After Giannis Antetokounmpo beat out James Harden in a competitive two-man race for the 2018/19 NBA Most Valuable Player award, oddsmakers have made Antetokounmpo the favorite to earn MVP honors again in 2019/20.
BetOnline gives Antetokounmpo +350 odds to win the MVP award next season, meaning you’d have to risk $100 to win $350. Over at Bovada, Giannis is considered an even stronger frontrunner, with +300 odds.
Still, there are plenty of contenders who could spoil an Antetokounmpo repeat. Both Bovada and BetOnline give Stephen Curry the second-best MVP odds, with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard, and Joel Embiid rounding out the top seven candidates.
An MVP case often relies heavily on both team success and narrative, which helped Giannis win the award this past spring — the Bucks won a season-high 60 games thanks in large part to his excellence on both ends of the court. It’s easy to imagine making a similar case for the Greek Freak next year if Milwaukee once again finishes first in the East. On the other hand, if the Sixers grab the No. 1 seed, Embiid might have a stronger case.
In the West, Curry is a popular pick now that Kevin Durant is no longer in the picture, since the league’s premier sharpshooter will be back to carrying the Warriors‘ offensive load like he did during his previous two MVP seasons — his scoring responsibilities will be even greater with Klay Thompson on the shelf for much of the season. Harden, meanwhile, is a perennial contender for the award, and LeBron, AD, and Kawhi could be in the mix if one of the L.A. teams finishes atop the West.
Jokic (+1500 on Bovada, +1600 on BetOnline) is the lone superstar on the Nuggets‘ roster, and after finishing second in the West last season, it wouldn’t be a total shock if Denver takes another step forward and finishes with atop the conference. Jokic, who averaged 20.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 7.3 APG in 2018/19, could theoretically approach a triple-double average and would have a strong case as the clear-cut best player on the West’s best team in that scenario.
Lillard (+2800 on Bovada, +2500 on BetOnline) would probably have to increase his numbers beyond his current career highs of 27.0 PPG and 6.9 APG and count on the Trail Blazers making a similar run to the top of the West in order to be considered a true MVP contender. But that’s not entirely out of the question. At age 29, he’s very much in his prime and may have one more leap left in him.
Finally, while I’m skeptical about his chances to legitimately compete for an MVP award this early in his career, it’s worth noting that Luka Doncic‘s MVP odds on BetOnline are +1600, compared to +5000 on Bovada — the latter is obviously a significant better value if you’re bullish on Doncic’s outlook and want to wager on his MVP chances.
What do you think? Who is your way-too-early pick for the 2020 NBA MVP award? Are there are any dark horses that you like as under-the-radar candidates?
Head to the comment section below to share your two cents!