As NBA teams near the 30-game mark of the 2019-20 season, it appears one player has emerged as the odds-on favorite to win this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player – Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Milwaukee star, who won the award a year ago, is on his way to improving his numbers from last season. The Greek Freak is second in the league in scoring, averaging 31.8 points per game. He also averages 12.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists for the Bucks, who now own the NBA’s best record (26-4) thanks to their recent victory over the New York Knicks.
According to online sportsbook Intertops, Antetokounmpo is given +120 odds to win the 2019-20 NBA MVP. There are a few other candidates that should be on bettors’ radar. Here’s a look.
Harden is the best scorer in the NBA since a guy named Michael Jordan. The Houston guard leads the NBA in scoring, averaging 38.5 points a game and he’s doing so with Russell Westbrook in his backcourt. Harden won the league MVP after the 2017-18 season and checks in at +450 to nab his second such award.
An ankle injury suffered recently might damper the second-year Dallas superstar’s chance at the MVP. Doncic is third in the league in scoring (29.3 ppg) and averages nearly a triple-double – 9.6 rebounds, 8.9 assists – per game. Given the talent around him, Doncic’s ability to lead the Mavericks to the postseason in a packed Western Conference could lead to an MVP. The second half of his season will determine if bettors can cash in on his +450 odds.
LeBron or A.D.
LeBron James has won four NBA MVPs and is given +600 odds to win it this season. Despite being 34 (James turns 35 on Dec. 30), James is averaging 25.8 points, 10.6 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game. He and Anthony Davis (27.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.6 bpg) are the reasons why the Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference. Davis’s odds to win the MVP are currently +900.
This year’s MVP looks like Antetokounmpo’s to lose. Harden and Doncic are the most likely to surpass the Bucks star with James and Davis definite maybes. The one longshot that could rise into the discussion would be last year’s NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard’s L.A. Clippers are one of the favorites to win the NBA title this year. Leonard’s stats are not eye-popping – 25.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.9 apg – but his ability to lead the Clippers to the franchise’s first-ever NBA title might make him a fair longshot bet at +2200.