Personal accolades are not what drive the biggest athletes in sports. Instead, they are motivated by winning championships. And yet, that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy being recognized for their individual excellence. This holds especially true for NBA players.
The National Basketball Association is full of talented superstars, each looking to distinguish themselves from their peers. And nothing screams, “You got nothing on me,” like hoisting the much-coveted Most Valuable Player award.
As we look ahead to the 2018–19 season, Vegas oddsmakers have released their picks to win the NBA MVP award. These players are the odds-on favorites.
James Harden, Houston Rockets (+550)
After falling short of the MVP award in 2017, Harden came back with a vengeance this past season. The Beard averaged an NBA-best 30.4 points per game, led the Rockets to the best record in the league at 65-17, and finally took home the game’s top individual honor. A repeat performance in 2019 is not out of the question for the Houston superstar.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (+450)
Giannis Antetokounmpo lived up to his nickname “The Greek Freak” in 2017–18. The two-time All-Star averaged a career-best 26.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game and earned himself a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. If he continues at his current trajectory, it’s only a matter of time before Giannis wins MVP.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (+400)
If you were starting an NBA team, Anthony Davis could make a legit case for the top overall pick. This past season, AD did everything for the Pelicans. He put up 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds a night, topped the league with 2.6 blocks per game, and was named First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defense. The Brow is in the MVP conversation for sure.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (+333)
The top prize is not always given to the game’s best player. If it was, LeBron James would win the award every year. That being said, while the King doesn’t always finish first in the MVP voting, he’s always in consideration. Should ‘Bron manage to turn around the lowly Lakers this season, he could very easily take home a fifth-career MVP award.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
Other notable players to watch:
- Kevin Durant (+900)
- Kawhi Leonard (+1100)
- Russell Westbrook (+1400)
- Stephen Curry (+1500)
- Joel Embiid (+1600)
- Kyrie Irving (+1600)