With the start of the 2019-20 NBA Season just a couple of months away, the race for the regular season MVP award appears to be wide open after several dramatic free agency moves in early July drastically changed the overall landscape of the league. Giannis Antetokounmpo is fresh off a fantastic year where he averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. The question now is whether or not Giannis can win back to back MVPs and become the first repeat winner since Stephen Curry won the award in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Giannis MVP odds are currently at +270, making Giannis the definitive betting favorite leading up to opening night in October.
Speaking of repeat winner Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors star appears to have a legitimate chance at reclaiming his former MVP crown. The departure of Kevin Durant to Brooklyn will likely lead to even higher usage for Curry in an already potent offense. Furthermore, Klay Thompson is expected to be sidelined for at least several months during the regular season, so the Warriors will lean on Curry heavily from behind the arc until Thompson returns for the second half. After a bit of a down year in 2018-19, Steph is certainly worth a look at +500.
While LeBron James always seems to be in the MVP conversation, he could have some friendly competition for the award from a teammate this season after the arrival of Anthony Davis. If everything goes right for the Lakers, both members of this newly formed dynamic duo appear to have a strong chance to take down the MVP award. While LeBron currently has the slight edge at +850, the fact that Davis is listed right behind him at +950 shows that the betting market is expecting both Laker stars to have big years.
After successfully landing Kawhi Leonard in free agency, the Los Angeles Clippers finally have added an MVP-calibre player to their roster. In fact, they appear to have added two such players, as Paul George has an outside shot at +1600 as well. However, there is little doubt that “The Klaw” is the most likely candidate from the Clippers to win the MVP award at +950. If he finds a way to pull it off, it would be the first time a Clipper was named NBA MVP since the franchise joined the league back in 1984.
This could finally be the breakthrough year for the Rockets as a team after the acquisition of Russell Westbrook during the offseason. However, there is little doubt that if Houston wants to get back in contention, James Harden will need to continue his string of impressive offensive seasons. “The Beard” averaged a ridiculous 36.1 points per game in 2018-19, including a record-breaking string of 32 consecutive games in which he scored at least 30 points. Harden’s MVP chances are currently listed at +750, which puts him in third position behind Antetokounmpo and Curry heading into Game 1 of the regular season.
A sleeper candidate to take down his first ever MVP award appears to be Joel Embiid, who is listed at +1600. The departure of Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick should open up an even bigger offensive role for Embiid, who will be joined in the front court by the newly acquired Al Horford. If Embiid can stay healthy for the entire season after battling injury problems for much of the 2018-19 season, the dynamic center could find a way to lead Philadelphia out of the Eastern Conference and win the Most Valuable Player award.