With a vast majority of the NBA’s wheeling and dealing complete, it’s time to set our sights on the upcoming season and begin plotting on a few betting lines to cash in on. One of the most compelling offseason lines surrounds the 2019-20 MVP race.
The winner of last year’s award is once again the frontrunner as Giannis Antetokounmpo is the favorite at +300. This is for good reason considering that he’s only 24 and will continue to improve on last year’s monster season averages of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. What makes the case for Giannis to repeat compelling is that there is no superstar on that Bucks team who can or will shoulder the load like “The Greek Freak’ will have to in order to put Milwaukee back in position to compete for an NBA title.
To many, Steph Curry being at a +500 may come as a bit of a surprise. However, when you consider the circumstances surrounding the upcoming season of the Golden State Warriors, there’s very good reason why the two-time MVP could find himself right back in the thick of things. Obviously, the primary reason is that Curry will find himself without both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson for next season as the former opted to sign with the Nets and the latter is out due to injury. Even though the Warriors signed D’Angelo Russell, Curry will be responsible for just how well this team performs. Expectations aren’t high and this will be the first season in nearly half a decade when the Warriors are actually regarded as an underdog team.
The interesting thing is that people tend to forget that both of Curry’s MVP seasons came before Kevin Durant arrived and he was putting up astronomical numbers. In the seasons with Durant, Curry opted to allow Durant to shoulder a lot of the burden but won’t have the option this year. He’s still the best shooter in the game and if the Warriors manage to find themselves in the upper crust of a suddenly loaded Western Conference, the 31-year-old could be in a position to take home his third trophy.
If there’s one drawback, it’s that Curry isn’t quite as well rounded as Giannis and the counting stats on the defensive end don’t come close to what The Greek Freak is capable of putting together on both ends of the floor. If it’s a close race, Giannis could edge Curry out due to his huge advantage in racking up rebounds and blocks.
Kawhi Leonard (+700), LeBron James (+700), Anthony Davis (+1000) and Paul George (+1400) all essentially cancel each other out as one winning will have a lot to do with their teammate. The Clippers new addition of Leonard and George will share equal blame whether the team wins or loses. The same will be said about LeBron and Davis in Laker uniforms. MVP voters will certainly split the baby on those two while others will opt for a player who won’t have the luxury to take a night off and let their superstar teammate shoulder the load.
James Harden (+550) will always be in the race due to his ridiculously effective offense. However, with the addition of Russell Westbrook, his chances of competing for another MVP took a significant blow. He’s going to score… a lot. But the days of him averaging a near triple-double might be numbered with Westbrook in town.
If you’re looking for a dark horse, look no further than Damian Lillard at +2500. The Blazers have improved but are in a crowded Western Conference where most eyes will be on the Battle of Los Angeles. However, with Lillard’s insane playoff run still on the minds of many, the 6th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft has the opportunity to explode in the upcoming season.
His scoring average may have come down a bit due to having to share the ball with the often-overlooked CJ McCollum, but he’s showing improvement as a team leader and in just about every other statistical category. His wildly competitive spirit will see him going head to head with the biggest stars of the league and there’s a strong segment of fans who are looking forward to Lillard taking over as the best point guard in the NBA. This could very well be his year to dominate and if he can lead the Blazers back to a top 3 seed, there will certainly be MVP votes coming his way.