LeBron Heavily Favored to Finish as NBA Season Scoring Champion

Lebron James NBA Scoring Red Background

  • LeBron James is the odds on favorite to become the NBA season’s scoring champion at -120 via Bovada.
  • James currently leads the league in scoring at 30.3 PPG with Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetotkounmpo behind him at 30.2 PPG and 30.1 PPG, respectively.
  • Embiid is listed at +250 and Giannis at +300 via the same sportsbook.

With four games left to play in the NBA regular season, one of the closest scoring title races is about to unfold.

According to Bovada, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is the odds on favorite to finish the season as scoring leader at -120. Philadelphia 76ers big man and MVP second favorite Joel Embiid is next at +250 while Milwaukee Bucks two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is third at +300.

Looking at the odds, it looks like LeBron has a big edge but looking at the stats, it’s as close as it can get.

Race for the Scoring Title Heats Up

Currently, James leads the league in scoring at 30.3 points per game. However, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo are as close as they can be to him at 30.2 PPG and 30.1 PPG, respectively. Not only is this one of the closest scoring races ever but it’s also the first time since the 2005-06 season that the NBA has three 30-point scorers. That season, the three players to average at least 30 PPG were Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and well, LeBon James.

But for James to be named as the season’s scoring champion, assuming he finishes ahead of Embiid and Antetokounmpo in scoring average, he must play at least two out of the Lakers’ last four games. That’s because NBA season leaders are required to play at least a minimum of 58 games. LBJ has played in 56 due to injuries and rest. If he does, and finishes as the NBA’s scoring champion, it will be the fewest number of games played for a player winning the title since Iverson played 60 during the 2001-02 season.

James has been the Lakers’ outright scoring leader in 83.6% of the games he’s played this season. That would be the highest such percentage in NBA history for a player in his 15th NBA season or later. The current record is 80.5% by Karl Malone during the 1999-2000 season, the Mailman’s 15th season. LeBron is doing it in Year 19. James also recently passed Malone for 2nd in the NBA’s all-time scoring leaderboard. But then again, impressive as LeBron’s scoring feats have been at age 37, it’s the Lakers missing the playoffs after opening at -5000 to make it that will make this season unforgettable.

Lakers Were a -5000 to Make the Playoffs Before the Season Started

It’s hard to imagine that the Los Angeles Lakers opened with a -5000 odds to make the playoffs before the season started. Those odds faded to +600 at the end of last month and that’s before their losses to the Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans, and Denver Nuggets. After those three losses, the Lakers have fallen two full games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the final Play-in Tournament spot in the Western Conference.

To illustrate how the Lakers have become the Impossible Mission Force, they need to finish the regular season with one fewer loss than the Spurs who hold the regular season tiebreaker between them. San Antonio currently has 45 losses with four games left. That means the Spurs have to lose three out of their remaining four games to finish with 48 losses. And the Lakers need to win out their remaining games. Or the Spurs lose out and the Lakers win three of four. That looks more difficult than Mission Impossible.

The Lakers also began the 2021-22 NBA season with a +450 odds to win the title. That was the second-shortest odds in the best NBA betting sites, behind only the Brooklyn Nets who were at +250. With four games left to play, the Lakers’ title odds are now listed at +20000. It was at +150000 before losing to the Nuggets, and +100000 before they were beaten by the Pelicans.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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