With votes now in for NBA awards, it appears that oddsmakers believe more than ever that Milwaukee Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo is taking home a second straight Most Valuable Player Award.
The deadline for ballots to be submitted to the NBA was Tuesday, two days before the league restarted the season following its four-plus month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any stats accumulated or accomplishments achieved at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando obviously won't have an impact on awards voting.
The result is that MVP contenders such as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic won't be able to improve their cases for overtaking Antetokounmpo.
And likely because voting is complete, most major sites that offered wagering on NBA MVP are no longer posting odds or taking bets on the award as of Thursday. But for those who did place their bets in time, odds are they put their money on the reigning MVP.
According to SportsBettingDime.com, Antetokounmpo's average odds for winning the MVP soared from -950 to -3300 in recent weeks. As of Wednesday, PointsBet had Antetokounmpo at -5000, and FanDuel had him at -2400, per ActionNetwork.com.
James was the second favorite at both books, 1200 at PointsBet, 1100 at FanDuel. PointsBet had Harden, Doncic and Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard all at 8000. Doncic and Harden were both listed at 8000 by FanDuel, with Leonard at 9500.
When the NBA season was halted on March 11, Antetokounmpo ranked third in the league in both scoring (29.6 points per game) and rebounding (13.7 boards per game). His Milwaukee Bucks had the NBA's best record, 53-12.
James, the NBA assist leader at 10.6 per game, was averaging 25.7 points. Harden was the league's scoring leader at 34.4 points per game. Doncic was sixth in scoring (28.7 ppg) and fourth in assists (8.7 per game).
--Field Level Media