NBA MVP 2019 Odds: Giannis Heavy Betting Favorite over James Harden

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2019

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo is fouled by Houston Rockets' James Harden during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

It's officially a two-man race for NBA MVP but, according to oddsmakers, calling it a "race" may be overstating it. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently listed as a -300 favorite (bet $300 to win $100) to win the award at Caesars, with James Harden coming in well behind at +225.

The debate surrounding the 2019 MVP has become an ideological one that has divided both fans and the NBA alike. 

Antetokounmpo, 24, would be only the 11th player in NBA history to win the MVP before his 25th birthday. He's averaging 27.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists on 58.2 percent shooting while leading the Bucks to an NBA-best 55-19 record.

Milwaukee has an eight-game advantage on Houston in the standings, and Antetokounmpo has been a generational force on both ends of the floor. At this moment, he has an extremely strong argument to be the best player in the entire league. 

"He's leading us to first place right now. He's doing everything for us," Bucks teammate Khris Middleton told reporters. "When you look at his numbers, you look at our team, you look at how we're winning and everything, I think he's the clear candidate right now.

"I think LeBron is the best player in the world, as far as overall in his career and what he's doing for this league on and off the court. But I think Giannis is headed in that direction."

Harden, meanwhile, singlehandedly saved the Rockets' season while putting up one of the best scoring campaigns in NBA history. His 36.4 points per game are the seventh-highest total in NBA history and best since Michael Jordan in 1986-87, and he's pushed Houston to the No. 3 seed in the West despite a rash of injuries across the roster and a complete lack of roster depth.

"I don't want to talk about this anymore. There's nothing to talk about. If anybody has any damn sense, James Harden will be crowned a two-time league MVP when this season's over," ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said on First Take this week.

The polarizing nature of the race has made it fascinating. However, if the odds shake out it seems the voters won't have any "sense," per Stephen A., and will vote Giannis.