Obviously Lebron James is leading the pack, and the juice is there to show it. However, a lot can change down the stretch of an NBA season, so let’s take a look at a few of the likely candidates, and decide if any of them are worth a bet over Mr. James. These betting odds were taken from BetFair.
Lebron James (-450)
No surprises here, as many suspect this is James’ award to lose. Lebron has been making his case for back-to-back MVPs, and his fourth overall. However, -450 is a ton of juice for a bet like this. It’s almost gotten to the point where unless James gets injured, or the Heat some how fall off the face of the planet (you have better odds of winning the Powerball today) this should be LeBron’s fourth MVP. However, 30 games in the NBA is a lot, so let’s take a look at a few that could challenge James.
Kevin Durant (+160)
Obviously the second favorite is Durant, who comes is just over even money at +160. I do think Durant has a little value here, and I do think there is a legitimate way he could beta out Lebron even if James is still having a stellar season. The trick is to just be more stellar. In the NBA, there are few that for an entire season have averaged 50% from the floor, 40% from beyond the arc, and 90% from the free throw line.
Steve Nash did it in one of his MVP seasons, and was damn close in his other one as well. However, Nash was only averaging 15 and 18 points per game during that stretch (only 18, I know). However, if Durant can some how average those numbers, and beat out Lebron and hopefully everyone else and win the scoring title along with it, Durant should win the MVP. Right now Durant is on pace to do just that. He has all the averages he needs, and he is scoring 29.2 points per game, which leads the NBA. Durant would be the first player in NBA history to go 50, 40, and 90, while leading the league in scoring. All I’m saying is, if the writers don’t recognize that, they are blinded by the shiny bandwagon pick of Lebron James. For bettors, the value is most certainly around Durant right now.
Kobe Bryant (+200)
Last but certainly not least is Kobe Bryant. At 2/1 right now, Bryant may be third in line for MVP odds this season, but a Lakers run through this last part of the season could propel him into the conversation. I think he is appropriately priced at +200, but if the Lakers somehow miraculously finish the season at say, 20-8 SU, it will almost certainly because of Kobe Bryant. Right now, I wouldn’t recommend Kobe. However, if the Lakers come out of the break firing, Bryant will be the reason, and he will get the credit if the Lakers pull off something spectacular in the second half. But don’t count on it for your MVP NBA picks.
Chris Paul (+250)
Carmelo Anthony (+120)