Why Giannis Still Has the Best NBA MVP Odds
By: Brent Booher
Giannis Remains Favorite to Win 2020 NBA MVP (DraftKings: -400)
A frenetic NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the NBA All-Star Weekend begins on Valentine’s Day. In other words, the NBA is beginning to heat up.
The chase for the NBA Finals will begin after the break, but the race for MVP may have already been decided if you’re going off of what oddsmakers have listed in the latest installment of the 2020 NBA MVP odds market.
As we approach the NBA All-Star break, Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to be the heavy favorite to win his second consecutive MVP, and given the Greek Freak’s season to date, it’s no wonder why.
Giannis heads into the break as the catalyst of the NBA’s best team, averaging 30 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.
It will take a tremendous effort by any of the following players to be able to knock Giannis off the mountaintop.
MVP Winner 2020
Second Best in the NBA Odds Race: Luka Doncic (+500)
Luka Doncic has been phenomenal in his sophomore NBA season, averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game.
Doncic is also a huge reason why the Mavericks are currently projected to be in the playoffs, exceeding expectations to what was expected from this Dallas team at the beginning of the season.
Unfortunately for Luka, two things are working against him in his quest to win his first MVP award before he can legally drink a beer to celebrate said achievement.
He’s missed 11 games with two separate ankle injuries.
Giannis Antetokounmpo still exists.
In any other season, Luka would likely be the runaway favorite for MVP given how incredible he’s played this season, but barring a scorching hot finish to the year, Luka is looking more and more likely to be the silver medalist in this campaign.
Third Best in the NBA Odds Race: James Harden and LeBron James (+800)
A few weeks ago, we forecasted that LeBron James could make a unique case for MVP if he put the Lakers on his back, particularly after the Kobe Bryant tragedy, but LeBron has not separated himself from the MVP pack just yet.
LeBron has enjoyed a great season, especially considering he is playing on a Lakers team that holds the best record in the Western Conference at 40-12, but he hasn’t put up the gaudy statistics that Giannis has delivered for the Bucks.
And while the Bucks are certainly a very good team, they do not have a second superstar like Anthony Davis to take away stats and potential MVP votes like LeBron James does. LeBron’s path to an MVP seems challenging to say the least.
James Harden’s MVP candidacy is suffering from some of the same woes that LeBron’s is; where LeBron has Anthony Davis, Harden has Russell Westbrook.
There’s also the negative perception to the style of basketball that Harden plays, a style of basketball that sends Harden to the free throw line frequently and results in high scoring totals.
Pair all this together, and the fact that Houston is simply not on Milwaukee’s level, and it doesn’t seem very likely that Harden has enough to catch up to Giannis.
Especially if Harden didn’t have enough to beat Giannis last season with an arguably better resume for it than he has this season.
Are There Any NBA Odds Sleepers Worth a Look?
In all likelihood, there really isn’t a realistic looking sleeper on the board worth considering.
Stranger things have happened though, and you just never know what can dramatically alter an award race in a hurry, so we will throw out two names that merit some sleeper potential.
The Sneaky Sleeper: Damian Lillard (NBA MVP Odds: +3300)
Damian Lillard has been playing at an unbelievable level the last month.
Over the last 15 games, Lillard is averaging 37.2 points per game with absurd 50.3/46.6/88.1 scoring splits. This is on top of also chipping in about nine assists and five boards a night.
In late January, Lillard had a three-game run of 61, 47 and 50 points.
Essentially he’s decided he is going to carry Portland to the playoffs on his own, and while it will take a truly Herculean effort for Lillard to sniff an MVP award, you can’t deny the value of 33-to-1 if the unthinkable happens.
The Deep (Deep) Sleeper: Pascal Siakam (NBA MVP Odds: +25000)
At 250-to-1, you have to understand that Siakam winning MVP is probably not going to happen.
But the budding superstar is the best player on a Toronto Raptors team that has won 15-straight games and, in case you forgot already, are actually the defending World Champions.
Siakam’s season is likely not enough to merit the MVP, but it deserves mention. He currently averages 23.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game and seems to get better with each passing week.
It would take a truly bizarre set of circumstances for Siakam to win the MVP award, but that’s never stopped you from playing Powerball before right?