The NBA's Most Valuable Player award may be the most prestigious individual honor in all of sports. The trophy's recipients include a short list of NBA legends, visionaries and all-time greats. Cleveland superstar LeBron James will always be associated with the Maurice Podoloff trophy with four wins in a five-year span, while players like Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry look to make the short list of multiple-time award winners. Others, like James Harden and Anthony Davis are looking to be invited to the MVP dinner table for the first time.
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2015 will be packed with at least five legitimate MVP contenders and maybe a few other surprise candidates. The season is set to begin on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Let's take a closer look at the 2015 MVP odds and figure out the best options to wager on.
LeBron James : +200: James is certainly still the premier player in the NBA, but he is no longer the most popular or loved by fans and the media. Those honors go to players like Curry, Davis and Harden. The MVP is an "in-vogue" award that typically captures what is in style inside the basketball world, and James is no longer what's trending. The "young guns" and new crop of stars is what drives the NBA in 2015, and as much as we might not want to admit it, the MVP award is media award instead of a basketball one.
Prediction : James would have to be spectacular in 2015 to win the honor-something in the range of 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assist with 60-something wins. "The King" simply does not have much value at +200 because the media wants to vote for someone else.
Stephen Curry : +450: Every year there is a default recipient for the award-the player that everyone else needs to match up with in order to steal away the MVP. In the early 90s it was Michael Jordan, over the last eight years it was James, and in 2015 that honor goes to Curry. If the "Splash Brother" can put up his standard 23 points, eight assists and four rebounds while leading the Warriors to another 60-win-or-better season, he is a shoe-in for the award. Do not let the lines fool you; James is the favorite not because the oddsmakers think he is but because the public does.
Prediction : Curry is receiving phenomenal odds at +450 when he should be the favorite. 2015 will be competitive, and Curry has the most value out of the bunch.
Anthony Davis : +500: If you haven't jumped on the Anthony Davis hype-train, now is the time to do so. Most, if not all, NBA pundits believe Davis in the next huge NBA star, and Kevin Durant even called the former Kentucky stand out a future MVP. In 2015, Davis helped spark an 11-game improvement in New Orleans while producing a ridiculous stat line of 24 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and a 30.89 Player Efficiency Rating (which ranked in the Top 10 all time).
Prediction : "The Brow" is a monster and may own the league in a few short years. However, 2015 will only be his fourth year in the NBA, and the young prospect simply does not have enough help to actually win the award.
Kevin Durant : +500: Durant missed most of last season because of foot injuries. The former MVP is said to be fully healthy heading into 2015, but those types of injuries can derail careers and continue to nag players for years on end. Bill Walton, Yao Ming and a host of other players were never the same after suffering multiple foot injuries early in their careers. I am not wishing any of that on Durant but simply saying it might be too early to throw a bet down on the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar.
Prediction : Wagering on Durant is difficult because the presence of Russell Westbrook, another MVP candidate, who has improved so much over the last few seasons. If OKC can get to 60 wins, however, there will be value on the bet.
James Harden : +800: Harden believes that he was last season's MVP, and with a stat line that read: 27 points, seven assists, five rebounds with a 26.76 PER, can anyone really disagree? Harden may be the most important player to his team in the entire NBA, as Houston's offense is reliant on Harden. The Rockets are like a racecar that only one person can drive, and "The Beard" currently has the keys.
Prediction : Harden is another player with excellent value at +800, and he could win this award. The "analytics geeks" in the media will certainly lead toward Harden and everything Houston is doing. The trouble for Harden's candidacy will probably be the team's win total, which would realistically need to be over 60, for him to win the award.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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