Jun 17, 2012; Miam, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) looks for the pass while Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) defends during the second quarter in game three in the 2012 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

2013 NBA MVP odds: LeBron James the favorite, then Kevin Durant

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

It’s no surprise that LeBron James will enter the 2012-13 NBA season as the heavy favorite to win the MVP.

LeBron captured his third MVP in four years last season and appears to be at the peak of his powers. His PER of 30.74 last season was by far the best in the league while Chris Paul came in second with a PER of 27.04.

The Sports Book Bovada currently has LeBron winning the MVP at 9/5 odds. Kevin Durant is second at 15/4. Kobe Bryant is third at 12/1. Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash are all 16/1.

Five of the top six players in terms of these odds are either on the Thunder or the Lakers. The Heat, Thunder and Lakers are considered to be slightly in a class by themselves to compete for an NBA title this season and combined with their star power it’s no surprise that the odds look like this.

The odds say that it will be closer to a 2-man race than anything else between LeBron and Durant, just like it was last season. Durant will have a lot of ground to make up if he is going to legitimately take the award from LeBron. Voters are always looking for fresh faces with the MVP though and if the Thunder have a better regular season record and Durant has a career-year, maybe he can pull it off.

Westbrook may be standing in Durant’s way as much as anything given the fourth best odds to win the MVP. That shows how valuable Westbrook is to the Thunder and will make it harder for Durant to really stand out as the MVP of his team and the league.

It’s interesting that Kobe has better odds than Howard. At this stage in his career Kobe is clearly on the decline while a new face in Howard in L.A. could make the Lakers an unstoppable force. If that is the case, often the voters will look to what changed from the year before to place the value and that will most likely be Howard’s impact.

And if you are really crazy, you can bet your money on James Harden to win the hardware at 350/1 odds.

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Tags: Kevin Durant LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers Miami Heat NBA MVP Oklahoma City Thunder

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