NBA Finals MVP odds, early values: Which long shots are worth betting now?
The NBA Finals are still over two weeks away, but it's never too early to bet on which player will earn the Finals MVP trophy - especially with just four teams left in the postseason field.
Stephen Curry (+215) is the early favorite to win an award he's miraculously never won despite five trips to the Finals and three championship rings with the dynastic Warriors. He's followed closely by red-hot Celtics wing Jayson Tatum (+275), while Heat two-way star Jimmy Butler (+550) and Mavericks wunderkind Luka Doncic (+600) are the only other options priced shorter than 15-1.
All four are easily the most likely choices should their teams win it all. But with each boasting a price only nominally more attractive than their respective teams' title odds - or, in Doncic's case, even shorter than Dallas' odds (+625) - you're better off betting on a long shot to surprise in this field.
So, ahead of the conference finals starting on Tuesday, here are the current odds to win NBA Finals MVP at theScore Bet and our favorite long shot bet for each remaining team:
Bam Adebayo, Heat (+2000)
If Adebayo didn't get hurt in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, there's a legitimate case to be made that the Heat could have rallied in that series and beaten the Lakers to win it all. That's how important Adebayo is to his team's success on both ends of the court.
He could see a favorable matchup in the Finals against either the Warriors or Mavericks - neither of which have the traditional size to overwhelm the 6-foot-9 center, who shot 53.5% in the 2020 Finals and converted 64.8% of his buckets against the 76ers. He also has the two-way profile that most long shots need to supplant their team's leading scorer in voters' minds.
Jordan Poole, Warriors (+2500)
It's temping to pick Draymond Green (+1500) or Klay Thompson (+1500) to win this award should Curry fail to lock it up once again. Here's the issue: Green likely won't draw a defensive assignment with enough flash to earn this trophy, and Thompson is still too risky of a bet across a seven-game series given where he's at in his recovery from multiple lower-body injuries.
If anyone can put on a shooting display to rival Curry in the Finals, why not Poole? The third-year guard has already posted a pair of 30-point games this postseason and has averaged 0.9 fewer points than Thompson with better efficiency (50% shooting). It'll take one or two Warriors going berserk from deep to foil the Celtics or Heat defensively, and Poole has the unwavering confidence and sweet stroke to pull it off.
Marcus Smart, Celtics (+2800)
To be clear, Tatum is my pick to win this award with all being equal. But it's hard to ignore the price on Smart, whose defensive prowess has been the catalyst for the Celtics' incredible late-season run.
Boston's 36-10 run over its last 46 games began when Smart re-entered the lineup, and his work in this postseason has justified him earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in the regular season. He's also been a crucial cog on the offensive end - drilling five threes in a Game 6 win over the Bucks before dishing out 10 assists in Game 7.
My money is on the Celtics to win it all, and that'll likely mean Smart locking up either Curry or Doncic in a potential Finals matchup. There's precedent for a defense-first player earning MVP honors (see: Andre Iguodala), so if Smart can facilitate the offense, too, he'll have a compelling case as a long shot.
Jalen Brunson, Mavericks (+10000)
This is clearly the biggest lottery ticket of the bunch for two reasons: the Mavericks are the largest underdogs to win it all, and Doncic initiates the offense more than any star left in the postseason field. But if anyone can help carry the load offensively, it's Brunson.
We already saw the former Villanova star put Dallas on his back in the first round, when he scored 66 points in three games against the Jazz with Doncic sidelined. He's cooled off considerably since then, but he's still the Mavericks' second-leading scorer this postseason (22.9 PPG) and has shown enough in recent weeks to deserve a price far shorter than 100-1.