Why Giannis Is Making the NBA MVP Odds Race Look Like Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes
By: Brent Booher
With each passing week, the race to be named the 2020 NBA MVP becomes less of a race and more of a foregone conclusion.
The only thing that would appear to jeopardize the chances of Giannis Antetokounmpo not winning his second-consecutive MVP would be injury at this point, and even that may not be enough to hand the MVP award to someone else.
Since teams have resumed play following the All-Star Game, the Milwaukee Bucks have not lost, and have improved their record to 49-8 as of February 25.
The Bucks have an outside opportunity to win 70 games in the regular season, a feat only accomplished by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, and Giannis is the biggest reason why.
The Greek Freak is averaging an eye-popping 30 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, with six assists per game chipped in for good measure.
Because of this, oddsmakers have Giannis’ odds to repeat as NBA MVP set at a gaudy -625, and at the rate the Bucks are playing, NBA MVP Odds of -625 may actually be a bargain all things considered.
With the Bucks clinching a playoff spot earlier than any other team in history, and a 7-game lead for the No. 1 seed in the conference, it will be interesting to see if the Bucks continue to give Giannis his typical workload or if they will back off a bit to save his run for the playoffs.
Either way you slice it, the coronation for Giannis’ second MVP award has seem to have already begun.
MVP Winner 2020
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Is There Anyone that can Make this NBA MVP Race Close Again?
The most obvious candidate to make Giannis sweat a bit for his back-to-back MVP honors appeared to be LeBron James.
James has played incredible basketball in his 16th year of action, and is averaging a career high 10.7 assists per game in addition to his 25 points and nearly eight rebounds per game.
The Lakers currently hold the best record in the Western Conference, but LeBron has something Giannis does not – a superstar teammate that puts up big numbers in Anthony Davis.
Because of the appearance of the Lakers being a “superteam,” and because Davis typically siphons off some of LeBron’s stats, LeBron’s not very likely to chase down Giannis in the race for MVP barring something awful happening to the Milwaukee Bucks forward.
At any rate, LeBron enters the week with the second-best NBA MVP odds to win at +700.
The only other name with any semblance of a chance to merit consideration for the NBA MVP award is the sensational 20-year old Luka Doncic.
Luka is currently 6th in the NBA in scoring at 28.8 points per game, with nine rebounds and eight assists per game.
In any other season, a 20-year old superstar averaging nearly a triple-double on a Dallas Mavericks team that is in the thick of a race to finish with a Top 3 record in the loaded Western Conference would probably make Luka the favorite for the award.
Unfortunately for Doncic (and James both), Giannis does exist and is having one of the best seasons in NBA history.
In the event something wonky happens in the last 25 games of the season though, Doncic would stand to gain the most.
Luka’s odds to win NBA MVP currently rest at +900.
Names Deserving of Mention for the NBA MVP Odds
We’ve already gone into detail about why Giannis is likely already your 2020 NBA MVP, but there are a few names on the list that would be deserving of MVP discussion any other season.
James Harden (NBA MVP Odds: +1400) continues to put up attractive numbers in the box score, and is a big reason why the Rockets currently sit two games out of the 2-seed in the West. Considering the Rockets are playing the equivalent of an oompa-loompa at the 5, Harden’s season has been quite impressive to say the least.
However, the play of Russell Westbrook has all but ended any chances Harden may have had to best Giannis in this season’s MVP race.
The play of Damian Lillard (+10000 to win MVP) ever since December has also been one of the many highlights of the 2020 NBA Season, as Dame Dolla has topped 50 points in four games so far and has topped 60 points on two occasions.
The fact his Blazers team is pretty much a one-man band is why Lillard is not going to win the MVP award this year, but that’s not from a lack of trying.
All NBA MVP odds courtesy of PointsBet