NBA MVP Odds 2020

The MVP, the most prestigious individual NBA award, has been handed out to six different players the last seven seasons. The current talent pool is the best the NBA has ever seen, making the MVP one of the most difficult NBA futures bets to wager on.

Will Giannis Antetokounmpo repeat? Does LeBron James have one more magical season left in him? Will Kawhi Leonard earn some hardware to match his Finals MVP award from June? Is it finally Anthony Davis’ time? Will a darkhorse such as Paul George or Damian Lillard emerge like Steph Curry – who has a chance, too – did in 2015?

The Case For Giannis – Can He Repeat?

The last three repeat MVP winners changed the game: Curry (2015, 2016), James (2009, 2010 and 2012, 2013) and Steve Nash (2005, 2006) all have a significant handprint on the current era of this NBA. All MVPs are all-time greats; repeat MVP winners are legends.

And what Antetokounmpo has done the last three seasons is trending toward exactly that: The Association has never seen anything like him – hence the Greek Freak nickname – and he certainly feels like the next great thing in the NBA.

So, it comes as no surprise that he is listed as the favorite heading into the 2019-20 season with +300 odds. He’ll turn just 25 during the first half of the season, meaning he hasn’t even come close to reaching his peak. As wild as it sounds, his best basketball is still in front of him. He’s also eligible for a supermax five-year, $250 million extension next summer, so there’s incentive for him to build off last year’s historic campaign (It should be noted: He will get that max extension no matter how he plays).

Most importantly, he plays for a contender. The Milwaukee Bucks bring back the majority of their core from last season’s 60-win, top-seed-in-the-East campaign that saw them two wins away from a Finals berth. The Bucks have championship aspirations and a chip on their shoulders after coming up short last season. There’s no doubt that will inspire Antetokounmpo.


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Is the King Up for The Challenge?

James was the favorite to win NBA MVP at the start of the 2019 season, and he was playing like it until a groin injury kept him out for six weeks. To that point, James was averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.7 minutes. The last time he won MVP? James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists, nearly identical to what he was doing in Year 1 with the Lakers. Something to consider when formulating your NBA MVP strategy.

Father Time is undefeated, but James is certainly taking him to the finish line. There’s no reason to believe perhaps the greatest athlete in professional sports history will suddenly hit a wall. He’s motivated after last season’s disappointment to prove that he hasn’t lost a step. James’ last two MVP wins came with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as his sidekick in Miami. He has that No. 2 – and a pretty great one at that – in Anthony Davis, which should help both James’ numbers and the Lakers’ win total.


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James also finally has a supporting cast built to help his game. The Lakers made shooting a priority in the offseason, meaning James’ assist totals should increase. He’ll always be among the league leaders in points, an important criterion for MVP voting, and perhaps voters will give him the edge if he’s able to accomplish MVP-type numbers in his 17th NBA season.

James would pass Karl Malone (35 years old) as the oldest MVP in league history. He’s always good value, especially at +425 in the preseason.

Kawhi, Clippers Looking to Take Over LA

MVP voters are always looking for a good storyline. That has always been part of the voting criteria. And there isn’t a better story in the NBA this season than Leonard spurning James and the Lakers and joining the cross-arena rival LA Clippers. After singlehandedly bringing the Raptors to their first NBA championship, he’ll get a chance to do so for a second straight season in Los Angeles.

He’s got a much better supporting cast this time around, with All-Pro George also joining him to form a dynamic 1-2 punch. The Clippers will be atop the West standings most of the year, which will keep Leonard in the MVP talk as long as he’s healthy.

The only cause for concern is that Leonard will likely miss a dozen games for load management. Doc Rivers told reporters this summer that he doesn’t expect it to happen as often as it did in Toronto (nearly two dozen games), but it’s tough to see him playing more than 70 games.

Then again, the last two MVP winners – Giannis and James Harden – each played 72 games. So, it shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent for voters even if Leonard doesn’t play a full season. He’s excellent value at +600, but he’s not the favorite because of the potential time missed.

Our Pick for the 2020 NBA MVP Award

Leonard will miss games, and George’s performance – he was third in MVP voting last season – could mean fewer raw stats for the reigning Finals MVP. James is an all-time great and maybe the best ever, but at 36 he faces similar rest concerns that Leonard does, and Anthony Davis is an MVP candidate himself.

Neither of those factors are concerns for Antetokounmpo. He’s young and willing to play every night – of those 72 games he played, five came late in the season after the Bucks had wrapped up their seeding. He has All-Star Khris Middleton as a sidekick, but Middleton isn’t a threat to steal any major stats. We know that because he didn’t do it last season.

Everything is in place for Antetokounmpo to become the next repeat MVP. He’s special, and we haven’t even seen his best basketball yet despite him posting numbers last season that had never been posted in NBA history.

Searching for a darkhorse? James Harden has finished 2nd, 1st and 2nd in the MVP voting each of the last three seasons and yet he’s just +650 to win his second MVP, the fourth best odds. He’s a lock to play just about every game – he’s only missed 16 games the last five seasons – and always has his eyes on the MVP.

NBA MVP FAQs

What is the NBA MVP Award?

The NBA MVP is given to the player who, as voted on by members of the media, performed best during the regular season. Like the MVP in other major sports, team success is critical in the voting process, but not weighed as heavily as the player’s individual contributions.

What's the criteria for NBA MVP Award?

There is no criteria that needs to be met for a player to be voted in as league MVP. Bill Walton won MVP in 1978 despite playing in just 58 of 82 games – the fewest in a non-lockout season – while 19 different players have won the award while playing all 82 games.

Which position has won the most MVP awards?

  • Center – 25
  • Point guard – 11
  • Power forward – 11
  • Small forward – 9
  • Shooting guard – 8

Which teams have won the most MVP awards?

  • Celtics – 10
  • Lakers – 8
  • Bulls – 6
  • Sixers – 6
  • Rockets – 4
  • Bucks – 4
  • Suns – 3
  • Warriors – 3
  • Spurs – 3
  • Cavaliers – 2
  • Thunder – 2
  • Hawks – 2
  • Jazz – 2
  • Heat – 2
  • Clippers – 1
  • Kings – 1
  • Mavericks – 1
  • Wizards – 1
  • Knicks – 1
  • Timberwolves – 1
  • Trail Blazers – 1

Can a rookie win the MVP award?

Any player is eligible to win NBA MVP, but rookies aren’t exactly the smartest bet. It has happened just twice in league history, when rookie Wilt Chamberlain won the award in 1960. Nine years later, rookie Wes Unseld was named league MVP. It hasn’t happened since and likely never will again.

Who won the NBA MVP award in 2019?

YearPlayerPointsReboundsAssists
2019Giannis Antetokounmpo 27.7 12.55.9
2018James Harden 30.4 5.48.8
2017Russell Westbrook 31.6 10.710.4
2016Steph Curry 30.1 5.46.7
2015Steph Curry 23.8 4.37.7
2014Kevin Durant 32.0 7.45.5
2013LeBron James 26.8 8.07.3
2012LeBron James 27.1 7.96.2
2011Derrick Rose 25.0 4.17.7
2010LeBron James 29.7 7.38.6

Who was the oldest player to win MVP award?

It occurred during a lockout year, which may have helped him by not having to play a full 82-game schedule, but 35-year-old Karl Malone was named the oldest MVP in NBA history. This came one year after Michael Jordan had become the oldest MVP in league history at age 34.

Who’s the youngest to win the NBA MVP award?

Derrick Rose took the league by storm in 2011 and was named MVP at just 22 years old. He edged out 22-year-old Wes Unseld – the last rookie to win MVP – by 5 months to earn the distinction. Six players have won the award during their age-23 NBA season.

Who has the most NBA MVP awards?

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 6
  • Michael Jordan – 5
  • Bill Russell – 5
  • LeBron James – 4
  • Wilt Chamberlain – 4
  • Magic Johnson – 3
  • Larry Bird – 3
  • Moses Malone – 3

What players have multiple MVP awards?

PlayerMVPsYears won
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar6 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980
Bill Russell51958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965
Michael Jordan5 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998
LeBron James4 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
Wilt Chamberlain4 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968
Moses Malone3 1979, 1982, 1983
Larry Bird3 1984, 1985, 1986
Magic Johnson3 1987, 1989, 1990
Bob Petit2 1956, 1959
Karl Malone2 1997, 1999
Tim Duncan2 2002, 2003
Steve Nash2 2005, 2006
Stephen Curry2 2015, 2016