NBA MVP odds: Giannis primed to repeat

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We’re officially passed the All-Star break in the 2019-2020 NBA season and with the playoffs inching closer, we take a look at who has the best odds to be crowned the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

At Bet365, one of the top online sportsbooks in the world, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the way as the favorite with current odds of -400. Through the All-Star break, Giannis is averaging 30 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists and has his Bucks atop the NBA standings with a 47-8 record.

At this point, it’s going to be a huge surprise if anyone catches Giannis as MVP frontrunner. Sophomore sensation Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks trails the ‘Greek Freak’ in betting odds at +650. His 28.9/9.5/8.7 line is impressive, but injuries have caused him to miss five games so far this season and that has likely impacted his odds. Former MVPs LeBron James and James Harden follow with odds of +850 and +900, respectively.

Odds to win 2019-20 NBA MVP Award

Player Odds to win NBA MVP
Giannis Antetokounmpo -400
Luka Doncic +650
LeBron James +850
James Harden +900
Anthony Davis +2,200
Damian Lillard +2,800
Kawhi Leonard +4,000
Nikola Jokic +7,000
Pascal Siakam +8,000
Paul George +8,000
Jimmy Butler +10,000
Rudy Gobert +10,000
Joel Embiid +12,500
Donovan Mitchell +15,000
Russell Westbrook +15,000

Odds subject to change at any time

Understanding NBA MVP Odds

Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. With Antetokounmpo being a huge favorite at this point in the season, his odds have a minus (-) sign ahead of the number.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo -400

This means that a bettor needs to wager $400 to win $100. Everyone else in the current MVP race has plus (+) odds to win.

  • Luke Doncic +650

Here, a bettor stands to profit $650 for every $100 wagered.

If American odds aren’t your thing, simply use a tool like our odds converter to switch the odds to decimal or fractional format. Most online sportsbooks also give you the option to change the odds format that you see.

NBA MVP Betting Trends

Here are some trends you may want to consider before placing a bet on the NBA MVP:

  • Repeat winners are quite common. Twelve different players have won the award two (or more) years in a row.
  • The MVP usually comes from a winning team. Since 1985, only twice has the MVP come from a team that didn’t finish first or second in its conference.
  • The award is usually given to a player with a few years of service time. A rookie hasn’t won MVP since Wes Unseld in 1969 and only four MVPs have been younger than 23 years old.
  • The MVP award has historically been dominated by centers. However, a center hasn’t won the award since Shaquille O’Neal in the1999-00 season. MVP awards by position:
    • Point guard: 11
    • Shooting guard: 8
    • Small forward: 9
    • Power forward: 10
    • Center: 26

 

NBA MVP History

A quick look at recent NBA MVPs and the position they played.

Season Player Position Team
2018-19 Giannis Antetokounmpo Power Forward Milwaukee Bucks
2017-18 James Harden Shooting Guard Houston Rockets
2016-17 Russell Westbrook Point Guard Oklahoma City Thunder
2015-16 Stephen Curry Point Guard Golden State Warriors
2014-15 Stephen Curry Point Guard Golden State Warriors
2013-14 Kevin Durant Small Forward Oklahoma City Thunder
2012-13 LeBron James Small Forward Miami Heat
2011-12 LeBron James Small Forward Miami Heat
2010-11 Derrick Rose Point Guard Chicago Bulls
2009-10 LeBron James Small Forward Cleveland Cavaliers
2008-09 LeBron James Small Forward Cleveland Cavaliers
2007-08 Kobe Bryant Shooting Guard Los Angeles Lakers
2006-07 Dirk Nowitzki Power Forward Dallas Mavericks
2005-06 Steve Nash Point Guard Pheonix Suns
2004-05 Steve Nash Point Guard Pheonix Suns
2003-04 Kevin Garnett Power Forward Minnesota Timberwolves
2002-03 Tim Duncan Power Forward San Antonio Spurs
2001-02 Tim Duncan Power Forward San Antonio Spurs
2000-01 Allen Iverson Point Guard Philadelphia 76ers
1999-00 Shaquille O’Neal Center Los Angeles Lakers

 

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

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Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.