Harden’s start to the season follows a tumultuous month. In addition to asking for a trade out of Houston and arriving a week late for Rockets training camp, Harden was also fined for violating NBA COVID-19 protocols. However, Harden’s strong start could help the Rockets find a business partner for the 31-year-old, who is reportedly eager to reunite with former teammate Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.
Sidelined by injury all of last season, Durant sits near the top of the NBA MVP odds as a short bet of +550 on sports betting sites. The 32-year-old didn’t miss a beat on his debut for the Nets, averaging 28.3 points per game, capped by a performance of 33 points and 11 rebounds in the 145-141 win over Atlanta Wednesday.
But it’s Luka Doncic who continues to lead the way on those NBA odds as a +300 favorite to win the MVP title. The 21-year-old Dallas Mavericks star has just emerged from a decisive campaign and has been particularly successful in the NBA playoff bubble, racking up 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists per match. However, Doncic has yet to duplicate that effort in the Mavericks’ 1-3 start, averaging just 23.8 points per game so far, and 2 for 21 on three-point attempts.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is second behind Doncic with +450 on 2021 NBA MVP odds, while Los Angeles Lakers duo Anthony Davis and LeBron James round out the front of the field, each sporting a +900 odds.
The reigning two-time NBA MVP Antetokounmpo produced mixed results early on, failing to hit the 15 points in consecutive outings while leading the Bucks to an average 2-3 start. However, Antetokounmpo closed 2020 on an impressive note, recording his first triple-double of the season in Wednesday’s 119-108 loss to Miami.
Davis and James have a tough act to follow after leading the Lakers to their first NBA title in a decade last summer. While James led the Lakers to score in three of their first five outings of the season, the start was slower for Davis, who has only passed 20 points once in four outings.
Lower in the NBA MVP odds, Damian Lillard is pegged at +1200, just ahead of Stephen Curry at +1600, while Jayson Tatum joins Nikola Jokic at +2000 on those betting lines.