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  • Who are the top contenders for the 2019 NBA MVP award?
  • View the odds available for players individually and see league-wide trends from past years
  • Track how the odds fluctuate throughout the 2018-19 NBA season

The NBA has been honoring its best players since 1956 when the league gave its inaugural Most Valuable Player award to St. Louis Hawks power forward Bob Pettit. Back then all Pettit got was a shiny trophy and a slap on the back, but these days winners use the award as a contract negotiating tool to generate millions of dollars in extra salary and endorsements.

The most recent recipient of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy was James Harden, who narrowly edged LeBron James to win the award in 2018. Both players are expected to be in the thick of the things again when the 2018-19 season kicks off.

We’ll be tracking the odds to win the 2019 NBA MVP award from our most trusted sportsbooks all year long. Check out our regularly updated graphs and tables below to see how the odds of the league’s top players change throughout the season.

2019 NBA MVP Odds

 

NBA MVP Trends to Consider

  • Since 1985, only two MVPs have come from a team that finished worse than second in its conference during the regular season
  • The MVP award has been won by players who were 23 or younger on just four occasions
  • Wilt Chamberlain (1960) and Wes Unseld (1969) are the only players to earn MVP honors as rookies
  • The MVP award has been won by the NBA’s leading scorer four times in the past five years
  • Only three MVPs have ever averaged fewer than 17 points per game. They were Bill Russell (1961, 1963, 1965), Wes Unseld (1969), and Steve Nash (2005)

NBA MVP Top 5 Contenders at BetOnline

Player BetOnline Odds (12/05/18)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) +100
LeBron James (Lakers) +550
Anthony Davis (Pelicans) +600
Stephen Curry (Warriors) +800
Kawhi Leonard (Raptors) +900

The more things change, the more they stay the same. LeBron James will have new teammates and a new zip code in 2018-19, but sportsbooks still think he’ll be one of the NBA’s most valuable players. The 33-year-old already has four MVPs on his mantle from his time in Cleveland and Miami, and he nearly beat out Harden in 2018 after tallying more points, rebounds, assists, and triple-doubles than the Rockets guard.

2019 NBA MVP Candidates by Division

LeBron James will face plenty of competition within his own division as the Pacific boasts a pair of former MVPs in Kevin Durant and Steph Curry as well as one of the league’s most promising young scorers in Devin Booker.

NBA MVP Award Winners By Position

 

NBA MVP Trends Based On Position

  • Centers won a whopping 22 of the first 28 NBA MVP awards
  • Guards have won eight of the last 14 NBA MVP awards
  • Michael Jordan personally won five of the eight NBA MVP awards that have been given to shooting guards

 

Past 10 NBA MVP Winners

Year Player PPG RPG APG
2018 James Harden (Rockets) 30.4 5.4 8.8
2017 Russell Westbrook (Thunder) 31.6 10.7 10.4
2016 Steph Curry (Warriors) 30.1 5.4 6.7
2015 Steph Curry (Warriors) 23.8 4.3 7.7
2014 Kevin Durant (Thunder) 32.0 7.4 5.5
2013 LeBron James (Heat) 26.8 8.0 7.3
2012 LeBron James (Heat) 27.1 7.9 6.2
2011 Derrick Rose (Bulls) 25.0 4.1 7.7
2010 LeBron James (Cavs) 29.7 7.3 8.6
2009 LeBron James (Cavs) 28.4 7.6 7.2

Derrick Rose became the youngest player to win MVP honors in NBA history in 2011. He was just 22-years-old at the time and in his third year in the league.

NBA Teams with the Most MVP Winners

 

It should come as no surprise that the NBA franchise with the most championships also has the most league MVPs. Four different Celtics have been named the Association’s most valuable player including Bob Cousy (1957), Bill Russell (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965), Dave Cowens (1973), and Larry Bird (1984, 1985, 1986). Need another fun fact to share at the bar? Cowens is the only MVP who also worked as a cab driver. Beat that Michael Jordan!

Players with Multiple NBA MVP Awards

Player MVP Awards Years
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 6 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980
Bill Russell 5 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965
Michael Jordan 5 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998
Wilt Chamberlain 4 1960, 1966, 1967, 1968
LeBron James 4 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
Larry Bird 3 1984, 1985, 1986
Magic Johnson 3 1987, 1989, 1990
Moses Malone 3 1979, 1982, 1983
Bob Pettit 2 1956, 1959
Karl Malone 2 1997, 1999
Tim Duncan 2 2002, 2003
Steve Nash 2 2005, 2006
Steph Curry 2 2015, 2016

NBA MVP Historical Trends

  • Celtics legend Bill Russell was the first player to win back-to-back MVP awards in 1961 and 1962
  • Russell was also the first player to win three consecutive MVP awards (1961-63). The only other players who accomplished the same feat are Wilt Chamberlain (1966-68) and Larry Bird (1984-86)

NBA Winners By Country

 

NBA MVP Trends Based Upon Country of Origin

  • Americans have won 93.6% of the NBA MVP awards despite the fact that nearly 28% of the league’s current players were born outside of the U.S.
  • The NBA MVP award was given to non-U.S.-born players three straight times from 2005-07
  • The last time a non-U.S.-born player won the NBA MVP award was in 2007 when it was given to Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki

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Ryan Murphy began his love affair with sports journalism at the age of nine when he wrote his first article about his little league baseball team. He has since authored his own column for Fox Sports, and now serves as SBD’s resident NBA and MLB expert.