James Harden NBA MVP Betting Favorite After Historic Game
Every NBA MVP has his moment that propels him from contender to frontrunner. On Thursday night James Harden had his, a 44-point triple-double that included the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.0 second left in overtime to beat the Warriors in Golden State.
Harden’s odds in NBA MVP betting shortened considerably overnight, as top NBA bookmakers, including 888Sport, made him the favorite at +150, have the odds NBA betting fans could have gotten just 24 hours earlier.
It was arguably the single best performance by any player this season, as the reigning MVP led the Rockets back from down 20 points to force overtime, and then knocked off Steph Curry and Kevin Durant in the extra period.
Harden finished with 10 rebounds and 15 assists, giving him just the 11th 40-point, 15-assist triple-double in NBA history. He made 10 3-pointers – a career-best – and scored 29 points after halftime, including 11 in the decisive overtime frame.
Teammate Eric Gordon said the 29-foot triple over Klay Thompson and Draymond Green was the toughest shots he’s ever seen Harden make.
Harden’s Hot Streak
But this wasn’t just a one-time deal. Harden, as Rockets general manager Daryl Morey put it after the game, is “at a level that almost nobody in NBA history has been at.” All biases aside, Morey’s not wrong. In the last 12 games Harden has averaged 40.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 5.9 3-pointers.
He’s posted five straight games of 40+ points, something only Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant have done in the last 50 years. His streak of 35 points and five assists is at nine games, two games better than the previous record holder Oscar Robertson. Oh, and the Rockets have gone from second-to-last in the West to fourth, and just one game back in the loss column to Golden State.
2019 NBA MVP Betting Odds Shorten
Subsequently, Harden’s ridiculous stretch has vaulted him to the top of the MVP leaderboard. Just nine days ago he was +1000 to win the award, and before Thursday’s performance he was +300, behind Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. Fourty-four points and 15 assists later, he woke up Friday morning as the favorite at +150.
And why shouldn’t he be? Harden now leads the NBA in scoring at 33.6 points per game, nearly five points better than Steph Curry’s 28.9 mark in second place. The difference between Harden and Curry is the same between Curry and 13th-place Blake Griffin.
Harden is also now up to fourth in assists per game (8.6) and isn’t a bad look at +800 to come back and win the assist title, something he did two seasons ago. Not a bad spot for a guy who hurt his makstring in October.
He’s an offensive juggernaut, and that wins in today’s NBA. He’s an absurd -1250 on 888Sport to win the scoring title. Even when Chris Paul returns from his hamstring injury – which might not be for a while – we don’t expect anything to detract from Harden’s ridiculous pace. He’s found his groove – it was only a matter of time until he did – and is on an absolute roll right now.
Thursday was his best performance of the year, but he’s been doing this for three weeks now. The NBA has a new favorite for MVP in The Beard.
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