Virtually No Chance Favored Russell Westbrook Wins NBA MVP in 2017-18

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 3:33 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 3:33 PM UTC

SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks recently released 2017-18 NBA MVP odds. My early thoughts? I see no chance that Russell Westbrook wins it for a second straight year. Let’s break it down.

I think we can all agree that LeBron James remains the best overall player in the NBA. However, the MVP voters don’t always recognize simply the best player. What other reason could there be for Michael Jordan not winning the award every year of his prime? MJ won the award “only” five times, tied for second-most in league history with Bill Russell behind Wilt Chamberlain. When Jordan averaged a career-high 37.1 points in the 1986-87 season, he didn’t win MVP because his Bulls weren’t a powerhouse yet.

(As a quick aside, Jordan played all 82 games eight times in his amazing career – so I don’t want to hear these modern players with their charter flights, etc., complaining about needing game off during the season if healthy.)

Of course, the 2016-17 NBA MVP was Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. Hard to argue that choice as Westbrook had one of the greatest statistical seasons in not just NBA but sports history. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double over a full season, with Russ putting up 31.6 points (first in NBA), 10.4 assists (third) and 10.7 rebounds (10th). That latter stat is the unbelievable once considering Westbrook is a 6-foot-3 point guard. He also broke the Big O’s single-season mark of most triple-doubles with 42.

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The Thunder were 47-35 behind Westbrook in their first season post-Kevin Durant, and Westbrook ranked No. 1 in the league in player efficiency rating at 30.70. Without him, Oklahoma City was probably Orlando last season. Was he a ball-hog? Sure, but what choice did he have?

On Bovada’s NBA odds, Westbrook is the +400 favorite to repeat as MVP next season – and I truly don’t see that happening. It’s simple why: Voters are going to punish Westbrook because there’s no chance he averages a triple-double again. The trade addition of Pacers All-Star Paul George takes some pressure off Westbrook to carry such a massive load. Not living up to unrealistic expectations is why Jordan didn’t win the MVP about 10 times. George, incidentally, is +2500 on this prop.

If you believe Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, LeBron will win his fifth MVP Award this season, and James is +750 to do so. I’m not sure LeBron will play enough regular-season games. He doesn’t mind resting these days to recharge his batteries for the postseason. James played 74 of 82 last year and averaged 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.7 assists -- yet finished fourth in the voting. That’s called LeBron-fatigue from voters.

Golden State’s Durant (+450) and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (+550) are second- and third-favorites. KD could be in line for his best season after the playoffs he had and getting the championship monkey off his back. Leonard finished third in last season’s voting.

James Harden, the 2016-17 runner-up, is +800. His odds likely are hurt by the addition of Chris Paul (+2500), who will siphon off some statistics from the “Beard.”

Free NBA Pick: Durant +450Best Line Offered: Bovada
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