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Odds to Win NBA MVP: Giannis Now An Odds-On Favorite

NBA MVP BETTING ODDS January 1 2020 Giannis Antetokounmpo

As the calendar flips from 2019 to 2020, one thing remains consistent in the NBA and that’s the unstoppable force of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak is the reigning regular-season Most Valuable Player and oddsmakers have installed him as an odds-on favorite to repeat.

Online sportsbook Bovada has Antetokounmpo as a -125 fave at the 35-game mark with the Bucks leading the NBA standings at 30-5 SU. Next on the list is Dallas Mavericks wunderkind Luka Doncic at +375. The Slovenian Slinger has the Mavs in contention for the postseason and is third in both points and assists per game.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an MVP race without Houston Rockets guard James Harden, who has either won or finished second in the voting for this award in four of the last five seasons. Harden leads the NBA in scoring and has the Rockets in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Why Giannis Is The Favorite

With less talent around him this season and somehow still carrying the Bucks to the best record in the NBA, the fact remains that this award is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s to lose. The Greek Freak is coming off an MVP season in which the Bucks also had the best record in the league but he’s bettered his numbers in nearly every statistical category.

Three-point shooting percentage is a key stat to look at as he’s shooting a career-best 32.7 percent from deep on 5.1 attempts per game, both career highs. Last season, he shot 25.6 percent from behind the arc and got exposed in the 2019 postseason by the Toronto Raptors when they dared him to shoot.

I was dubious he could repeat because award voters typically like to go with the best story but the fact that he’s outdoing last year’s efforts while keeping the Bucks at the top of the standings makes it nearly impossible to fade him in this spot.

Does Luka Or Harden Have A Shot?

Barring injury, the chances of Luka Doncic or James Harden winning the Most Valuable Player Award are slim, despite the odds sportsbooks will give you for this prop.

The fact remains that both Dallas and Houston play in the Western Conference that is still better top to bottom than the East, which means Doncic and Harden have to play tougher opponents over the course of the season. Giannis has to play some tough teams too but a big chunk of the Milwaukee schedule comes against chumpy teams.

However, that narrative could be flipped if Dallas or Houston gets hot and moves up in the standings. The Mavs and Rockets are only a few games behind the Lakers for the top spot in the West.

But I still think this is one year too early for Doncic to win this award. So, if I had to choose, I’d take Harden over Doncic. The Beard just needs to have another month like he did last season when he averaged over 40 points per game (which doesn’t seem far-fetched) to re-establish the debate from last year when voters were torn between Giannis and Harden.

Take Harden at +550 and pray he decides to shoot 20 three-pointers per game while Giannis gets hurt. It’s your only option unless you want to lay -125 odds with the Greek Freak.

Check out our NBA championship odds page for the most up-to-date odds and analysis.

2019-20 NBA Most Valuable Player Award Odds
Giannis Antetokounmpo-125
Luka Doncic+375
James Harden+550
LeBron James+800
Anthony Davis+1000
Kawhi Leonard+2500
Joel Embiid+3500
Paul George+3500
Nikola Jokic+5000
Pascal Siakam+5500
Russell Westbrook+7000
Karl-Anthony Towns+7000
Damian Lillard+7000
Kyrie Irving+8000

Odds as of January 1 at  Bovada

How to Read NBA MVP Odds

When you visit your betting site of choice, you’ll notice the odds for NBA MVP laid out like this:

Giannis Antetokounmpo +300

Steph Curry +550

LeBron James +650

Anthony Davis +700

Unlike a moneyline bet where favorites are shown by the minus sign (-) and underdogs have a plus sign (+), the player with the lowest odds is the fave. In this scenario it’s Giannis.

If you were to bet on which player will be named MVP, you would make a futures bet.

What is a Futures Bet?

This is a bet made on events that will happen in time. In this case, it’s MVP. To make a futures bet you would first use the handicapping info on this page to make your decision. Let’s say you feel strongly about Giannis’ chances and you have $75 to wager. A winning bet would give you a payout of $300 – you get your $75 back along with your prize of $225.

If you think Anthony Davis is going to have an incredible showing this season with career highs of 70 points per game, that same $75 bet on him would give you a payout of $600 – your $75 is returned along with your winnings of $525. Our Odds Calculator can give you an idea of how much you’d win based on the MVP odds and the amount of money you bet.

The odds will change throughout the season as players succumb to injuries or improve their skills on the court. But, if you take a player at +400, and at the end of the season their odds changed to +200, your payout (if you win your bet) will reflect the original odds. Another thing to keep in mind that with futures bets, your money is tied up until the end of June when the NBA’s MVP award is given out.