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Houston Rockets guard James Harden had an unbelievable first half to the NBA season, making it no surprise that he continues to lead all players in MVP odds.
However, just one game out of the All-Star break, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has begun his ascent in closing the odds gap, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Greek Freak now has +165 odds to win the NBA MVP, second best to Harden's -180 odds, and clearly ahead of Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who sits in third at +700.
The NBA MVP race is starting to get tight — FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) February 21, 2019
Going into the second half of the NBA season, who's your choice for Most Valuable Player? pic.twitter.com/wZbpcmxVG9
Harden's post-All-Star break got off to a rocky start last night as the Rockets fell to the Los Angeles Lakers, 111-106, at Staples Center. The Beard had a respectable 11-for-24 night from the field, but only connected on two of his 10 3-point attempts and committed eight turnovers in the process as well.
Regardless, Harden is still averaging an absurd 36.5 points per game – about six points more than his previous high, set last season.
Meanwhile, a few hours earlier, Antetokounmpo had a spectacular night in a the East-leading Bucks' narrow, 98-97, win over the Boston Celtics. His 30 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocks led the team to victory, and Milwaukee is still clinging on to the top spot in the NBA with 44 wins. On the season, Giannis is averaging career highs across the board with 27.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
Last season, Harden won the MVP award, thank to the Rockets having an NBA-high 65 wins. If Antetokounmpo can lead his Bucks to that same fate this season, perhaps he can overtake Harden and stop him from winning the award for the second consecutive season.
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Al Walsh is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Al Walsh also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username 14AdotWalsh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.