NBA betting: Is it too early to wager on Finals MVP?
Chris Sheridan looks at the top 10 candidates to be named this season's NBA Finals MVP and assesses their chances, with Steph Curry the betting favorite.
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Condolences to all those who had the Nets to win the title, or Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving to win NBA Finals MVP. Those tickets can now be ripped up, and perhaps the trick today is to find something to replace them with.
Remember, every day is a new opportunity. Words to live by.
We are down to 15 teams in the NBA playoffs, and we could be down to 14 by tomorrow if Trae Young fails to show up again tonight as the Atlanta Hawks play the Miami Heat in Game 5 facing elimination with a 3-1 deficit. We also get pivotal Game 5s in the Minnesota-Memphis series and the New Orleans-Phoenix series, and aside from looking at tonight’s matchups we are going to try to fast forward to June.
Who is going to win the title? And who is worthy of a wager when it comes to predicting the NBA Finals MVP?
This is a good topic for this particular Tuesday because the finals MVP future market is loaded with decent choices at nice prices, beginning with Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics at +450 after he averaged 29.5 points in the four-game sweep of Brooklyn that Boston completed last night.
The Celtics move on to face the winner of the Milwaukee-Chicago series, and that team should be the Bucks given the way they have handled the Bulls in three of the four games thus far. Boston went 2-2 against Milwaukee during the regular season, and a Celtics-Bucks series would likely begin Sunday – although configuring the schedule is tricky business when there is the possibility of having seven Game 7s over the weekend if all the remaining series go the distance.
Whatever the case, just one team is going to emerge from this postseason being able to say the season was a complete success, because that one team will have won the title. But who will be the MVP of the finals? Let’s look at the top 10 candidates and assess their chances:
Steph Curry (+370): We have to assume he will stop coming off the bench now that Jordan Poole has crashed back to Earth. If the Warriors finish off the Nuggets, they get the winner of the Minnesota-Memphis series and will have the experience edge. The Warriors were 1-3 vs. the Grizzlies and 2-2 vs. the Wolves.
Jayson Tatum (+450): The old expression “defense wins championships” still holds true, and the sweep of the Nets showed how dominant Boston can be defensively. Tatum is a stud, but he still must get past the Bucks (barring a profound Chicago awakening) and will be defended by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis, which will be exponentially tougher than what he experienced vs. Brooklyn.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (+750): Teammate Khris Middleton is still 10 days away from being re-evaluated, so the assumption must be that the series vs. Boston will begin without him. Milwaukee went 2-2 vs. Boston during the regular season. Giannis went 4-1 vs. the Celtics in the 2019 playoffs.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker (+800): Let’s see them get past the Pelicans first, and let’s see if Booker is able to play with a bum hamstring. That same injury has hampered James Harden for more than a year.
Jimmy Butler (+1000): If the Heat finish off the Hawks, they will get the Philadelphia-Toronto winner. Butler loves playing against his former team, the Sixers, and has been as good as anyone not named Tatum in the postseason thus far.
Ja Morant (+1200): The Grizzlies have zero postseason experience prior to this month, so this is a lot to expect. But if Memphis gets to the finals, no one else (aside from Desmond Bane) has the talent level to take over a series and win a finals MVP.
Joel Embiid (+1400): He got booed off the court along with his teammates last night at home after the loss to Toronto, and the torn ligaments in his thumb are clearly a factor.
Jaylen Brown (+1400): Very good player, but if the Celtics win a championship he will be second fiddling Tatum