- Joel Embiid is the NBA’s 2022 scoring champion after averaging 30.6 points per game during the regular season.
- Embiid is the fist center since Shaq in 2000 to win the title and is the first international player to do so.
- The Sixers center opened the season as a +700 to win the 2022 NBA scoring title.
Joel Embiid entered Sunday looking to win the 2022 NBA Scoring title.
After scoring 41 points against the Indiana Pacers last Saturday, Embiid upped his average to 30.6 points per game. That meant that Giannis Antetokounmpo needed to score 47 points in his season finale if Embiid scored zero points in the Sixers’ final regular-season game or 78 points if Embiid didn’t play. But when the Bucks ruled out Giannis for their Sunday game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Embiid officially clinched the title.
Embiid Opened at +700 to Win Scoring Title
? Odds to be 2021-22 NBA Scoring Champion ?
+275: Bradley Beal
+450: Luka Doncic
+500: Steph Curry
+700: Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid
+1000: Zion Williamson, Giannis Antetokounmpo
+1200: Jayson Tatum
+2500: Trae Young, Zach LaVine, Kevin Durant
Who’s your pick? pic.twitter.com/PBC6sFo6uT
— NBABet (@nbabet) September 16, 2021
Embiid was a +700 to lead the NBA in scoring before the start of the season. Back then, the best NBA betting sites had Bradley Beal as the +275 odds on favorite to win the award, with Luka Doncic and Steph Curry behind him at +450 and +500, respectively. Embiid and Damian Lillard were next at +700.
Even when Embiid was already having his MVP run, he wasn’t the betting favorite to win the scoring title. At the start of April, it was Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James who was the -120 betting favorite to finish as the NBA’s scoring champion. Embiid was second at +250 while Giannis Antetokounmpo was third at +300. When James sat out games due to injury, it was only then that Embiid became the favorite. But that was only because the scoring title was down to him, Giannis, and LeBron.
The Sixers big man entered the weekend as the -250 betting favorite, with Antetokounmpo chasing him at -300 and LeBron fading at +500. James was Embiid’s stiffest competition but with the Lakers’ star unable to meet the 58-game threshold needed to qualify for season-ending awards, it was down to Embiid and Antetokounmpo heading to the final day of the regular season.
History for Joel Embiid
History for Joel Embiid ?
He’s the first center to win the NBA scoring title since Shaq in 1999-2000! pic.twitter.com/iDKsjXr9WW
— ESPN (@espn) April 10, 2022
Embiid not only won his first scoring title on Sunday, but he also became the first center to accomplish the feat since Shaquille O’Neal during the 1999-2000 season. Embiid is also the first foreign-born player to be named the NBA’s scoring champion and only the third player from the Philadelphia 76ers to do so, after Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson.
The Sixers big man also set an NBA record for the fewest minutes played by an NBA scoring champion since the shot clock was introduced during the 1954-55 season. Embiid’s 33.8 minutes per game average surpasses Stephen Curry’s 34.2 minutes per game set during the 2015-16 season. He is also the first center to average more than 30 points per game since Moses Malone in 1981-82 when Malone was named MVP. The MVP race, however, is another story for Embiid.
Despite Embiid having a spectacular season, he isn’t the only player having one. Nikola Jokic is also writing history in Denver and the reigning MVP has pulled away from Embiid and Antetokounmpo in the MVP odds boards at the best NBA betting sites. Currently, Jokic is in the -400 to -275 range to win the award while the second-ranked Embiid has dropped back to +260 to +300 depending on which of the top sportsbooks you are looking at. That award however, will be decided by votes, not odds so Embiid is hoping that winning the scoring title will help his cause.