Who is in the running for regular season MVP?
Find out the best MVP odds for the top 6 players
We are roughly into a quarter of the season, and so it’s time to assess the players in the race for regular season MVP and their respective odds. NBA sports betting enthusiasts, shouldn’t be too surprised with the list of top 6 that I talk through below. There maybe differences in opinion with their potential ranking, but overall the top 6 should be relatively clear cut as it stands today on December 8, 2019.
My top 6 in the race for regular season MVP is as follows:
- Luka Doncic
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- James Harden
- Lebron James
- Anthony Davis
- Kawhi Leonard
My top 6 mostly aligns with the referenced odds from the sports betting site called Sportsbet, which is available to Australian residents. These odds should be approximately be similar with what other sports betting sites are offering. If not, then you have either found really good odds, or you need to continue to search around. I do have Luka above Giannis, which is controversial to many, and I have Kawhi Leonard in my top 6, whilst Sportsbet ranks Joel Embiid above, and considers Paul George and Karl Anthony Towns along side Kawhi.
I love to placing bets on the NBA regular season MVP. As an avid NBA fan, watching the season unfold, and how it influences the sports betting odds presents a lot of fun in finding value bets. Currently, I firmly believe that Luka represents a value bet, and this will discussed further.
Regular season MVP betting, of course stretches across an entire season. This is perfect for those, who cannot follow each game individually. I know my life style does not allow me to prepare and analyze betting for individual games, but given a longer period, I can have better feel and bet with more confidence.
Regular season MVP, Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player are three forms of betting which stretch the season. I layout my thoughts on the top 6 regular season MVP candidates and their current betting odds.
Let me know if you agree with my rankings for MVP Odds
1. Luka Doncic
Personal: 20 years old 6 ft 7
Where did this kid come from? Only in his second year in the NBA, I don’t think anybody has foreseen how quickly Doncic has not only adapted but also improved upon his game to fit in with the NBA’s speed and physicality. At only 20 years of age, Doncic is leading his team AND winning. The Mavericks have won their last 9 games out of 10, with one loss against the Kawhi led Clippers. Not a bad result eh? In particular Doncic’s supporting cast is no where near as good as any of the other potential MVP winners in the top 6. Yes, perhaps the Bucks have a weak supporting cast for Giannis as well, but I would say as a group George Hill, Kris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe are far better than Kristaps Porzingis (only just returning from injury), Tim Hardaway Jr who is streaky at best, Dwight Powell (who?) and Dorian Finney-Smith (who again?).
After today’s game against the Pelicans, have the stats shown that Luka has tied Michael Jordan in 2nd place for the longest 20-5-5 streak at 18 consecutive games. Oscar Robertson leads with 29 consecutive games. If this isn’t astounding, on the team that he is on, then what more is Luka to do to earn the MVP? If it is expected for the Mavericks to lead the Western Conference to match the Bucks for Luka to earn the MVP, I believe this would be completely unfair to the man.
At the current pace that Luka is playing, he deserves to be MVP. Whether the wider team can support him on his unprecedented quest remains to be seen.
With the odds at 4.50, I believe this represents good value. They were even better two weeks ago, before Luka went on a tear. And if you bought in with the odds two weeks ago you are doing really well, with the potential to parlay. If Luka continues at his current pace, I believe more sports bettors will jump on the band wagon and place their money on Luka to win MVP, thereby driving down the MVP odds even further.
Luka’s risks are two fold. Firstly, opposing teams will work out how to stop him, and his statistics will regress, and secondly he becomes burnt out from leading the Mavericks due to the weak supporting cast. But to date, no team has yet to quite work out how to stop Luka (exception Clippers) and he seems to be coping (even relishing) with driving the Mavericks forward.
Luka is my number candidate for winning the regular season MVP, and the current MVP sports betting odds represent good value.
Update: 12/12/2019 – Luka Doncic drives the Dallas Mavericks over the Detroit Pistons in an emphatic winning MVP performance. Registering 41 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, Luka Doncic is redefining what youth can bring to the table. Let’s just let this sink in, 41-12-11… what tha! By a 20 year old!
On show was all the bags of trick today. The step back three, beautiful behind the back assists, the classic no look alley oop, the slow motion drive to the basket and the full length of the court assists. Nothing else could have been left on the court. Now admittedly, Detroit isn’t the best of teams, 10th in the Eastern conference ladder, but they aren’t that bad! And they know that the key to stopping the Mavs is locking down Doncic. But alas Doncic ran riot over them. Luka is solidifying his position as my number pick of regular season MVP this year.
BUT oddly enough, his MVP Odds are lengthening despite the fact that he is creating history! What gives? This just makes it more of a value bet to bet on Luka for MVP.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Personal: 25 years old 6 ft 11
The Greek Freak, last season’s MVP, is having another stellar season. His sheer length and strength to dominant night in and night out is simply unbelievable. If he had not won last season’s MVP, then I would place him above Luka. But rightly or wrongly, I place him behind Luka because he won it last year and his supporting cast is slightly better than Luka’s. He had his feel good moment last year. This year’s feel good moment belongs to Luka (if Luka can maintain the pace).
So what does Giannis need to do to lock in MVP? Perhaps shoot more 3’s at a higher clip? I don’t know…. it’s splitting hairs between Giannis and Luka at the moment. But I just can’t get past that the feel good story for this year is Luka winning the MVP. And if the Maverick can sustain their winning streak, it is in the bag for Luka.
3. James Harden
Personal: 30 years old 6 ft 5
I cannot find fault in James Harden’s game. He is ripping it! Shooting an average of 36 a game last year, and this year at 39! Shooting more free throws than anyone ever has and on track for 1,200 free throws by the end of the season is simply ridiculous.
Harden is so lethal, that teams are now double teaming him with accepting the risk of playing 3 vs 4 with their remaining players.
The draw back of Harden winning MVP is as follows:
Similar to Giannis, Harden has won the MVP honours previously. Again, I know this shouldn’t play a part in deciding who wins MVP, but I feel this works against Harden in comparison to Luka, who has yet to win it.
Harden’s style of play is hard to watch. The “hard on the eye” drives to the basket, whilst flaring his arms out to draw fouls, to me isn’t entertaining. It’s a technique that I don’t deny isn’t effective, but as a fan it ain’t pretty either. Coupled with Russell Westbrook who also isn’t the most fun to watch, more so because of his antics, this sets back the watchability of Rocket games.
This shouldn’t in theory influence the MVP winner, but right now splitting hairs comes down to who has won it previously, their entertainment factor and is their team winning at a respectable clip.
4. Lebron James
Personal: 34 years old 6 ft 9
How does the King keep doing it? Year after year after year. At the ripe age of 34, he should be slowing down. But he hasn’t. In fact, he has improved! Perhaps it was the failure of last year that is pushing him on, and maybe it’s because he now has a solid partner in Anthony Davis.
The Lakers are at the top of the table for the Western Conference, and they too, like the Mavericks, have won 9 of their last 10.
Is Lebron’s supporting cast better than Luka’s? I believe so. Anthony Davis provides that extra boost for Lebron’s numbers. If I swapped Luka with Lebron, can I imagine Lebron pulling the Mavericks as well as Doncic? I don’t think so. Lebron is great, but I just don’t think he has the personality or game to do what Doncic is doing. And this means, Doncic is more MVP material than Lebron.
I unfortunately (and don’t get me wrong as I don’t believe it is right) believe that fans are becoming stale of the King. Stale in the sense, that we have come to expect this from the King. The fairy tale story just isn’t there to allow Lebron to be MVP for this season.
At betting odds of 6.50, these are fair odds. It currently is a two horse race at the moment between Luka and Giannis. I don’t see load management coming into play for either of the front runners, but for Lebron due to his age and depth of the team, his minutes may reduce setting him further back in the odds. Hence 6.50 is not bad but not great either.
5. Anthony Davis
Personal: 26 years old 6 ft 10
Anthony Davis is relishing playing with Lebron. You can see it with his energy, his dominance in the paint, and his finesse on the outside. He is playing marvelously with the King, and the two make the Lakers the team to beat. The Lakers are my favourite to win it all.
Unfortunately, having a player of Lebron’s calibre on your team, doesn’t help with MVP honours. Again, I can’t go past, if I swapped Davis for Doncic, would Davis be able to push forward the Mavericks as Doncic has? I doubt it. Davis has a great game, but he doesn’t have the same all round game that Doncic has. And that’s what makes Doncic so special. Doncic is driving the entire forward, and that is completely unexpected and should be rewarded.
I also place Davis behind LeBron in the odds for winning MVP. LeBron’s resurgence is simply more impressive than Davis’ consistent play. LeBron’s highlight reel for the first 20 games of the season includes some monster dunks and the chase down “how did you block that” fast break.
Don’t get me wrong, Davis is an awesome player, but he has yet to surpass Lebron as the leader of the Lakers. That much is clear and obvious.
6. Kawhi Leonard
Personal: 28 years old, 6ft 7
I rank Kawhi in the top 6 running for MVP, whilst Sportsbet has Joel Embiid above him. It is very close, but when I see Joel Embiid have zero points against Toronto – I just shake my head. How can a potential MVP candidate have zero points? To then admit that he needed to be more aggressive, which to me means “Play harder”, gosh… just on maturity alone many others should be ranked higher that Embiid in the race for MVP.
Kawhi has the ability to step up when it really matters. He seems to be finding his footing with the Clippers and is gelling with Paul George. What’s setting Kawhi back in the race for MVP is:
Load management: I understand why, but as a fan, I don’t like it. He needs to be playing when he is fit and healthy in order to move up for the MVP odds.
His style of play is too measured: Kawhi is a great player, and it appears that he will only turn it on, when he has to. Great players can do it, and MVP calibre players do it often. But he couldn’t do it against the Bucks, in which the Clippers got hammered. Now whether or not, Kawhi threw the towel into the ring, when all appeared lost in the fourth quarter, it means I wouldn’t put him higher in the regular season rankings. Especially when other potential MVP’s are playing more minutes.
Great supporting cast: Let’s not forget the Clippers is a really good team in general. Paul George, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly, Montrezl Harrell… these are really good players.
Clippers loss to Bucks: Normally in the race for MVP, team vs team winnings shouldn’t influence greatly on the performance on an individuals MVP odds, but the Clippers got smashed by the Bucks last Friday, with both Leonard and George playing. It was an ugly game. The first half was atrocious by both sides with nothing falling in. George was the better of the two in this game and kept the Clippers in it till the end of the third. If Kawhi were to move up in the MVP odds he needs to step up were facing other potential MVP candidates I.e. Giannis and the Bucks. Huge blow to Leonard’s chancing of winning MVP, and the sports betting odds quite rightly reflect at 31.00.
I’m currently seeing value with Doncic being MVP for the season. At 4.50 this presents great value. I know it may be a long shot but is it as long as 4.50?
How could anyone pick a sophomore to be the MVP? But feel good stories do come true, and what he has shown to date, has nothing been short of astounding. If he were to be credited with MVP for the season, I’m sure many would agree.
The thorn in Doncic’s side is Giannis’ blockbuster season start. He is hungry to win and you can see it his play. Dominating other teams with his strength, agility and length. He has the will power and the skills to drag his team across the line. He too is the focal point, like Luka, for the Bucks. And that is what defines MVP calibre players, the team’s reliance on him.
The question at the moment is, does Doncic represent better betting value? I believe so. It’s neck and neck at the moment and I’ll take 4.50 any day of the week over 2.85.
Do you agree or disagree? Comments are welcome.