The Greek Freak has leapfrogged James Harden in the futures betting on the regular season MVP award after leading the Bucks to the top of the east.
<p>A superb run of form has seen Giannis Antetokounmpo regain the initiative over James Harden in the race to be named regular season MVP. Harden was just 1/4 (1.25) with several bookmakers less than a month ago after dazzling the league with <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/more-sports/nba-mvp-futures-a-showdown-between-the-beard-and-the-greek-freak/89402/">a spell of sustained brilliance</a>. That saw Antetokounmpo pushed out to 7/2 (4.50) and he was given little chance of individual glory, but since then The Greek Freak has been immaculate. He is now the odds-on favourite with all the betting sites to be named MVP for 2018-19.</p><p>Antetokounmpo’s stats have been phenomenal, averaging 27 points, 12.6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Nobody has ever put up such figures across the board, and it has led the Milwaukee Bucks to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Ten of the last 15 MVPs have come from the team with the best regular season record, and there is no doubt that Antetokounmpo stands head and shoulders above his Bucks teammates.</p><p>However, it would be folly to count out Harden, who has been on fire this season. Last year hw finally won a first MVP honour after edging LeBron James in a gripping battle. This time around The Beard has been even better, averaging an exceptional 36.7 points per game, along with 7.6 assists and 2.2 steals. Nobody has ever put up stats like that either. Critics accuse him of bending the new enforcement of freedom of movement rules to his advantage, getting away with travels on the step back, but his scoring binge is impossible to argue with.</p><p>He has also carried a struggling team for large parts of the season, with Chris Paul and Clint Capela sidelines for long spells. He shot them up the standings during that time, and he has become even more of a media darling this season. It is the media that has the votes for the award, and they were blown away by his 32-game streak of scoring 30 or more points. He averaged 43.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game in January, leading commentators to run out of superlatives. But the streak came to an end on February 25, when he managed a mere 28 points against the Atlanta Hawks, and since then his performance levels have tapered off ever so slightly.</p><p>That has allowed Antetokounmpo back into the conversation, and if he can keep the Bucks top of the standings he might just seize the award. They have lost their last two games and they could yet be overhauled by Toronto before the regular season is out, so The Greek Freak will demand high intensity from his teammates in the coming weeks.</p><p>Antetokounmpo has now gone all the way in to just 7/10 (1.70) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=153&a=8ec6399a-9df1-4c52-b272-39e6428836a6" target="_blank" title="Betfair has the MVP odds">Betfair</a> to win the award, while Harden is priced at 5/4 (2.25) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=8cb1fdf6-5659-4f16-a75b-679218b0115e" target="_blank" title="10Bet has the best MVP odds">10Bet</a>. A bet on Harden looks really tempting at those odds, as the media seems to love him and his scoring splurge has created such a compelling narrative. If the Bucks lose the lead of the east, it could dent Antetokounmpo’s chances and see the lead seesaw back to Harden, so now might be a good time to back The Beard.</p>