The NBA Finals feature the same two teams for the fourth conseuctive season, with Vegas backing the Warriors the defeat the Cavaliers and win a third title in four years. But despite the consistency of the teams, the three previous finals have resulted in three different players winning the NBA Finals MVP award.
Here’s how the odds look for this year’s matchup:
NBA Finals MVP Odds
According to OddsShark.com, Kevin Durant is the favorite to win Finals MVP at -150. Durant would be just the 5th player ever to win the award in back-to-back seasons after averaging 35/8/5 in the 2017 finals. Steph Curry is the next favorite, priced at +175. Curry has battled injury and inconsistency in the playoffs, but averaged 28 points over the final five games of the Western Conference finals.
Then there’s LeBron James. The three-time award winner is +700 to win the award, impressive considering his team is a massive underdog to win the series.
“Will LeBron James win the NBA Finals MVP Despite the Cavaliers losing the series” is also a prop available at some betting sites including BetOnline. YES is priced at +900 and NO is at -1800.
Here are the remaining odds for Finals MVP:
Draymond Green +1600
Klay Thompson +900
Kevin Love +8000
Andre Iguodala +10000
J.R. Smith +15000
Tristan Thompson +20000
George Hill +40000
NBA Finals MVP Pick
Let’s peel things away and focus on the top three players: Durant, Curry and LeBron.
There’s no way to rationalize a bet on anyone else in this series. Andre Iguodala shouldn’t even have won his first MVP in 2015, awarded for “slowing down LeBron” to the tune of 35/13/8 in six games. He’s hurt anyway, and so unless you envision a fistfight organized by Draymond where everyone gets suspended except him, there’s nobody else to bet on.
Durant is the chalk because of his dominance last year. It’s not like the Cavaliers improved in any shape or form, in fact they are definitely worse than they were last year. Durant had 34 points in game 7 against Houston, but also put up totals of 38 and 37 earlier in that series.
Personal opinion incoming: Durant only sees LeBron as his counterpart. He relishes this opportunity, and I think that Durant sees this series as the “torch passing” of best player in the NBA. Durant will smoke the Cavs for the second straight year, this time with James putting his entire team on his back.
Durant would join LeBron, Jordan, Shaq and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win the award in consecutive years. Shaq did it in three straight years, and Jordan had two separate runs of three consecutive MVP awards.
Averaging 22 points and shooting 40 percent from range in the 2016 Finals, Curry might have won MVP if not for the Cavaliers stealing Game 7 and the title. The MVP still eludes Curry, who is one of 13 players to win multiple NBA MVP awards. Curry would have to shoot lights-out in the series to win the award, and I think Durant will command the touches to keep his numbers above Curry’s as far as this award is concerned.
Then there’s LeBron. There’s only one player in NBA history to win Finals MVP without winning the series. In the 1969 Finals, Jerry West averaged 38 points during the series and had a triple double in Game 7 despite his Lakers falling to the Celtics. That’s pretty much the level of production we can expect from LeBron, but a Warriors in five won’t give LeBron the same argument that befitted West. There’s no doubt LeBron is in fact the most valuable player in this series and in the entire league; The Cavs have no business even being in the playoffs without LeBron.
Kevin Durant is sensitive. Kevin Durant wants you to know that he’s the best player in the league. He’ll get a chance to earn your approval over the next two weeks. Expect dominance.
Pick: Durant -150 is a lock
Source: Heavy Sports