Mar. 2, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard (3) Chris Paul dives for a loose ball from Phoenix Suns guard (13) Steve Nash in the second half at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Clippers 81-78. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bet On Basketball: Can Chris Paul Win MVP?

Outside of a NBA championship and Finals MVP, winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award is the highest honor. Since the 1955-96 some of the best guards have walked away with the award: Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, etc.

Enter Chris Paul, the ninth year point guard looking to join that exclusive class. Looking at his surrounding teammates and the outlook on the Western Conference, if you bet on basketball this is the year you take a chance on Paul winning the award. Since the 2007-08 season, Paul has finished in the top five for MVP in all but one season with his best finish being in ’07-08 when he came in second behind Kobe Bryant.

Coming into the season, online betting site has Chris Paul at a 11/2 odds to win the NBA Most Valuable player award. If you have a knack for betting on basketball then this is your chance to make a safe bet. Paul is surrounded by his best team yet in Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and newcomers J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley. And we can’t forget the bench that made  a name for itself last year which was lead by Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes. With the addition of Doc Rivers, this team has NBA championship contention written all over it.

Like the point guard winners before him, the performance the Los Angeles Clippers have in the regular season will have a huge impact on whether he walks away with the award. Derrick Rose and his Chicago Bulls finished with the best overall record in 2010-11. Nash led the Phoenix Suns to 50 and 60 wins during his back-to-back MVP stretch. Paul and company can pull off something similar as they’re coming off a franchise-high 56 wins which was four back from the best in the Western Conference and 10 back from the league-high wins by the Miami Heat.

Most importantly are the player stats. If you aren’t putting up the numbers that’ll catch the voters eye you won’t be in the discussion. Last season Paul averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game while posting a field-goal percentage of 48 percent and a Player Efficiency Rating of 26.4 which was third in the NBA behind Lebron James and Kevin Durant. Looking at how Rivers used Rajon Rondo in Boston, it’s safe to assume that Rivers will put Paul in the best situation to succeed whether it’s scoring, helping teammates or any other facet of the game.

Paul will have to fight off other competitors in James, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Durant, but if Paul can look a bit like his 2007-08 self and lead this Clippers team to a top seed in the West, you will want to make this bet on basketball. Even if it’s just between your friends and not in Las Vegas, Paul’s candidacy for the MVP award will be apparent all season.

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