Shane Lambert takes another look at the NBA Season MVP betting and Russell Westbrook is a compelling bet with his dominating play this season.
A few months ago I took a look at the NBA MVP market well ahead of the regular season. I reasoned that Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs was too long at 25/1 with BetVictor based in part on the fact that he was in his prime and that he finished 2nd last season in the MVP voting. Leonard is now 13/2 for a best price with bet365, so I think that anyone that took him at 25s has to be happy. However, Russell Westbrook's stats seem to have benefited immensely from being the only star on his team. He and another player are the ones that I would recommend adding in the MVP market right now.
Westbrook is currently averaging an amazing triple-double for points, rebounds, and assists at 30.9, 10.3, and 11.3 per game. That's through 19 games of the season now so we aren't really dealing with a small sample space. If he keeps that kind of production up over the season then he will be impossible for the voters to ignore when it comes to the MVP Award. Interestingly enough Sekou Smith, writing at NBA.com on November 13th, said that that "Russell Westbrook stood out most as new MVP chase (began)."
Westbrook's spiking stats are certainly in part due to reliance. Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City and that leaves Westbrook as the focal point for offensive touches. Unfortunately, his odds in the MVP market certainly aren't long with many sportsbooks, like bet365, offering something shorter than 2/1. That's not touchable in my view as the market is several months away from being resolved (ie. you have to bet a lot to make things interesting and wait a long time for the settle date). However, 888Sport offer 4/1 still, odds that are out of line with what the other sportsbooks are offering.
For a long-shot dabble, Anthony Davis is out at 25s with 888Sport. He currently leads the association in scoring at 32.1 points per game and at long odds, that's good enough for me. That could get him some MVP votes and it's possible that Westbrook gets injured. It seems like a smart move to have the leading scorer in the league at lengthy odds, regardless of his team's situation. Davis is the only player in the top ten for rebounding average right now that has better than 22 points per game for a scoring average to go with it.
I don't think second-favorite Lebron James is touchable at 11/2 with bet365. That betting line is kind of like Serena Williams being the favorite for the Australian Open: punters go with familiarity before thinking things through. Lebron is down the list when it comes to scoring, boards, and assists. If there was another dabble to consider I think it would be James Harden, however I'm not buying 15/2 on him. The MVP Award is a subjective one, Harden isn't well liked, he seems like a selfish teammate, and those factors could work against him.
3-pt bet on Russell Westbrook to win the MVP Award at 4/1 with 888Sport
0.75-pt bet on Anthony Davis to win the MVP Award at 25/1 with 888Sport