NBA Futures Props Betting: MVP Award Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/27/2010
The NBA season tipped off on Tuesday night, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be on most NBA futures props. And one I’d like to address today seems like a no-brainer: the regular-season NBA MVP award.
The Association is a completely star-driven league, and that has been borne out when looking at previous MVP winners. I mean, look at the list of past winners and tell me which of these guys wasn’t already a superstar. OK, maybe Steve Nash wasn’t a huge star when he won the first of his consecutive awards in 2005, but every other player is pretty much either a Hall of Famer or will be eventually. This isn’t baseball where a guy can come out of nowhere and win the MVP award or Cy Young.
So with that said, let’s take a look at the five favorites and their odds from BetUS and some predictions as well as a long shot who might – might -- have a chance at this.
Kevin Durant (+200): The MVP award is basically a popularity contest. And following LeBron James’ ill-fated “Decision” and the fact it’s perceived like he bailed on the good people of Cleveland, no player is more revered in the NBA right now than Durant, who almost seems too good to be true.
While LeBron was stealing the headlines this summer, Durant quietly signed his own long-term deal to stay with the Thunder. And when Sports Illustrated wanted to put Durant – and not the superpower Heat – on their NBA preview issue, Durant would only agree if they also included Thabo Sefolosha and Nenad Krstic on the cover with him. There examples of this selflessness coming out almost daily.
Oh, and the guy can play. He’s the reigning NBA scoring leader, the youngest player to ever do that. And he was brilliant in leading Team USA to gold at the World Championships this summer. Not to mention his team is the hot young club right now.
Everything is set up for Durant to win this other than maybe the fact the Thunder still won’t get anywhere near the press of the Heat, Celtics or Lakers, among other teams.
Kobe Bryant (+300): All you need to know about LeBron’s declining popularity is that Kobe has shorter odds than James does – and Kobe has been terrible this preseason and is still not quite 100 percent after offseason knee surgery. Plus, Phil Jackson swears he will limit Kobe’s minutes this year to keep him fresh for what really matters: another ring. It’s still hard to believe Kobe has won only one of these awards, but he’s happy to keep taking home the NBA Finals MVPs, as he has the past two seasons. I don’t think this is good value at all because it’s a regular-season award.
LeBron James (+350): There’s little doubt he’s the best all-around player in the NBA and is the two-time MVP winner. But as I mentioned above, James is going to have to be a monster statistically this season to win back some voters. And certainly if he helps lead the Heat to 73 wins, then it’s going to be hard to not give it to James.
But his points per game really have to go down with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh stealing shots. Of course, his assists will probably go way up as he takes more of a distributor role. No player has won three straight MVPs since Larry Bird. LeBron won’t either.
Dwight Howard (+650): This might be pretty good value, especially if the Magic somehow finish ahead of the Heat in the Southeast Division. You know Howard is going to have monster defensive numbers (rebounds, blocks) and probably win Defensive Player of the Year again, but he also reportedly has a new array of offensive moves thanks to working with Hakeem Olajuwon this offseason. I like this bet.
Dwyane Wade (+800): Wade has been immune to all the LeBron criticism because he obviously didn’t leave a team looking for a title – he stayed put. Wade did play at an MVP-level the last time he had good talent around him, leading the Heat to their first NBA title. But, again, are there enough balls to go around to give Wade the stats necessary?
Rajon Rondo (+3000): Here’s my one long-shot bet. You could argue that Rondo also won’t do enough statistically with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on the team, but do you remember some of the things Rondo did in last year’s playoffs? He dominated at times. The Celtics will be on national TV about as much as the Heat and this is now Rondo’s team. If the Celtics can finish with the regular season’s best record ahead of Miami, Rondo could steal this.
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