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Taking an early look at the NBA Finals MVP market [UPDATE]

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With the 2020 NBA Finals expected to start some time next week, we take a look at the current odds to win MVP.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 22, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2020 NBA Finals matchup hasn’t been set but the market for who will win MVP is already posted on DraftKings Sportsbook. With four teams still in it, this gives us an opportunity to see how the favorites stack up while also potentially landing some value bets while odds are lower on certain players. Let’s break down some of the odds, including favorites and long-shot bets.

Let’s start at the top with the two most obvious choices: LeBron James (+100) and Anthony Davis (+225). From a value standpoint, the clear bet is AD, right? He’s been the best player in the Western Conference Finals through three games and hit the game-winner in Game 3. LeBron has the history and narrative on his side a bit, but AD has been the better player for the Lakers throughout the postseason. In my eyes, it should be closer between the two in terms of odds and it isn’t.

After that, things get very interesting. If you’re of the thought that the Lakers won’t hold on and win the Finals, then there’s a ton of value. Jimmy Butler and Jayson Tatum are the best players on their respective teams and both come in at +1300. The Heat and Celtics have a legit shot of beating the Lakers in a seven-game series, so getting these two at 13/1 is appealing. Butler had arguably been the MVP of the postseason through two rounds after helping the Heat sweep the No. 1 seeded Bucks. Tatum has emerged as a budding superstar and is leading Boston in scoring by a wide margin.

My favorite way to approach the Finals MVP market is looking at long-shots, particularly where Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic are at. Murray is somehow behind Jokic and has worse odds than Jaylen Brown AND Goran Dragic? Seriously? If the Nuggets can come back and get to the Finals, you’ likely see Murray jump from +4000 to potentially the favorite. He’d at least have top 3 odds depending on the matchup. I kind of like throwing a little bit of dough on Murray at 40/1 in hopes he lifts Denver to the Finals. Even Jokic at 30/1 gives us some good value.

My last value pick would be Kemba Walker. He’s the veteran leader of the Celtics, so if Boston can make it through to the Finals, it would be Kemba’s first crack at a title. Knowing a player like Walker, he’ll relish this opportunity and is a sneaky play to steal the series from the Lakers or Nuggets. If you think L.A. won’t make it through, remember, now is the time to get in on the Finals MVP market.

Update, Sept. 24 — After Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, we saw some movement on the Heat and Celtics players. Jimmy Butler, Bam and Dragic all saw their odds jump up slightly for Finals MVP. The biggest mover, however, was Tyler Herro, who was 100/1 and is now 40/1 after dropping 37 points in Game 4. With the Heat up 3-1, it looks like getting in on some action on Miami makes sense. Butler, Bam and Herro would be my favorite picks if the Heat can pull it off and win it all.

2020 NBA Finals MVP Odds

Player Team Odds
Player Team Odds
LeBron James Lakers +100
Anthony Davis Lakers +225
Jimmy Butler Heat +900
Bam Adebayo Heat +1200
Goran Dragic Heat +2200
Jayson Tatum Celtics +2800
Nikola Jokic Nuggets +3000
Jamal Murray Nuggets +4000
Tyler Herro Heat +4000
Kemba Walker Celtics +10000
Jaylen Brown Celtics +10000

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