Last season Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry averaged 30.1 points, 6.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game en route to the first unanimous NBA MVP in league history. This was the second consecutive MVP Award for Curry, who had the second-best odds (+650) before the start of the season.
The table below displays the past ten MVP winners along with their odds to win the award prior to the season. (Historical odds via SportsOddsHistory.com)
|2015-16||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||+650|
|2014-15||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||+4000|
|2013-14||Kevin Durant||Oklahoma City Thunder||+300|
|2012-13||LeBron James||Miami Heat||+160|
|2011-12||LeBron James||Miami Heat||+250|
|2010-11||Derrick Rose||Chicago Bulls||+2500|
|2009-10||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers||+275|
|2008-09||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers||+250|
|2007-08||Kobe Bryant||Los Angeles Lakers||+500|
|2006-07||Dirk Nowitzki||Dallas Mavericks||+700|
On Wednesday (7/6) afternoon, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power released odds for the 2016-17 NBA MVP with Stephen Curry (+250) listed as the favorite. That would be a remarkable achievement considering that only three players (Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell) have won the MVP in three consecutive seasons. The following day, 5Dimes posted MVP odds for seven players.
With Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors, Russell Westbrook is now front and center as the face of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Based on his past performance with Durant out of the lineup, it was always safe to assume that Westbrook would post an impressive stat line this season.
The table below displays Westbrook’s statistics with and without Kevin Durant in the lineup entering the 2016-17 season.
Last season Westbrook nearly averaged a triple-double with 23.5 points, 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game, and oddsmakers safely assumed that his usage rate and output would increase dramatically without Durant in the fold. That explained why Westbrook opened with the second-best odds of winning the MVP Award.
It’s also worth noting that after Westbrook signed his extension with the Thunder, his odds of winning the MVP Award improved from +410 to +340 at 5Dimes. Similarly, his odds of winning the scoring title jumped from +150 to +105. This movement caused Westbrook to leapfrog Curry as the favorite to win the MVP Award.
After four months of action, there have been several players who saw their odds jump substantially including the two front-runners: James Harden and Westbrook. Stephen Curry, who opened as the MVP favorite at Paddy Power, is currently listed as a 40/1 long shot.
In the 1961–62 season, Oscar Robertson became the first and only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season, with 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists. At the time of publication, Westbrook was averaging a triple double with 31.0 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 10.3 APG. Despite those impressive stats, Harden (28.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 11.3 APG) jumped Westbrook as the MVP favorite back in mid-January.
In recent weeks, one of the more interesting storylines has been the emergence of Celtics star Isaiah Thomas. The 5’9″ guard has set the league on fire, averaging 29.6 points/game and 6.2 assists/game while leading Boston to the second-best record (38-22) in the Eastern Conference. After being listed as a 150/1 long shot on January 11, Thomas now has the third-best odds at +450.
The table below compares the latest MVP odds at 5Dimes, Bovada, and Paddy Power. We will update this table as new information becomes available.
|Player||BetOnline (2/28)||BetOnline (2/14)||Paddy Power (2/6)||Paddy Power (1/11)||Bovada (1/5)||Paddy Power (12/20)||Paddy Power (11/29)||Paddy Power (11/9)||5Dimes (10/26)||5Dimes (10/11)||5Dimes (8/17)||5Dimes (7/7)||Paddy Power (7/6)|
|Karl Anthony Towns||N/A||N/A||N/A||+17500||N/A||+6600||+6600||+6600||+2500||+4500||+4250||+4250||+4000|
The section below was originally published on July 7, 2016.
The most interesting takeaway is that six of the top seven MVP candidates reside in the Western Conference. Personally, I think that the Warriors will easily win the Western Conference but Curry and Durant will split the votes. For that reason, there could be some value on LeBron James.
The Westgate Superbook lists the Cleveland Cavaliers as -400 favorites to win the Eastern Conference, and the MVP Award has typically been awarded to the best player for the top-seeded playoff team. Considering that LeBron finally brought a championship to Cleveland yet most of the off-season discussion has centered on Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors, I believe King James will be extra motivated this season.
Last year LeBron was +250 to win the MVP before the start of the season, which makes those +525 odds look mighty tasty. Eight of the past ten award winners opened the season listed at +700 or lower, which also bodes well for the Finals MVP.
Every member of the Warriors should see their numbers dip slightly with the addition of Durant, whereas the Cavaliers will return essentially the same core minus Matthew Dellavedova. Quite frankly, I think Kevin Durant aided James’ quest to win his fifth NBA Most Valuable Player award.
If you’re looking for longer odds and a greater potential payout, Damian Lillard is an intriguing option at +2750. Last season the Weber State product averaged 25.1 points and 6.8 assists per game while helping the Blazers defy expectations with 44 regular season wins and a fifth-place finish in the Western Conference. Assuming he continues to improve and Portland takes another step forward, Lillard could be a viable MVP candidate.