The Top 10 NBA Players in Season MVP discussion: Who do Bookmakers think has the best chance of winning?

Since 1956, the NBA has awarded its top performing ballers with a trophy that is still very much coveted by all players in the league. Receiving this prestigious award, not only guarantees a player’s name in the history books, but nowadays, it also comes with sought after extra incentives. During player contract negotiations, many NBA organizations will offer millions of dollars in benefits and endorsements to players that have been awarded the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

As the end of the regular season is just around the corner, it seems natural to discuss the topic of the season’s best player. Consequently, it becomes a media trending point too. Last year’s campaign saw James Harden narrowly snatch the trophy away from LeBron James, and this year’s voting is shaping up to be as close as it was in 2018.

Race to the MVP Ladder: Power Ratings & Betting Odds

In order to get a better understanding of who is leading the MVP, let’s take a look at the official NBA Power ratings and betting odds that some of the bookies are offering.

10. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (150/1)

After officially making it public that he wanted to move out of New Orleans last month, Anthony Davis found himself in the spotlight. Unfortunately for him – and the Lakers – a trade didn’t happen before the deadline as the Pelicans were hoping to find better value for him as a RFA at the end of the season. To safeguard their investment in Davis against injury – who has already recovered from a shoulder problem – and lose market value, the Pelicans will be restricting his game time for the rest of the season. This means that his chances of raising the MVP trophy for 2019, have diminished too.

9. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (80/1)

Although his numbers are amazing for a player of his age, LeBron has had a really tough season. Arguably, he is still the best basketball player on planet earth. Considering that LeBron suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day, and the abysmal Lakers team performances, LeBron, in all probability, would have sat somewhere near the top of the MVP ladder. It looks likely that the Lakers are responsible for breaking LeBron’s streak of 14 consecutive playoff appearances.

8. Nikola Jokic (100/1)

Don’t make any jokes about “The Joker” Nikola Jokic because he is making a name for himself this season. Jokic was voted into the All-star game last month, and for a big man his agility and on-court ability is incredible. The Joker is only 24 years old, and he has a very bright future ahead of him – even if he doesn’t quite manage to win the MVP this year.

7. Kawhi Leonard (70/1)

After missing a large chunk of last year’s NBA action following a quad muscle injury, Kawhi has been put on “load management”. Toronto have also sat him out for full games several times this season. Dispite limitations on him, he is still the main reason why Toronto have the second best record in the league. Leonard isn’t quite the MVP of the league at the moment, but he is arguably the best two dimensional player in the league. We can say with a degree of certainty that he will be making a huge difference when the playoffs come around.

6. Joel Embiid (80/1)

It’s 2019, and we ‘trust the process’. Joel Embiid has been the 76ers best man for a while and the team is enjoying a solid season so far, and the 76ers are sitting nicely in 3rd spot of the Eastern Conference standings. There is an outside chance that Embiid could win MVP this season, but at least the big man has shown he is All-star material. Embiid is averaging 27.3 points per game, and 13.5 rebounds with 3.7 assists, and he is leading the league in double-doubles.

4. Kevin Durant (80/1)

Durant has been playing exceptionally well for the Golden State Warriors this season, and he also managed to win the All-star MVP a few weeks ago too. He is playing with multiple all-stars on his team, the like of which the NBA has not seen before. This seems to have topped the 1996 team line-up of the Chicago Bulls that achieved the 72 wins and 10 losses legendary regular season record. Unbeleivably, they still managed to improve the line-up by adding Demarcus Cousins this year. Yikes. Can you imagine the public reaction if a Warrior’s player wins the trophy?

4. Stephen Curry (70/1)

Steph Curry’s form has fallen away slightly recently, and even if he was balling out of regular mortals ballpark, it would be hard for him to support his MVP candidacy, and justify his 3rd trophy. Statistically, he is in the midst of his second-best season ever with a 30.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 6.7 assists, 50.4% FGP, and 44.4% 3PFG. It’s not about him and the numbers, it’s about the factors around him. Yes, that’s correct, we are talking about the yellow and blue jerseys.

3. Paul George (9/1)

Just watch Paul George shooting free throws in the fourth quarter, and you will hear those PG13 MVP chants. George has been playing phenomenally all season, and to this day, the vivid memories of that USA scrimmage injury are so strong. Everyone thought his career was over, and just a few years later, he dropped 40 points in back-to-back games including a triple-double performance. Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting pretty in 3rd place of the tough Western Conference. Eight-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook has had to acknowledge that George is the frontrunner of the team. Such praise coming from Westbrook, must surely signal PG13’s level of basketball is a proper MVP performance.

2. James Harden (5/4)

Harden is the reigning MVP, and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as he is putting down numbers you’d usually find on a video game. His game average of 36.4 points is the highest since 1964 – the Wilt Chamberlain days during the ABA era. A master of “getting buckets”, he achieved 32 consecutive, 30 plus point game performances, which is a serious feat indeed. You have to give this special consideration because the Rocket’s playbook consists of isolation plays only, and this really showcases Harden’s true craftsmanship with a basketball in his hands. Up until recently, he was heavily favoured by the bookies because of his back-to-back MVP campaign. However, the odds have dropped as low as 1.50 in decimal odds. Definitely a solid 50% implied probability for the trophy. “Long live the beard”.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (4/7)

”A Greek in need is a Freak indeed” is turning out to be the new mantra for the Bucks. Giannis is closing out games at a high rate, and his season stats are freaky as well, 27 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 6 assists, 1.5 blk, and 1.4 steals. There isn’t any doubts cast over Gianiss’s abilities or the validity of Milwaukee as a playoff title contenders. With ⅔ of MVP trophies given during the last 15 years to a player whose team holds the NBA overall wins record. It’s not hard to imagine the “Greek Freak” taking a trophy home with the Bucks hold over the top of the table. Antetokounmpo might not be such a scoring threat as some of the other players, but his game is not built around the “hero ball alpha” and his play consistency is off the charts.

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Written by:   Terry Riley


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