2020 NBA MVP Odds Race: Will LeBron Catch Giannis Atop the MVP Leaderboard?
Giannis Antetokounmpo (-210) is the current MVP favorite, but LeBron (+700) lurks.
With the NBA All-Star game two weeks and change away, the race for NBA MVP is starting to heat up, and it should be no surprise that Giannis Antetokounmpo remains the favorite to win his second straight MVP award.
Giannis’ race to back-to-back MVP honors will begin to get slightly more difficult, however, as Mavericks’ young superstar Luka Doncic is healthy once again after missing time with an ankle injury and the Lakers star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis has the Lakers with the best record in the Western Conference.
Here’s your latest look at the NBA MVP futures market for the week of January 27-February 2.
MVP Winner 2020
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The NBA MVP Odds on Favorite: The Case for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 2nd Straight MVP Award
Entering this week’s action, Giannis continues his dominance over the Eastern Conference as he has led the Bucks to a 40-6 start to the season with an eight-game lead over Miami and Toronto for the top record in the conference.
The Bucks have essentially throttled everyone that’s stood in their way at this juncture in the season, including two blowout victories over the Los Angeles super-teams.
Giannis is clearly the biggest catalyst as to why.
Giannis’ season to date has been nothing short of stellar, and in many ways has been better than last season’s MVP-winning efforts.
As of this writing, Giannis currently leads the Eastern Conference in scoring, averaging 30 points per night, including a career best 32% from three-point range.
Antetokounmpo has also been a dominant presence on the defensive side of the floor, landing in the top-five for rebounds with 13 boards per game.
Basically, there’s not much that Giannis cannot do on the floor right now, and he’s seemingly getting better every game. Giannis is also a slight victim to his own dominance, as many of the Bucks games have been long decided before the 4th quarter, preventing the Greek Freak from really racking up the eye-popping individual stats.
With the Bucks short on star-power outside of Giannis, voters may be inclined to reward Antetokounmpo accordingly in the MVP race – especially if the Bucks continue to rack up wins in the standings.
Can Luka Doncic (+380 NBA MVP Odds) Make a Charge for MVP?
The most obvious choice at this moment in time to catch Giannis in the MVP race would be the ultra-talented 20-year old G/F Luka Doncic.
After a brief four-game absence due to a sprained ankle, Doncic has resumed his absolutely sensational season for the Mavs. Luka is nearly averaging a triple-double per night (29 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 8.8 apg) and has carried the Mavs to the middle of the Western Conference standings. If the Mavs continue to make a push up the Western Conference standings and are able to catch one of the Los Angeles super-teams, Luka’s case for MVP only grows stronger.
Doncic is currently listed as a +380 to take home his first ever MVP.
Will LeBron (+700 NBA MVP Odds) Make a Surge Up the MVP Leaderboard?
LeBron’s case for MVP, at least from a statistical standpoint, has always been a strong one. This season the 35-year old legend is averaging 25 ppg and nearly 8 boards per game. Bron also leads the league in assists, averaging nearly 11 dimes a night.
One can’t deny that the addition of superstar forward/center Anthony Davis wouldn’t strengthen Bron’s case for MVP, especially considering Giannis and Luka Doncic being one-man bands of sorts.
However, following the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s shocking passing, all eyes in the sports world immediately went on the Lakers, who have assembled a team that is absolutely going to be in the thick of the race to win the NBA Championship.
Kobe and LeBron had built quite the bond throughout their careers, but that bond seemed to really strengthen in recent years when LeBron became a Laker.
If LeBron can continue his incredible play during a season that has markedly changed for everyone involved in the Lakers organization due to this tragic loss, one can’t wonder if MVP voters will react in kind by voting for the 4x NBA MVP to win his 5th award.
Other Candidates to Consider in When Looking at the NBA MVP Odds Race
With the top three candidates for NBA MVP solidified (Giannis, Luka, LeBron), the most obvious selection for a dark horse to make a case for the award comes with James Harden.
Harden (+700 to win NBA MVP) continues to lead the NBA in scoring, averaging an eye-popping 37-points per game as of this writing, but his style of play ranges anywhere from controversial to being like nails on a chalkboard towards basketball purists (and MVP voters).
In other seasons where Harden’s scoring would really standout, he would stand a better chance to win MVP, but this season it looks like he will need a lot of help to get back into strong consideration for the award, especially considering MVP voters have already stated how they view Harden’s stats in a nut-shell.
Anthony Davis has enticing value (+1800 to win MVP), but with LeBron on his team, that mountain may be too steep to climb. Kawhi Leonard (+3400 to win MVP) is the clear best player on an NBA-title contending Clippers team, but he will likely not play in enough games to merit serious consideration for the award.
If you’re looking for a deep sleeper that may crawl into the Top 3 of the NBA MVP award chase by season’s end, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell (+9500 to win MVP) maybe that guy. The Jazz have quietly played incredible basketball of late, finding themselves at 32-14 on the year after starting the season 12-10. If the Jazz continue their strong play, Mitchell will surely be a key part of that, and well, who knows what can happen?
For all intents and purposes though, as of January 27 this sure feels like a three-man race.