Odds to Win 2020 NBA MVP

Who is the best player in the NBA? That’s an impossible question. But every spring, a panel of 100 writers and broadcasters from across the US and Canada (plus one online ballot, filled out collectively by NBA fans) vote on who they think was the league’s Most Valuable Player during the regular season. It’s still a difficult question, but by the time everyone votes, they’ve usually worked out the answer.

Last year, the answer was Giannis Antetokounmpo. The “Greek God” had a brilliant regular season for the Milwaukee Bucks, and earned 78 first-place votes (panelists vote on their top five choices); James Harden of the Houston Rockets scooped up the remaining votes. Odds to win 2020 NBA MVP honors are on the board right now at Bovada Sportsbook, and Antetokounmpo remains the favorite at press time – but can he hold off the other top contenders? We’ll break the field down into three betting tiers and see.

2020 NBA MVP Favorites

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (+300)

The Toronto Raptors showed everyone how to contain Antetokounmpo during the Eastern Conference Finals. However, he’s still a developing player at age 24, and easily the focal point of a Bucks team that will lean on their prize asset during the regular season.

2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (+550)

With Kevin Durant gone to the Brooklyn Nets, and Klay Thompson out for maybe the entire season with a torn ACL, Curry will get a chance to remind voters why he was named MVP in 2015 and 2016. He still has a quality supporting cast with Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell; depth will be a concern, though.

3. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (+700)

Many fans and voters still think James is the best player in the NBA, but he’s poison when it comes to 2020 NBA MVP betting. Even if you ignore his age and health concerns, this is a regular-season award, and James will be focused on elevating his game for the playoffs. 

3. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers (+700)

Now that he’s joined the Lakers, Anthony Davis will have to split votes with James. When you’re considering how to bet on 2020 NBA MVP candidates, steer clear of situations where more than one superstar is sharing the load – even if James says that the offence in LA will flow through Davis.

2020 NBA MVP Contenders

1. James Harden, Houston Rockets (+800)

Which brings us to Harden. He would have made a deserving repeat MVP after winning the award in 2017-18, but now that former MVP Russell Westbrook (+1400) has replaced Chris Paul, who slipped from superstar to mere All-Star last year, Harden will have fewer opportunities to carry the Rockets on his back.

2. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers (+1000)

Leonard is another player with multiple red flags on the 2020 NBA MVP odds board. He treats the regular season as if it were practice for the playoffs – and rightly so. On top of that, Leonard has another MVP candidate next to him in Paul George (+1600) now that both of them have moved “home” to Los Angeles.

2020 NBA MVP Underdogs

1. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (+2800)

Easily the best player on the Trail Blazers, Lillard has the offensive game that voters crave – even if his defensive limitations are obvious. Playing in one of the NBA’s outposts won’t help Lillard’s visibility, though; he finished a distant sixth in MVP voting last year. At least the Blazers are coming off a deep run in the Western Conference playoffs where Lillard had his time in the spotlight.

2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (+3000)

Towns is one of the most gifted players on this list of 2020 NBA MVP favorites. He’s improved his level of play every year since joining the league in 2015. With Andrew Wiggins fading into the background, if Towns can get Minnesota back into the playoffs, he’ll earn some votes – but that’s a big “if” with this team.

3. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat (+7500)

Finally, Butler has the situation he wants. He’s the new leader of this Miami team, and if he can get his level of play back up to where it was with the Chicago Bulls three years ago, Butler has enough talent surrounding him to put the Heat in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. It’s a long shot, but difficult to pass up at these odds.