He is known to many as the ‘Greek Freak’ because his name is difficult to pronounce. But Giannis Antetokounmpo is so much more than just someone whose name is hard to say. He is arguably the best or at least one of the best basketball players in the world. If all goes according to the odds, this fact will be in evidence when he wins not one but two major awards this season.
NBA Regular Season MVP Odds 2019/2020
- Giannis Antetokounmpo -2500
- Lebron James +900
- Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic +10000
- Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Pascal Siakam +20000
LeBron James still has an outside shot (ten percent) and has had an incredible season this year. But Antetokounmpo has had an even better season and doesn’t have another superstar on the roster taking pressure off him.
With a more than 96 percent chance according to the current odds at most Indiana Sportsbooks, Antetokounmpo is close to a lock to win MVP. However, he will be able to cement his name among the game’s all-time greats if he can win a second major award in the same season.
Houston Rockets great Hakeem Olajuwon did it back in ’94 (MVP and Defensive Player of the Year). The legendary Michael Jordan did it in 1988 (MVP and Defensive Player of the Year). According to the odds, it looks like Antetokounmpo will do the same this year (odds via BetMGM.com):
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds 2019/2020
- Giannis Antetokounmpo -400
- Anthony Davis +250
- Rudy Gobert +3000
- Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Kawhi Leonard +8000
- Paul George, Marcus Smart, Brook Lopez +10000
- Myles Turner, Hassan Whiteside, Paul Beverley +20000
By those odds, he has an 80 percent chance of taking home DPOY honors. However, Anthony Davis does not have bad odds at +250 (28.57 percent chance). The winner of the last two, Rudy Gobert, is a decent longshot at +3000.
But let’s be real—it will either be Antetokounmpo or Davis.
Antetokounmpo is the driving force on a Bucks team with the top-rated defense in the league, 101.6, which has not been reached since the 2015-16 season. Davis’s Lakers come in a close third with a 105.5 rating.
But this is an individual award, not a team one. So, how is this relevant?
Davis has played great defensive basketball with the benefit of having another superstar on the court helping out, LeBron James. Between the two of them, they help whoever is on the court with them look good, hence the team’s high rating.
When it comes to the Buck, though, while Antetokounmpo has several good players on the court with him, he is the lone superstar. His game and the level at which he plays has an impact on and lifts everyone. However, what may hurt his candidacy is winning the MVP.
Some voters may be more inclined to vote Davis since they will have already voted Antetokounmpo for MVP.
So—how should you bet?
Take Antetokounmpo to win both. Davis has had a great season, one that would be award-worthy in most years. But Antetokounmpo’s game is at a different level this season.