NBA Perfect Ten (Week of January 1st)

The NBA has now entered 2023 and the league races are heating up and the MVP candidates are taking center stage. Hop aboard as we look at the latest Perfect Ten and Top-five MVP candidates.

Perfect Ten (Week of January 1st)

#10. LA Clippers (+425/+850) - The Clippers are a tough team to figure out. On paper, hard to do much better than George and Leonard. Unfortunately, Leonard’s knee is still holding him back on a consistent basis. Strengths: 3pt shooting, strength at the wing spot. Weaknesses: Getting Leonard up to speed by the playoffs. Last Week’s Rank: 10

#9. Dallas Mavericks (+1200/+3000) - This team, as presently constituted, really has no business in the top ten. But, they are riding the wave of the best player on the planet: Luka Doncic. Strengths: Luka, Luka and more Luka Weaknesses: A traditional #2 star to support Doncic. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#8. Philadelphia 76ers (+900/+1800) - Philly’s continued quality play has almost gone unnoticed thanks to the red-hot Nets. If they can stay healthy, the playoffs could be very interesting. Strengths: Floor spacing, Embiid’s dominance and 3pt defense. Weaknesses: The fragility of Embiid. Last Week’s Rank: 8

#7. New Orleans Pelicans (+850/+1800) - The Pels are getting healthier and Williamson has shown lately he can take over games. They did drop their last two and fell behind the Grizzlies. Strengths: Williamson’s return to dominance and rebounding. Weaknesses: Interior defense and veteran depth. Last Week’s Rank: 6

#6. Cleveland Cavaliers (+950/+2000) - The Cavs stayed hot and are 7-3 in their last ten games. Oh and they certainly have their closer in Donovan Mitchell. See 71 point game as evidence. Strengths: Top five finisher in Mitchell. Garland’s continued growth at point guard. Weaknesses: Lack of depth at the four and five. Last Week’s Rank: 4

#5. Milwaukee Bucks (+350/+650) - Milwaukee has hit a rough patch, losing six of ten. Middleton remains out with knee soreness, which makes them far less dangerous in the playoffs. Strengths: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s offensive and defensive versatility and spot-up shooters. Weaknesses: Reliance on 3pt shot and the fragility of #2 star Middleton. Last Week’s Rank: 3

#4. Memphis Grizzlies (+550/+1200) - This team is scary good at home but has been less than dominant on the road. If they find their stride away from home, watch out. Strengths: Shooting and last year’s playoff experience. Weaknesses: Ability to defend quality wing players. Last Week’s Rank: 7

#3. Denver Nuggets (+500/+1200) - The Nuggets beat the Celtics to split the season series. They drop a spot only because of the red-hot Nets. Still a healthy bet at their current odds. Strengths: Jokic and a versatile front line. Weaknesses: Closing out close games on the defensive end. Last Week’s Rank: 2

#2. Brooklyn Nets (+300, +600) - The Nets have won 12 straight and 16 of 17. They are also 23-7 under Vaughn and look like a team that could be dangerous in the playoffs. Strengths: Return to health of role players. Durant and Irving’s ability to close games. Weaknesses: Rebounding and lack of size. Last Week’s Rank: 5

#1. Boston Celtics (+190/+360) - Celtics are 5-5 in their last ten games but look like a team warming up with Williams back to protect the basket. They will need to get going soon, however, as the Nets are creeping down their neck. Strengths: Best scoring tandem in the NBA and return of a rim presence. Weaknesses: Stagnant on offense, too reliant on 3-point shot. Last Week’s Rank: 1

Top-Five MVP Candidates thus far:

  1. Luka Doncic (+260) - We suggested early on that any odds to shift over +400 for Doncic are worth looking at. Well after scoring 60 points and 51 points, he’s back down to +260. Every time we think he can’t do more, he’s done more. Last Week’s Rank: 5

  1. Nikola Jokic (+400) - His odds stayed put but his team keeps rising. If they win the Western Conference, the Joker might get a third straight MVP nod. Last Week’s Rank: 4

  1. Jayson Tatum (+350) - Tatum’s odds remain low but I think he’ll need a 60-win season from the C’s to earn the award. Luka will have more dominant numbers and the likes of Antetokoumpo, Jokic and Embiid have all been MVP favorites and/or winners before. Last Week’s Rank: 2

  1. Giannis Antetokoumpo (+450) - Antetokoumpo's odds are at their highest right now. He drops only because the Bucks have struggled as of late. He remains a solid gamble at this number Last Week’s Rank: 1

  1. Joel Embiid (+1100) - Embiid has the most tantalizing odds at the moment. He’s a ten-game Philly win streak from rapidly climbing the MVP board. Last week’s Rank: 3

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.