Antetokounmpo Still NBA MVP Favorite Post Free-Agency Frenzy
Giannis Antetokounmpo remains the favorite to repeat as NBA MVP in odds released after the frenzy of free agency made Los Angeles the center of the basketball universe.
The moves by the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers could create a conundrum for both award voters and those looking to bet on the NBA MVP.
LeBron James & Anthony Davis Both Have MVP Buzz for Lakers
LeBron James is unlike any athlete in NBA history. At age 34, he averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists. The offseason addition of Anthony Davis will only help James’ efficiency, and the Lakers should win plenty to keep James’ name in the MVP mix.
888Sport lists James with the second-best odds at +450, while places such as PointsBet (+750) and FanDuel (+800) don’t believe James will outlast Father Time and remain in the MVP conversation this late in his career.
Some clearly believe James could also pass the torch to Davis, who is finally in Los Angeles after months of speculation that it would happen. In fact, James has already begun the process by gifting the No. 23 jersey to Davis.
It’s easy to forget just how great Davis is because of his ugly break-up with the Pelicans. Davis has averaged 27.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over the last three seasons and is a consensus top-10 player in the league. With Kawhi Leonard spurning the Lakers and James potentially taking a backseat, Davis could have the spotlight to himself.
He’s between fifth and sixth on most oddsmakers’ lists for MVP favorites, with 888Sport and PointsBet listing him at +800, and FanDuel giving him +950 odds to win the award.
Wide Range of Odds on Kawhi Leonard with Clippers
Kawhi Leonard is the hottest name in basketball after leading the Raptors to their first ever championship last season. Leonard averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 60 regular-season games before his historic postseason, though he wasn’t in consideration for MVP – he finished ninth in the voting. That’s because Toronto managed his load throughout the season, something the Clippers could also do seeing as how well it workedin the postseason for the Raptors.
888Sport and PointsBet have Leonard at +600 odds, while FanDuel is banking on the Clippers resting Leonard early and often, giving him just +1200 odds to win MVP.
Don’t expect George to sit many games. The third-place finisher in last year’s MVP voting has missed a combined 16 games the past four seasons and just finished the best year of his career. At 29 years old, he’s entering the prime of his career and will only get better playing alongside Leonard.
He’s a dark horse at this point in the summer, with 888Sport giving him +1100 odds and PointsBet listing him at +1400 to win his first MVP.
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Repeat Winners Have Been a Trend
Of the last 18 NBA Most Valuable Players, five have been repeat winners (Duncan, Nash, James, James, Curry). While Russell Westbrook (2017) and James Harden (2018) weren’t able to defend their award the following season, the NBA is due for a repeat winner. Antetokounmpo’s odds to repeat range from +270 at FanDuel to +325 with 888Sport.
The 24-year-old has increased his scoring and rebounding in all six of his NBA seasons, finishing last year with averages of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists, numbers only matched by Oscar Robertson in 1962. The Bucks will again be favorites in the East as they bring back the core from last year’s 60-win team, with Antetokounmpo leading the way.
Different sportsbooks have different odds, but Antetokounmpo is the favorite on every list and there’s not much of a range. He’s the man to beat for a reason.