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It took one month for the NBA MVP race to come into focus.
While preseason favorites such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden still lead the pack, Luka Doncic and LeBron James are among the other notable players whose stocks have risen.
Here are the updated odds for who will win the league's most coveted individual award.
|Player||Opening Odds||Current Odds|
Wednesday's masterful performance against the Warriors in a 48-point win was just another day at the office for Doncic. The second-year star put up a triple-double to the tune of 35 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action. The truly outrageous thing about his stat line? He regressed from his previous game - Doncic was fresh off a 42-point, 12-assist, 11-rebound performance versus the Spurs. Nights like those have been routine for the Mavericks cog, who's now averaging 29.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 9.4 assists on the season.
At 10-1, I'd be buying, and that's right around the cutoff. There's no denying Doncic deserves to be in the mix, but he's still in Antetokounmpo's shadow. While the Dallas forward has the edge in value added (156.9 to 148.2) and estimated wins added (5.2 to 4.9), Antetokounmpo still has the upper hand in points per game (30.5 to 29.9) and player efficiency rating (33.14 to 32.40). I'd also fear the Bucks winning about 10 more games than the Mavericks and voters using that as a point in favor of the Greek Freak. NBA gonna NBA.
This probably feels like a good time to sell on James, right? You'd think a player on the cusp of turning 35 couldn't sustain 25.1 points, a would-be career-high 11.1 assists, and 7.9 rebounds per game, but I wouldn't put it past him.
However, I do think this is the peak of LeBron's stock and a decent time to jump ship. A few factors are working against the Lakers star. To start with the obvious, James is No. 14 in the league in points per game, No. 7 in PER, and No. 4 in both value added and estimated wins added. He's playing at an elite level but still trails in a handful of important categories.
Second, it's difficult to crown an MVP when another candidate atop the list wears the same jersey - in this case, Anthony Davis. That's not LeBron's fault, but it's more difficult to stand out when you're sharing the court with a player who needs to get his, too.
Finally, the Lakers as a whole are likely at their peak in the market. They're off to a blistering 12-2 start and sit atop the Western Conference. While James' personal stats might be sustainable, recording about 69 wins is not. Unless L.A. runs away with the West, look for James to play third or fourth fiddle in the MVP race for the majority of the season.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.