Giannis Antetokounmpo may not want anyone calling him this for the next year, but the Milwaukee Bucks star holds the distinction of being the league MVP following his torrid 2018-19 campaign. If you ask oddsmakers, heading into the 2019-20 season, he is the favorite to defend his crown and become the first back-to-back MVP since Steph Curry.
With the obvious caveat that there’s a lot that can happen between now and the start of the upcoming season, Antetokounmpo sits at 3/1 to win the award once again at BetOnline. He’s followed closely by the man who last did this, as Curry boasts 5/1 odds to capture his third MVP award. The rest of the top-five is rounded out by the guy from whom Antetokounmpo won the award this past season, James Harden (7/1), the reigning NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard (8/1), and a four-time league MVP, LeBron James (9/1).
The upcoming season’s MVP race has the potential to be one for the ages. Between the fact that there has been so much movement league-wide with superstars teaming up at an insane rate and the rise in players liberally resting during the regular season with an eye on the playoffs, trying to identify who will be named the most valuable player and where the value lies in these odds is really tough.
Still, all three of the players with the best odds make a ton of sense — Antetokounmpo and Harden aren’t players who really miss a ton of games, and while Curry is a slightly bigger risk to be sidelined, if the Warriors stay afloat following Kevin Durant’s departure and Klay Thompson’s torn ACL, he is going to be the biggest reason why. This is also what makes, say, Damian Lillard (25/1) an interesting value bet, because he won’t miss a ton of action and Portland should be good once again this season.