The MVP is the highest individual award given out annually by the National Basketball Association ( NBA ). It is given to the best performing player during a given NBA season. There are no specific criteria for coming up with the winner. The award is voted upon by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters across the United States.

This year’s MVP will be announced on Monday, June 25th at 9 PM (ET) during the NBA Awards 2018 show. Let’s take a look at who are the favorites to win this year’s NBA MVP award.

Early Favorites

Before the season began, LeBron James was the oddsmakers choice at +400. James shared that top spot with the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard while Kevin Durant was third at +450 and Westbrook fourth at +500. But as the season has progressed, plenty has changed.

Leonard has played just 9 games this season due to a quad injury. Westbrook’s numbers haven’t been the same, mainly because of the arrival of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City. James and Durant are still considered 1 and 2, the best players in the planet but this year has belonged to James Harden and the Houston Rockets who had the best regular season record in the NBA this season at 65-17.

As of the latest odds from BetOnline ( given last March 3rd ), here are the oddsmakers latest favorites to win the 2018 NBA MVP Award:

  • James Harden -290
  • LeBron James +275
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo +1400
  • Stephen Curry +2000
  • Kyrie Irving +2000
  • Kevin Durant +2000
  • Russell Westbrook +2200
  • Anthony Davis +2500
  • Chris Paul +3300

Those are the oddsmakers’ choice. Now here are our top five picks to win the NBA MVP award for the 2017-18 season:

1. James Harden

This is the Year of the Beard no doubt about that. Where do we start? Harden led the NBA in scoring at 30.4 points per game and was third in assists at 8.8 dimes per contest. He also led the league in free throws made ( 624 ), three-pointers made ( 265 ) and player efficiency rating.

Want more? Advanced statistics say Harden led the NBA in win shares (15.4 ), offensive win shares ( 11.2 ), win shares per 48 minutes ( .289 ) and box plus/minus ( 10.9 ). Still not enough? Harden led the league this season with four 50 point games, including the NBA’s first ever 60 point triple-double on January 30, 2018.

Numbers aside, James Harden carried the Rockets when Chris Paul was hurt. When Paul returned, he made them even better. His playmaking skills have made the likes of P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah Moute look good and guys like Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon look better.

In the NBA’s three-point era, Harden’s regular season statline of 30 PPG/ 8 APG / 5 RPG has only been matched twice before: by Russell Westbrook in 2017 and Michael Jordan in 1989. The Beard finished second to Russell Westbrook during last year’s MVP voting. This is Harden’s revenge year. Last year’s bridesmaid is likely this year’s bride.

2. LeBron James

When he was asked last month, LeBron James said he’d vote for himself as the 2018 MVP. While that may have sounded self-serving at first, it’s hard to argue with him, not just because he is King but because of how he’s played this season.

Like any machine, the human body is subject to wear and tear. The more mileage you’ve had, the slower you are supposed to be. LeBron James is a machine but he’s one like no other because after completing 15 NBA seasons, the King seems to be getting better and better. Now 33, James is playing as well as he’s ever had. And he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

James finished the regular season with averages of 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game. 9.1 assists per game is a career high for King James while his rebounding average tied a career-best too. Meanwhile, James’ scoring average is his highest since 2010 when he was on his first tour of duty with the Cavaliers. Talk about playing in your 15th season.

This season, James became the 7th player in the history of the NBA to score 30,000 career points. He is the youngest player to achieve that milestone. This year too, he became the first player in the history of the league to score 30,000 points, grab 8,000 rebounds and hand out 8,000 assists, putting himself on a pedestal all by himself.

3. Anthony Davis

When the New Orleans Pelicans lost All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending Achilles injury on January 26, 2018, they were given up for dead. But instead of just giving up on their season, the Pelicans fought back behind their young superstar Anthony Davis.

Since January 26th, Davis is the only player in the league to average at least 30 points per game at 30.1 PPG. Over that period, Davis also averaged 11.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 3.2 blocks per game. He also shot the ball at a high 51.2% from the floor and 33.3% from behind the three-point arc.

Because of his exploits, Davis was named as the Western Conference Player for the months of February and March 2018, beating out the likes of James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard for the said honors.

Davis was especially exceptional in the month of February where he averaged 35.9 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game while shooting 50.9% from the field and 34.2% from behind the three-point line. With those numbers, Davis became the second player in NBA history to average at least 35 points and 10 rebounds in one calendar month.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak continued his ascent to NBA superstardom. After winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2017, Antetokounmpo got better the following season. He posted career highs in points ( 26.9 PPG ) and rebounds ( 10.0 RPG ). Antetokounmpo also had 42 double-doubles this season, 10 more than his previous career best.

Giannis started the season hot. His first four games scoring a total of 147 points was one point better than the franchise record set by Kareem Abdul Jabbar in 1971. A game later, Antetokounmpo’s first five games total of 175 points, 53 rebounds, and 28 assists were better than anybody else in the history of the NBA.

After being named as an All-Star starter this season, Antetokounmpo became the first player in Bucks’ history since Marques Johnson in 1979-80 to start on two consecutive All-Star games.

Last season, Antetokounmpo became the first player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks during the same season. This year, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in the same departments except in shot blocks.

5. Damian Lillard

The surprise rise of the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of the season put Damian Lillard in MVP conversation. And rightfully so, because winning time in Portland is Dame Time.

Lillard ranked 4th in the NBA in scoring during the regular season, producing 26.9 points per game. At 6-3, Lillard and Kyrie Irving ( ranked 8th ) are the shortest players in the Top 10 of the NBA’s scoring list. Dame was also 10th in assists this season, averaging 6.6 dimes per game. But what makes Lillard really stand out is his advanced statistics.

Dame ranked 5th in win shares, behind Harden, Karl Anthony Towns, LeBron and A.D. He also ranked third in the offensive box plus/minus (behind Steph Curry and James Harden ) and fourth in offensive win shares ( behind Harden, Bron, and KAT ).

Like Anthony Davis, Lillard entered the MVP race in February where the Blazers made a run for home-court advantage in the playoffs. Portland broke open what was once a tight battle for the third seed in the West. Lillard was the catalyst, averaging 31.4 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.0 rebounds during the second calendar month of the year.

The 2018 NBA MVP Is…

Many say that the 2018 NBA MVP race has been narrowed down to James Harden and LeBron James and that may be the case. Not only did both put up impressive statistics and break several NBA records this season, they were able to make the most impact in their respective teams.

If given the chance to pick between Harden and James, we’d pick Harden not only because he has better numbers but because his team achieved more success than James’ squad. Sure, everyone says Harden’s job is easier because he has Chris Paul, but remember that when CP3 was hurt, Harden proved he can carry the Rockets on his back.

This year is the Year of the Beard and James Harden will be the next NBA MVP.

Place Your Bet Here

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *