If the Bovada oddsmakers are correct this early into the process, then LeBron James is in line to win his fifth MVP award next season.
Here’s how the odds for the NBA’s MVP race in 2018-19 are shaking out at the moment:
Bovada has released opening odds for next season’s MVP. LeBron is favored, followed by Anthony Davis, Giannis, Harden and KD. pic.twitter.com/M1IbSHMV2y
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) August 15, 2018
There aren’t any real surprises on this list. Joel Embiid feels a little high. Kristaps Porzingis and Devin Booker shouldn’t be on it. No one else is really out of place.
LeBron’s league-favorite odds are interesting. On the one hand, the Los Angeles Lakers don’t profile as an elite unit even with him in the fold. On the other hand, he’s more of a one-man show than he has been at any point over the past eight years. If he lugs this Lakers squad chock full of kiddies and non-spacers to 50-plus wins and a convincing playoff seed, he could find himself firmly at the top of the totem.
Shoot, LeBron might not even really need the Lakers to be a top-four postseason squad. The narrative associated with clearing 50 games could do the trick on its own. He’s inheriting a squad that hit 35 victories last season and didn’t make any game-changing improvements—unless, of course, you believe the additions of Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley or Lance Stephenson count as such. (Spoiler: They don’t.) Viewed this way, the faintest sign of elite status from the Lakers could inflate his case by a substantial margin.
As an important aside, keep your eyes peeled on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis, two could-be top-five players who might be playing for teams possibly on the rise. If either of their squads broach 50-plus-win and/or top-three-playoff-seed territory, they’ll most likely have airtight arguments in their corner as well.