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Harden and Westbrook Top NBA MVP Odds

 

A pair of former teammates lead the way in the race to earn NBA MVP honors this season, with Houston Rockets guard James Harden holding a clear edge as the -300 betting favorite.

It has been a breakthrough season for Harden, who has fueled the Rockets’ resurgence in the NBA’s Western Conference standings with 29.4 points per game and a league-leading 11.3 assists per game.

Harden’s play has shown steady improvement as the NBA season has progressed with the five-time NBA All-Star producing his strongest numbers in March, averaging 32.3 points and 7.4 assists in 12 contests in the month ahead of the Rockets’ matchup with first-place Golden State on Tuesday night.

The 27-year-old had a relatively quiet night on Sunday in Houston’s 137-125 win over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder as 5.5-point favorites, putting up 22 points and 12 assists against his former teammates. But Harden remains the primary catalyst behind the Rockets’ rise to third in the overall standings, and +1200 odds to win this year’s NBA championship.

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook padded his league-leading points per game average with 39 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in Oklahoma City’s loss to the Rockets, and followed up with 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists to record yet another triple-double in Monday’s 92-91 win in Dallas as 2-point chalk.

But in contrast to the Rockets’ success this season, Oklahoma City’s lackluster team performance has left them deep in the standings in the West, impacting Westbrook’s NBA MVP odds which sit second to Harden at +150.

 

Leonard, James, Thomas Complete Field

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard leads the best of the rest on the NBA MVP odds at +1200, followed by four-time MVP winner LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers at +1600, while Boston Celtics sensation Isaiah Thomas rounds out the top five at +5000.

Leonard has averaged a career-best 26.0 points in 66 games this year, and has carried the load for a Spurs squad that has been forced to contend with injuries to key personnel all season. James has also notched 26.0 points per game, and has remained a bright spot for the struggling Cavaliers this month, producing 27.2 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

And Thomas trails only Westbrook and Harden at 29.1 points per game this season after cracking 30 points in a pair of Boston wins last weekend, making him one of the primary reasons for the Celtics’ rise to the top of the NBA Eastern Conference standings.

 

*Odds as of March 29, 2017.

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