EL SEGUNDO, CA – SEPTEMBER 27: Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis during Los Angeles Lakers Media Day on September 27, 2019, at UCLA Health Training Center. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

Anthony Davis’ MVP odds have fallen to +300 with MyBookie. The Los Angeles Lakers’ big offseason acquisition remains at +600 with BetOnline and out at +700 with Bovada.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the favourite in the NBA MVP odds, but Davis is pushing him close with The Greek Freak sitting at +280.

Player Odds from MyBookie
Giannis Antetokounmpo +280
Anthony Davis +300
Steph Curry +500
James Harden +650
LeBron James +950
Kawhi Leonard +1000

*Odds taken 10/22/19

Why Such a Short Price?

It’s not often there’s such a chasm between different books as we see here. MyBookie have Davis at a much shorter price than Bovada and BetOnline, suggesting there could have been a lot of backing for the former Pelicans big man. Davis’ MVP candidacy is more complex than Antetokounmpo’s – sharing a team with LeBron James makes it challenging to predict Davis’ first campaign as a Laker.

While no one doubts Davis has MVP talent, MyBookie’s odds are a bit surprising at this point.

BetOnline have Davis at a longer price than Steph Curry, making him third favorite. For any who doubted James and Davis’ fit on the court, pre-season should have quashed those concerns. The question of ‘load management’ and leading the offense still looms, however.

Will LeBron Defer?

James has said all the right things about deferring to Davis, just as he did with Kyrie Irving when he returned to Cleveland. Approaching his 35th birthday, James will allocate his energy how he sees fit, preserving himself for the playoffs.

Doing that is one thing. Deferring to Davis enough for him to win MVP is a bigger ask.

Like fellow MVP contender Kawhi Leonard, James’ workload in the regular season will be managed. The three-time champion will have plenty of nights off, giving Davis the opportunity to dominate. What shouldn’t be overlooked, though, is that Davis’ workload will be monitored nearly as carefully. The former first overall pick has had his fair share of injury battles since coming into the NBA, and the Lakers will be desperate to keep him fresh for a deep playoff run.

Davis has only played in the playoffs twice and has never gone beyond the second round. The Lakers have much greater ambitions than that. Having a fully healthy Davis in the post-season will be the priority. Don’t be surprised if he plays around the 60-game mark this season, which would make MVP contention almost impossible.

If you expect Davis to play 70-plus games, judging his MVP candidacy becomes trickier. He’s going to average over 10 rebounds and will be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The uncertainty lies in his assists and points per game numbers.

His passing took a leap last season as he chalked up 3.9 dimes per game. A 30/11/5 season is within reach if the offense runs through Davis – that would almost certainly land him the MVP trophy.

Recording a line like that requires James to take a back seat. While there will be plenty of time when Davis is on the court without James, the key to Davis’ MVP candidacy is how the team is balanced when they share the floor. It’s hard to envision James deferring as much as he suggests.

Steer Clear at +300

The value vanishes for Davis to win MVP at +300. Comparing Davis’ price with the other frontrunners in the market makes him seem like the worst bet of the bunch. There are questions to be answered about Davis’ role on the Lakers and the amount of rest he’ll have.

It could all change very quickly if James notably takes a back seat early on. Before we’ve seen a regular season minute of James and Davis together, though, the +300 price is one to steer clear of.

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