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NBA 2019-20 season preview: Who will win the Most Valuable Player award?


NBA 2019-20 season preview: Who will win the Most Valuable Player award?

The NBA Most Valuable Player Award is considered the highest accolade a player can win in basketball. Who will win the 2019-20 MVP? Who are the favourites? Read on to inform your NBA MVP predictions.

NBA MVP: The Maurice Podoloff Trophy

The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is an annual national basketball association award given to the best player of the regular NBA season.

The winner receives the Maurice Podoloff trophy and is chosen by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters across the league.

Each member of the voting panel casts a vote for first to fifth place. With points corresponding to placing below. The player with the highest point total wins the award.

Vote

Weighting

First place

10 points

Second place

7 points

Third place

5 points

Fourth place

3 points

Fifth place

1 point

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NBA MVP award predictions – Who are the favourites?

Can Giannis Antetokounmpo repeat as two-time MVP? Pinnacle’s odds have the Greek Freak as the favourite (3.790*) which translates to implied probability of 26.39%. The last player to do so was Stephen Curry in 2015-16 and 2016-17 season.

Giannas is only just approaching the prime of his career at the young age of 24 years and has steadily increased his production in every statistical category with averages of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks for the 2018-19 season.

The only knock on Antetokounmpo is the lack of shooting which from all pre-season reports is an element he has tried to add to his game this summer. If he can consistently hit a jump shot or shoot threes at a passable rate it would not be such a stretch for the Greek Freak to average thirty points a game.

No Klay, no Durant - no problem for Stephen Curry (6.100*). The 2018-19 playoff run could be a telling indication of Curry’s expected production without Kevin Durant & Klay Thompson in the early months of the upcoming season.

Stephen Curry's Production (2018-19 Playoffs)

Situation

Points

Rebounds

Assists

FG%

3PT

Turnovers

With Kevin Durant ON court (per 40 minutes)

23.1

6.3

5.3

44.1%

37.2%

3.1

With Kevin Durant OFF court

(per 40 minutes)

38.8

6.6

7.2

47.7%

40.2%

3.6

In only his second preseason game, Stephen Curry went for 40 points, shooting 14 for 19 from the field with 6 three pointers, six assists and five rebounds, all in 25 minutes as Golden State defeated Minnesota Timberwolves, 143-123.

Steph has to shoulder the burden of scoring in the ultra-competitive Western Conference for the warriors to stay afloat until the return of fellow splash brother, Klay Thompson. A hot start could place him well for the rest of the season.

2018-19 marked the fourth time in five years that James Harden (8.050*) has finished in the top two of MVP voting. Harden averaged an outstanding 36.1 points per game alongside an impressive run where he scored at least 30 points or more in 32 consecutive games.

As 22 October rolls around, this will be Harden’s tenth season. The Rocket's superstar will be turning 30 in August, and following his stellar 2018-19 season a regression in production should be expected. Couple that with the addition of long-time friend and ball-dominant guard, Russell Westbrook, many critics have already written off The Beard’s chances of another MVP.

Early indications from training camp suggests this will be Anthony Davis’ (9.300*) team and that Lebron James will defer to him offensively, giving him ample opportunity to dominate and put up numbers on the offensive end.

Prior to AD’s trade demands and the subsequent lessening of playing time by New Orleans Pelican’s coaching staff, Davis was having a very productive season as he was averaging 28.1 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.5 blocks in 45 games. One of his Highlights was a 20 points, 20 rebound game against the Toronto Raptors and a couple of 40 point outings.

Kawhi Leonard (12.950*) is fresh off winning an NBA Championship for the Toronto Raptors, where he averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists on his way to his second NBA championships and second finals MVP - proving to the world that he is still one of the best players in basketball.

The biggest stat from his last campaign is the fact that he will be coming into this season well-rested, as he only played in 60 regular season games due to “load management”, as well as his decision to forego national team commitments in this year’s FIBA World Cup.

With the Clippers being touted as a favourite this year, this could the year for Kawhi to add the only accolade he is missing in his esteemed career.

NBA MVP award predictions - Players to consider

Karl-Anthony Towns (50.500*), similar situation to Anthony Davis is the number one offensive and defensive options on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Coaching Staff in Minnesota have come out and said that they would like the offense to run through KAT more as they want him to bring the ball up, have him more involved in half court sets, pass from the high post, and play closer to the basket.

The only drawback is Pinnacle’s predicted win output is at 35.5, placing him well outside the play-offs. History is not on his side as the last time an MVP was awarded to a player without their team being playoff-bound was Kareem Abdul-Jabber. Without any key additions in the offseason it would be difficult to see this occurring.

Ben Simmons (58.050*), as recently just signed a five-year, $170 million max contract extension that will keep him in Philadelphia until 2025. A big year is on the cards for Simmons as he, along with fellow All-NBA teammate Joel Embiid, are touted by many to win the Eastern Conference.

Joel Embiid may be the team’s leading scorer and number one option on offense, but Ben Simmons could be considered their most important player, as only in his second season he is averaging career highs in points (16.9), rebounds (8.8) and assists (7.7, fifth best in the NBA) Like Giannis, many critics point to his lack of a jump shot as the only thing holding him back from taking Philadelphia and his game to the next level.

The 6 ft 6 inch rookie from Kentucky, Zion Williamson (41.640*) is being considered by many as a “once-in-a-generation type athlete” drawing comparisons to previous MVP award winners, Lebron James and Charles Barkley.

On a young and free running New Orleans Pelicans team, statistical production shouldn’t be too hard to come by. Head coach Alvin Gentry stated recently “I’ll be really disappointed if we don’t lead the league in pace next year”. The pelicans have demonstrated this philosophy by averaging 125.6 points in five preseason games.

Winning Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same year is not impossible but very unlikely. The last two players to do so were Wilt Chamberlain in 1959-60 and Wes Unseld in 1968-69. Zion will need to stay healthy and produce All-star like numbers for him to be considered.

What bettors should consider

The NBA Most Valuable Player Award is considered the highest accolade a player can win individually. It is not enough just to put up productive stats but they need to be on a successful team.

Only two players have been named MVP for a season in which their team failed to win at least 50 games (Moses Malone, 1978-79 & 1981-82 and Russell Westbrook, 2016-17) and only once has it gone to a player on a team not in the playoffs (Kareem Abdul-Jabber, 1975-76). The award might be individual but bettors need to place team success into the equation when making MVP predictions.

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*Odds subject to change


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