Oddsmakers and one of the greatest guards in NBA history appear to be in full agreement on the 2017-18 Most Valuable Player. Having led the Houston Rockets to the best record in the league, guard James Harden appears to have the MVP locked up.

Betting site Bet Victor listed Harden's odds of winning the award at an overwhelming 1/8. In an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today that was published Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant gave a thorough endorsement of Harden.

“It's got to be James,” Bryant said. “I really don't understand the debate about picking somebody else. I don't get it. Like, what the hell does this guy have to do? I mean for the last three years, the guy has been absolutely lights out, and now you still want to sit here and debate who should be MVP when he leads the league in scoring (30.4 points per game), his assists numbers (8.8 per) are off the charts, they have the best record in the league (65-16).

“If he doesn't win MVP this year, what the hell is he supposed to do to win MVP, average 40 (points), 15 (assists) and 15 (rebounds)? I mean, come on now. Enough is enough.”

Indeed, Harden's main selling points have been his stat line, the Rockets best-overall record and the fact that he has never won the award. 

LeBron James, however, has also posted stellar statistics, despite the offseason departure of guard Kyrie Irving. James is third in scoring (27.5 per game), second in assists (9.1 per game) and 15th in rebounds (8.6)  — averages that approach a triple-double.

James, a four-time regular-season MVP, trails Harden at 5/1 odds, though he owns an edge on Harden in some key categories. James shot 54.2 percent from the field, while Harden shot 44.9 percent. James also played in all 82 games, while Harden played in 72.

Longshots trail James and Harden. The New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis has the third-best odds at 18/1, while the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant both have 20/1 odds. 

Prior to the start of the season, oddsmakers listed James and the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard as the MVP co-favorites at 4/1, according to an ESPN article on Oct. 16. Harden was given the sixth-best odds at 8/1. Leonard played in just nine games this season.

Longtime NBA sportswriter Mark Heisler went with Harden for MVP, while expressing reservations about the criteria.

"The biggest award is also the dumbest. With no stated definition, it means something different to everyone so 'deserving' can mean 'has never won it,' as it does this season," Heisler wrote on Saturday in the Orange County Register. GettyImages-940806762 (1) James Harden is the favorite to win the 2017-18 MVP award. Photo: Ronald Cortes/Getty Images