With 20 games remaining in the NBA season, Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo leads the MVP race with LeBron James as his closest contender. According to a recent update by William Hill, the Greek Freak is a huge MVP favorite at 1/7 odds, while LeBron is 9/1 odds to win the NBA MVP.
LeBron won the MVP four times between 2009 and 2013, with 2011 as the sole exception. He won it back-to-back twice in 2009-10, and again in 2012-13.
Last season, the Greek Freak secured his first MVP award, edging out James Harden from the Houston Rockets. Harden averaged a career-high 36.1 ppg during a 2018-19 season in which he put his name next to Wilt Chamberlin’s in the record books.
Harden leads the NBA in scoring once again with 34.9 ppg, but he has the fourth-best MVP odds on the board at 12/1.
2020 NBA MVP ODDS:
Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo 1/7
LeBron James 8/1
Luka Doncic 11/1
James Harden 12/1
Anthony Davis 29/1
Luka Doncic, a triple-double machine with the Dallas Mavericks, is currently third overall according to William Hill’s odds. Doncic is 11/1 odds to win the MVP in his second season in the league.
LeBron’s teammate, Anthony Davis, is 29/1 odds to win the MVP. He’s been a terror on both ends of the court.
Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, and Nikola Jokic are long shots at 50/1 odds each to win the MVP.
B2B MVP for Greek Freak?
Since the start of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks have looked like the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They’ve boasted the best record in the NBA, and had been on pace to secure 70 wins. Only two other teams achieved that rare feat, including the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
The Greek Freak and the Bucks have specific goals in mind by winning the Eastern Conference, advancing to the NBA Finals, and winning the championship. The Bucks are the consensus favorite to win the 2020 NBA Championship. At the same time, the best player on the best team happens to be the runaway favorite to win the MVP.
The Greek Freak (29.6 ppg, 13.8 rebounds), ranks #4 in the NBA in both scoring and rebounding. In terms of advanced metrics, the Greek Freak has a 31.92 PER rating, which is tops in the NBA.
If the Greek Freak wins the MVP again, it will mark back-to-back MVP awards. But the award isn’t as meaningful to him as an NBA championship.
“It’s not important at all,” said Antetokounmpo when asked about back-to-back MVPs.
The Bucks locked up the #1 seed in the east in the 2019 Playoffs. They looked unbeatable in the first two rounds after sweeping the Detroit Pistons (4-0) and knocking out the Boston Celtics in five games (4-1). In the Eastern Conference Finals, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors dominated the Bucks. The Greek Freak faded and disappeared at key moments in the east Finals as the Raptors went on to the NBA Finals.
After failing to secure a spot in the NBA Finals last season, the Bucks are hell-bent on punching their ticket to the 2020 NBA Finals. In the meantime, oddsmakers have the Greek Freak as the obvious NBA MVP winner at 1/7 odds.
LBJ in LA Year 2
What a difference a year makes, eh? In his second season with the LA Lakers (46-13), LeBron James guided the team to the best record in the Western Conference and the second-best record in the NBA.
James has become the NBA’s top passer while averaging 10.6 assists per game. The addition of Anthony Davis has allowed James to become the primary playmaker now that the team doesn’t have to rely on King James to carry the brunt of the offensive workload.
LeBron averages 25.5 ppg, which ties him for 11th in the NBA. His PER rating of 25.68 is ranked #9.
Last season, James played only 55 games while missing 27 games with a groin injury. He averaged 27.4 ppg, 8.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists in his first season with the Lakers. LeBron was a one-man show most of the season before the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis in the offseason.
Recently, LeBron scored a season-high 40 points. He clearly wanted to show rookie Zion Williamson that he’s still the NBA’s alpha dog. The NBA suits would love to see a Zion and LeBron playoff battle in the opening round. If the suits also have their way, then the Greek Freak and LeBron will be squaring off in the 2020 NBA Finals.
You can find LeBron at 7/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA MVP, but it feels like he’s chasing a ghost at this point.