Basketball Betting Analysis Highlights: 2016-17 NBA MVP Race Odds
NBA MVP OddsRussell Westbrook Even
James Harden +160
LeBron James +550
Kawhi Leonard +900
Kevin Durant +1100
Steph Curry +2200
Anthony Davis +3000
DeMar DeRozan +5000
Damian Lillard +6600
Giannis Antetokounmpo +8000
Jimmy Butler +8000
Isaiah Thomas +10000
Kyle Lowry +10000
John Wall +15000
DeMarcus Cousins +15000
Despite the length of the NBA MVP Odds list, the fact of the matter is that, right now, the 2017 MVPP race is really a two-man sprint to the finish line between Oklahoma City Thunder point guard and Houston Rockets floor leader James Harden. Of course, it’s still very early and things could change over the course of the second half of the season, but as it currently stands, Westbrook and Harden are heads and shoulders above everyone else on this list.
In the case of LeBron James, the leader of the Cleveland Cavaliers is a player that could win the MVP award each and every season. However, a case ca be made that Kyrie Irving, not James is now the best – or at least – the most important – player on Cleveland’s roster. Why Irving isn’t listed above is beyond me, but he should be on the list and you can certainly place a wager on him if you like. Still, he and James are both firmly behind Harden and Westbrook in terms of the MVP race.
As far as Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are concerned, the winners of the last three MVP awards are likely fighting a winless battle in terms of winning the league MVP, mostly because they play with each other and two other all-stars that force the pair to share shot attempts. If I had to place a wager on a longshot selection, it would probably go to Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who if you really want to make a case about it, is probably more value to his team’s success than any other star on this list.
Thomas has been absolutely phenomenal for Boston this season and is detrimental to Boston’s chances of winning, seeing as how the C’s don’t have another legitimate scoring threat on their roster. Now, getting back to Harden and Westbrook, I think Thursday night’s showdown between the two former Thunder teammates highlights my thought process perfectly.
Harden is averaging a stellar 28.3 points, 8.2 re bounds and a league-leading 11.9 assists per game while Westbrook is averaging 31.4 points, 10.5 boards and 10.3 assists per game. On Thursday night, Westbrook scored a whopping 38 points while dishing out five assists and pulling down eight rebounds. Harden, on the other hand, finished the night with 26 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.
While it would appear as if Westbrook is doing more to help his team win games, I believe it is actually James Harden that has had the more profound effect on his team after moving to point guard. Case in point, Westbrook scored 38 points, but took a whopping 34 shots to get it while the other four starters on Oklahoma City took a combined 37 shots in the Thunder’s heartbreaking 118-116 loss.
Conversely, while Harden scored a dozen fewer points than Westbrook, his 12 assists also helped to account for a true total of being responsible for 54 points. Right now, I’m going on record to say that Harden’s ability to get his teammates involved while helping them raise the level of their individual and collective play is far more meaningful to Houston’s success than Westbrook’s contributions have been to Oklahoma City’s.
Just think, if Westbrook gave up a few more shots per game, clearly gifted center Steven Adams could be making the bigger offensive impact that everyone expected out of him this season following Durant’s departure from Oklahoma City. Right now, my money is on James Harden, though it could be subject to change in the near future.