Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder is off to an amazing start when it comes to his individual stats. The lone star on the Thunder, who is averaging a triple-double for points, assists, and rebounds, has been tipped in a recent NBA.com article as the favorite to win the coveted NBA MVP Award ("Kia Race To The MVP Ladder/December 2nd). Sam Mitchell is quoted in the article and he says "for me, Westbrook right now, no matter how they finish, is No. 1. And I think (the Thunder) are going to make the playoffs because he’s not going to allow it to go down any other way...you’ve got to go with Russ at No.

1.”

Kawhi Leonard among favorites too

It was a few months ago when I originally commented on the MVP market for what was then the upcoming NBA season. At that time I identified Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs as a player that was underrated in a September 5th article at BetSwot.com:

"Leonard finished 2nd in MVP voting last season. At 25/1 entering this season, that alone is good enough for me. The 25-year-old is the two-time defensive player of the year and, with Tim Duncan retired, Leonard’s the new face of the 3rd-favorite Spurs."

Betting odds on Russell Westbrook

However, Westbrook averaging an incredible triple-double through 20 games of the season means that he has been able to keep his efforts up over a significant range.

His trending-upward stats relative to recent seasons is certainly in part due to the fact that the OKC offense is not being run through Kevin Durant as option one. Westbrook is the guy that the OKC Thunder want to have the ball, that means he's going to score and get assists, and his shear athleticism and determination both make him a force on the boards despite only a listed height of 6'3".

888Sport have recently shortened their NBA MVP betting odds on Westbrook from 4 to 1 to 7 to 2, possibly reflecting betting trends favoring the OKC standout.

When it comes to the longshots, Leonard is no longer on the table. The member of the Spurs has gone from 25 to 1 from September to 6 to 1 now (BetVictor).

He promises to earn some votes at season's end especially from writers that factor in defensive considerations stronger than offensive ones. Additionally, Leonard's Spurs are a stronger team than Westbrook's Thunder thus far and perhaps some of the writers that vote on the MVP Award may factor that in too.

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