NBA MVP Odds: James Harden Now Favored After 44-point Triple-Double vs. Warriors
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13).
- James Harden is now the MVP favorite at the Westgate Superbook after a monster triple-double and go-ahead 3-pointer vs. Warriors.
- Harden's last five games have been unreal with 40 points in each game and back-to-back triple doubles.
It is exceptionally rare that you can pinpoint the exact moment a player becomes the MVP favorite in the middle of a season.
And yet that happened on Thursday night as James Harden led an incredible Rockets comeback in Oracle, beating the Warriors 135-134 and dropping a completely guano are-you-effing-kidding-me line:44 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, one steal, two blocks, and 10 made 3-pointers.
SWEET MOTHER OF GOD.
Oh, and his final points came on this cold-blooded game-winner:
And he let folks know after the game:
James Harden calling his repeat MVP right after the game ✌️ pic.twitter.com/Nl0V5hgaJU
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 4, 2019
Sure enough, as Charles Barkley waxed poetic on Harden and about his MVP chances, Superbook USA chimed in:
Chuck is right @NBAonTNT … updated MVP odds
James Harden 7/4
Giannis Antetokounmpo 5/2
LeBron James 9/2
Anthony Davis 6/1
— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) January 4, 2019
That’s pretty incredible, he wasn’t anywhere to be found our leaderboards a month ago.
He has gone berserk. Harden is averaging 43 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 9.4 assists in his past five games and 40-7-9 in his last 10 games.
He has almost single-handedly brought the Rockets back from the edge of relevance and now they are in fourth in the Western Conference just a game back in the loss column from the Warriors
The trick for Harden will be consistency. He’s had an insane month, but it’s also an enormous burden he’s bearing with Chris Paul out. That’s reflected in his efficiency; he’s shooting just 42% from the field in the last 10 games. But that’s compensated by his shot selection, with all but nine of his 25 shots per game coming from 3-point range. It’s true, MoreyBall is all 3’s and layups.
Capping off a run like this with a win on the road vs. the Warriors in a TNT game is the kind of narrative builder you need to stave off what Giannis Antetokounmpo is doing with Milwaukee.
That said, Antetokounmpo hasn’t even really hit a stretch where he’s played his best, and the minutes load on Harden with a team that is woefully short on depth could wear through.
The next 45 days will be key before the All-Star Break in establishing just where he stands.
For now, though, he’s a rightful new leader in the clubhouse, and very much proving that he remains one of the baddest cats in the yard.