The NBA regular season play is still five days away and already the speculation is running high on who will win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award for the 2021 season.  Although it seems a little early for this one, there is already a lot of money going down on this proposition in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

Antetokounmpo Dethroned As Odds-On MVP Fave

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has won the coveted award for the past two years running and the Bucks have rewarded Giannis with a 5-year ‘‘supermax’’ contract worth $228 million.  Not bad for a 26-year-old guy born in Greece to Nigerian parents who just happened to get spotted when an NBA scout was in Greece to look at another player.

There was much speculation that Antetokounmpo would opt out of Milwaukee and sign with one of the NBA’s perennial contenders like the Los Angeles Lakers or the Boston Celtics, but Giannis surprised many by remaining with the Bucks saying, “Milwaukee is my home,” and that was that.

It remains to be seen how this season will work out for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.  The front office has recruited him a couple of new sidekicks to help out, but their roster still does not resemble some of the richer teams in the NBA.

Giannis may not even be thinking about winning another MVP Award at this point.  He already has two of them in his pocket, along with $228 million, so he may just have other things on his mind at the moment.

Doncic Emerges On Top

Las Vegas odds makers are giving the nod, and the odds, to big Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.  Doncic has all the right stuff to be an MVP recipient, but, it’s a long season and a lot can happen in all that time.  The 6’7’’ shooting guard from Slovenia is just 21 years old, but he already has a bright future ahead of him with the NBA.

Doncic has played in 54 games in his two years with the Mavericks averaging 33.3 minutes per game during which he averaged 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists while maintaining a 46.1% field goal shooting average.

Back on November 10, Doncic and Antetokounmpo both opened as +550 co-favorites at the William Hill Sportsbook at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  However, since that time, Doncic has attracted almost twice the number of bets as Giannis, which means twice as much money as any other player, and in Vegas money is the big mover.  So, now Doncic  has moved in as the solo favorite at +400.  But, it is a long season, and it has not even gotten started yet.

For the time being, Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP, and he will hold that honor until the next one for 2021 is named. In the meantime, he has dropped back just a bit on the betting board to +450.

Curry and King James Remain Strong

Stephen Curry, the omnipresent point guard for the Golden State Warriors, is next at +750 and the LA Lakers’ two big guys, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, currently sit at +800 and +850, respectively.

As of Wednesday morning, Doncic had brought in more money in wagers at William Hill than Giannis, Anthony Davis and LeBron combined.

A lot of the attraction for Doncic right now stems from his performance during the playo0ffs last year in the Orlando bubble when the big Slovenian was nothing short of electrifying.  Jeff Sherman of the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas said, “I thought he should have finished higher than he did last year in the MVP voting.”

One dark horse that is beginning to attract a lot of attention is young Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans, who has already seen his MVP odds move up from 80-1 to 50-1 at the Westgate Super Book.