After crossing the midway point of the NBA basketball season, it’s a great time to take a look at some NBA award predictions for the league’s most prominent post-season awards, which will be given out at the end of the season. In some cases, there is a clear cut favorite. In other cases, the field of possibilities seems to be wide opened. While looking over this analysis, you might want to keep in mind that some online sportsbooks are offering NBA prop bets for awards such as odds to win NBA MVP. If you are interested in NBA MVP betting, the following analysis could be helpful.
NBA MVP Award Prediction
To be considered an MVP candidate at this point in the season, the NBA MVP odds would most likely be determined by a player’s overall contribution to a team that finds itself in contention for a playoff spot. While this approach might seem to slight players with big stats who just happen to be playing for teams that are struggling, the reality is a player’s contribution is only significant if makes a difference, and in the NBA, winning is that difference. Here a list of current MVP candidates in alphabetical order.
Stephen Curry (Guard, Golden State Warriors)
If making odds to win NBA MVP, Curry would have to be listed as the favorite. As the league’s reigning MVP, Curry has succeeded is upping his game another notch in the 2015-16 season. He is currently leading the league in scoring (29.8 PPG), free throw percentage (91.3) and 3-point field goals with 235. While he has dropped a little in assists, Carry has increased his scoring by 6.0 PPG over 2014-15 while shooting over 50% from the field for the first time in his career. Numbers aside, it’s the way he totally disrupts defensive schemes that makes him one of the most unique players to come around in years. MVP Odds: 1-1
Kevin Durant (Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder)
One has to be careful to make sure the NBA MVP odds on a given player reflects that player’s contribution regardless of who else might be playing on the same team. Some experts might argue it’s hard to select Durant because of the presence of All-Star Guard Russell Westbrook on the same team. In most years, Westbrook would be an MVP candidate in his own right. However, Durant is leading the Thunder (3rd in the Western conference) in both scoring (27.7 PPG) and assists (7.3 APG). He is also shooting over 50% from the field with 8.1 RPG (career high) and 1.2 blocks per game. By improving his play on the defensive end of the court, Durant has become a complete player destined for the Hall of Fame. MVP Odds: 2-1
James Harden (Guard, Houston Rockets)
Harden has quietly turned himself into one of the best players in the NBA. He has improved his scoring and rebounding every year since coming into the NBA and currently ranks second in the league in scoring at 27.8 PPG. One of his most impressive attributes is his ability to get to the foul line as a guard. He currently leads the league in free throws made (8.8 per game) and is tied for the league lead in free throw attempts (10.1 per game). For an encore, he rebounds, sets up his teammates and runs the court very well. As for his value to the Rockets, the team really struggled through the first two months of the season. After Head Coach Kevin McHale was fired, Harden went into fourth gear and has willed his team back into the playoff hunt. MVP Odds: 3-1
Lebron James (Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers)
In his 13th NBA season, James is still one of the best players in the league. He is currently fifth in the league in scoring at 25.0 PPG. Ironically, that’s his lowest scoring average since his rookie season in 2003-04. With that big body and competitive attitude, he is a difficult player for defenses to defend. Big men can’t stay with him and the little guys get bullied. With all due respect and accolades for a brilliant Hall of Fame career, he seems to be showing the signs of wear and tear. The one thing that might make him someone to avoid in NBA MVP betting is the early season issues he had with other players and former Head Coach David Blatt. In a very public power struggle, James won out over Blatt who ended up getting fired from a winning team almost three months into the season. It’s this cavalier (pardon the pun) attitude that is starting to tarnish his reputation as a player, teammate and individual. MVP Odds: 5-2
Prediction: – Just based on his contributions and importance to his team, James Harden might be the most deserving player for this year’s MVP award. Curry has Klay Thompson, Durant has Westbrook, and James has Kyrie Irving. Harden stands along on a team that truly lacks the talent to make a serious run at the NBA title. Yet night after night, Harden is out on the court trying to will his team to victory. With all of that said, Stephen Curry wins the MVP for the second season in a row. He is simply the best player in the league on what is by far the best team in the league (46-4).
Other NBA Award Predictions
Here’s a quick look at several other important year-end award categories. It might be difficult to find listed NBA prop bets on these categories, but they still warrant a quick analysis.
Coach of the Year: Under normal circumstances, the man coaching a team with a current record of 46-4 would be odds on to win NBA Coach of the Year. However, Golden State Head Coach Steve Kerr just returned to the sidelines after missing 45 games due to back surgery. In his absence, Assistant Head Coach Luke Walton did an amazing job filling in while the Warriors ran up a record of 41-4. Right now, it’s not clear how the voters would treat this unique situation. Other viable candidates include San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich whose Spurs currently have the second best record in the league at 43-8, Toronto’s Dwane Casey whose team has improved since last season and currently rank #2 in the Eastern Conference with a record of 35-16, and Boston’s Brad Stevens who has his Celtics playing it’s best ball in the last few years with a record of 31-22 in spite of the fact they lack a true superstar.
Prediction: – In a surprise move, the voters will name co-Head Coaches of the Year for the first time in league history. The winners will be Golden State’s Steve Kerr and Luke Walton. The Warriors are on track to break the NBA’s record for most wins in a season. The current record was set by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in 1995-96 with a record of 72-10. If they break or tie the record, it’s hard imagining anyone who would deserve this award other than the two men who piloted this amazing feat.
Rookie of the Year Among rookies, there are three viable candidates for Rookie of the Year. They include Jahlil Okafor (Center, Philadelphia 76ers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Center, Minnesota Timberwolves) and Kristaps Porzingis (Forward, New York Knicks). All three of these players are in the top three among rookies for scoring and rebounds. Okafor leads all rookies in scoring with 17.0 PPG with Towns in second at 16.7 PPG and Porzingis in third at 13.7 PPG. Towns leads the way in rebounds at 10.1 RPG with Porzingis in second at 7.7 RPG and Okafor in third at 7.3 RPG.
Prediction: – While Porzingis has shocked the experts with his work ethic and the way he has acclimated to the NBA, this award goes to Karl-Anthony Towns. When watching him play, there is little doubt his is going to be a dominant player for many years to come.
NBA Champion – Current Odds: Golden State Warriors 4-5, Cleveland Cavaliers 3-1, San Antonio Spurs 16-5, Oklahoma City Thunder 12-1, LA Clippers 30-1.
Prediction: – On the season, the Golden State Warriors are 6-0 on the season against the other teams on this list. The average margin of victory in those six games is almost 14 PPG. They won last year’s NBA title in rather easy fashion as the simply stormed through the playoffs. Now, they have comeback in 2015-16 as a better and more mature team. With an amazing starting five and the deepest bench in the NBA, they have no peers based on what has happened so far this season. Unless Curry or Thompson go down with a major injury, the Golden State Warriors walk away with the title again. Scary thought: Kevin Durant is a free agent this offseason and has expressed a desire to play for the Warriors. The feeling might be mutual.