Early odds for the 2017 Most Valuable Player award have been released by Bovada, and LeBron James landed among the top five, while Kyrie Irving was listed as a longshot to win.
James is at +750, meaning that a bet of $100 for James would pay out $750. It’s not stunning that his odds have been reduced given that the Cavaliers appear to be headed for a turmoil-filled season and might not perform as highly as voters might expect. With that said, if you’re among the Kyrie Irving skeptics of the world and think LeBron could carry the Cavs to more regular season success without him, than an MVP vote could follow suit. James carrying a Westbrook-esque burden would result in some insane numbers if he chooses to chase them.
Irving being listed at +5000 is interesting, given his potential to go to a new team and potentially be successful, but at this price point, only die-hards and fools would vote for him. If he gets traded to a worse team, he’d have to put up some frankly insane numbers to even join the conversation; he’s just not viewed in that light.
Seeing Westbrook as the favorite is surprising, given how much narrative pull he had in the wake of Kevin Durant’s departure. I’d be stunned if he won again, even if he put up the same numbers he did last year, something that will be hard to do given that he’ll have Paul George helping to absorb some of the usage in Oklahoma City. I would’ve expected that he would have an odds dropoff similar to James Harden, who finished second in the vote last year, who will also be playing with a new star teammate in Chris Paul.
Durant could be the sexy pick this season, and with good reason. He was absolutely ludicrous last year, has a ton of narrative pull as the reigning Finals MVP and, a year after his decision to join a 73-win team, will be catching a lot less heat from the media and fans alike as they adjust to the new reality. Steph Curry could be another beneficiary of this at +1100, a pretty good payout for a former two-time MVP.