- Bovada’s latest odds still list Giannis Antetokounmpo as the favorite (-325) to repeat as the league’s Most Valuable Player
- LeBron James (+200) was named NBA Player of the Week after averaging 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists in three wins
- The King could match Michael Jordan and Bill Russell with his fifth-career NBA MVP
After leading his Lakers to big wins over the league-leading Bucks and rival Clippers last week, LeBron James has improbably swung an MVP race that looked all but over just a week ago.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is still the heavy favorite at -325, but the King is gaining ground fast at +200. Let’s examine the odds at Bovada and pick a winner in this two-man race.
2020 NBA REGULAR SEASON MVP ODDS
|Player||Current Odds||Trending||Nov. 29/2019|
PANIC TIME FOR GIANNIS INVESTORS?
Putting up monster numbers for a Bucks team flirting with 70 wins, the Greek Freak was considered a lock to win league MVP just last week. But life comes at you fast in the NBA. After injuring his knee in a 113-103 loss to LeBron and the Lakers on Sunday, Giannis has missed Milwaukee’s past two games against the Suns and Nuggets.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s numbers when matched up against LeBron last night:
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 7, 2020
While those losses to Phoenix and Denver only prove Giannis’ value to his team, the once unbeatable Bucks are suddenly only four games ahead of the Lakers in the standings. They should hold on to home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but with Milwaukee unlikely to go 17-0 down the stretch, 70 wins are probably out of the picture.
IS LEBRON JAMES A GOOD BET AT +200?
While it would be foolish to take Giannis at -325 at this juncture, the question is whether you already missed the boat on LBJ now that he’s up to +200. At age 35, James is averaging 25.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and a career-high 10.6 assists as the game’s 10th-oldest active player. Impressive for sure, but the analytics still heavily favor Antetokounmpo.
Per-36 minutes, Giannis is averaging nearly eight more points than LeBron, doubling him in rebounds and leading him in blocks with a higher true shooting percentage. Even worse for the King’s case is that he doesn’t even lead his own team in points, rebounds, blocks or steals per game—Anthony Davis does.
29.0 PPG | 7.3 RPG | 10.3 APG pic.twitter.com/aFzi7oJNAc
— NBA (@NBA) March 9, 2020
Despite all of that, James has something way more powerful than stats working in his favor: a juicy storyline. While voters just awarded Giannis with NBA MVP last year, and will conceivably have many more chances to do so over the next decade, this might be their final opportunity to crown the King.
After failing to give LeBron an MVP in the past six seasons — a span in which he won a championship and made five NBA Finals appearances — the sportswriters who vote for the award may also feel like they owe him one after all these years.
At +200, bet on James winning his fifth-career league MVP, matching Michael Jordan and Bill Russell for the most all-time.