NBA

NBA Finals MVP Odds: Who Will Win the Bill Russell Trophy?

Annie Nader
Annie Nader@ANader33
NBA Finals MVP Odds: Who Will Win the Bill Russell Trophy?

Following a pair of quick Conference Finals playoff rounds, the NBA Finals stage is set.

The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks will square off for the ultimate title, and Game 1 is set for next Thursday, June 6th.

This matchup isn’t short on intriguing storylines, as stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Luka Doncic are all looking to raise their first NBA banner, while Kyrie Irving will clash with his former team and an unforgiving Boston fanbase.

Which star will show out and lead their team to a championship? Let’s take a look at FanDuel Sportbook's NBA Finals MVP odds and explore the market.

NBA Finals MVP Odds

Player
NBA Finals MVP Odds
Jayson Tatum-120
Luka Doncic+210
Jaylen Brown+600
Kyrie Irving+2000
Derrick White+3500
Kristaps Porzingis+5000
Jrue Holiday+5500
View Full Table

Jayson Tatum (-120)

The Celtics own -220 odds (68.75% probability) to win the NBA championship, and it’s not hard to like their chances given the defensive weapons they can throw at both Doncic and Irving.

Tatum’s Finals MVP odds are reflective of just that. He’s averaging 26.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in the postseason

In the 21st century, we’ve yet to see a player on a championship-winning team average 25+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 5+ assists and not win the Finals MVP.

He’s been on this stage before and is a better and more experienced player than his last go-around. In the 2022 Finals, he averaged 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in what was widely considered a disappointing series for him.

Now that Tatum’s been through the playoff ringer, he seems primed to play his best basketball of the season when it matters most. Last week, Jaylen Brown was awarded the Eastern Conference Finals MVP, so Tatum may be due for his accolades.

If you’re keen on Tatum or any Celtic in this market, I’d consider striking on their Finals MVP odds before Game 1. This season, Boston went a mind-boggling 37-4 at TD Garden. They are 3-0 in Game 1s this postseason, while Dallas is 1-2 in this split.

Luka Doncic (+210)

The discrepancy between Dallas’ +180 championship odds (35.1% probability) and Doncic’s +210 Finals MVP odds (32.3% probability) is significantly closer than that of Boston and Tatum.

Fair enough, considering Doncic comes into this series averaging 28.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in the postseason.

He’s recorded six triple-doubles so far in these playoffs, and his 20-point first-quarter performance in last night’s Western Conference Finals victory speaks to just how quickly he can go off.

While Boston’s top defensive guards will present the biggest challenge yet for Dallas, I’d expect Irving to struggle more so than Doncic. For starters, we’ve seen Irving falter a handful of times in these playoffs, scoring 16 points or fewer in five games. On the other hand, we’ve already seen Doncic drill plenty of impressive fadeaways amid intense pressure from the defense, so he’s always well-suited to put up big numbers.

He’s been shooting 10.6 three-point attempts (3PA) per playoff game and will now get a go at a Celtics team that surrenders a ton of looks from downtown.

Luka averaged 35.0 points, 15.0 rebounds, and 12.0 assists in two games against Boston this season. If the Mavs pull this thing off, it will be on the back of Doncic, so I have a hard time considering anyone else on Dallas.

Derrick White (+3500)

If we take a look at the list of NBA Finals MVPs, we can see that it almost always goes to the championship team’s star and leading scorer.

We’ve touched on Tatum and Doncic, and while Brown (+600) deserves some consideration in this market, my faith in Irving (+2000) over Doncic is minimal.

However, the aforementioned list shows us a few key outliers.

In the last 10 years, two MVPs averaged fewer than 13.0 points per game in the playoffs but were awarded the hardware due to their overall effect on the championship series, namely on the defensive end.

Kawhi Leonard (12.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game) won in 2014 while Andre Iguodala (7.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game ) won in 2015.

In 2014, Leonard contributed 17.8 points in the Finals and ranked second in net rating and plus/minus among players who averaged at least 30 minutes. The only person to rank ahead of him in net rating and plus/minus was Boris Diaw, who averaged just 6.2 points.

We saw a similar phenomenon in 2015 with Iguodala. He drew the defensive matchup on LeBron James and led all players in the series in plus/minus and net rating.

While it’s admittedly a long shot, I don’t know that a player has ever fit the bill to join this list of underdogs more than Derrick White.

This season, White led all NBA starters in net rating and ranked second in plus/minus behind only Nikola Jokic. He’s been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team in back-to-back seasons and should put his defensive capabilities on display against Doncic and Irving.

He’s just as capable on the offensive end, averaging 17.8 points and a team-leading 3.4 3PM in the postseason. He could play an even bigger scoring role against Dallas. The Mavs will have a hard enough time silencing Tatum and Brown and don’t have enough defensive depth at the wing to account for White, too.

White is a proven clutch player who has come up with game-winning and game-saving plays throughout his time in Boston. I’m not counting him out in this market.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.