit left in it to stir up even more debate — if that’s possible.

In the meantime, Embiid and the Sixers are back in action Thursday night when they host the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center.

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