Russell Westbrook is betting favorite for MVP

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Following traditional voting patterns, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook to be voted the NBA’s MVP. The award (voted on by selected media members) is almost exclusively reserved for players on teams that win 55 or more games and finish in the top three in their conference, two things unlikely to happen for the Thunder this season.

But maybe this will be an untraditional year. It is not difficult for anyone to imagine Westbrook putting up monster numbers for the Thunder now that Kevin Durant is in the Bay Area. Will that be enough?

That’s what betters seem to think, something reflected in the latest MVP odds posted by Bovada.

1) Russell Westbrook 2/1
2) Stephen Curry 4/1
3) LeBron James 5/1
4) Kevin Durant 12/1
5) Anthony Davis 16/1
5) James Harden 16/1
5) Kawhi Leonard 16/1
8) Paul George 22/1
8) Blake Griffin 22/1
10) Damien Lillard 28/1
11) Giannis Antetokounmpo 33/1
11) Carmelo Anthony 33/1
11) DeMarcus Cousins 33/1
11) Kyrie Irving 33/1
11) Chris Paul 33/1

This year’s race is a challenge to handicap. If I were betting I’d put my money on LeBron, but he has dialed it back a little in recent regular seasons, not putting up the raw numbers and saving something for the playoffs. Curry and Durant will be fantastic, but both will make sacrifices for the team and may not have the numbers some voters want. Will the teams of Davis and Harden win enough games? Kawhi Leonard is an interesting bet, but will he have the numbers? Could Paul George pull it off thanks to an improved Pacers team?

It’s going to be an interesting season.