Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns NBA Finals MVP preview, odds, and best bets: Paul the safe play, Holiday the value
Well, we made it. It has been a great NBA season, and the playoffs in particular have been thrilling. Now it’s time to play for all the marbles; the NBA Finals are here. Here at Pickswise we’ll have tons of great content coming for the series, but today we’re talking Finals MVP. It’s the only player futures market left to decide, and I have plenty of thoughts.
Bucks vs. Suns is upon us, and it should be a great series. Let’s not waste any more time, though, we’re diving into the Finals MVP convo starting with the odds courtesy of DraftKings:
NBA Finals MVP odds
Chris Paul +175
Devin Booker +240
Giannis Antetokounmpo +375
Khris Middleton +550
Jrue Holiday +900
Deandre Ayton +2500
Everyone else — essentially the role players on both teams–are 100/1 or greater.
As you can tell from these odds, the Suns are favorites to win the series and the championship. It’s interesting, though, because they aren’t that heavily favored. Most shops have them at something like -185/+160, yet Paul and Booker both have way lower odds for Finals MVP than any Bucks player.
Antetokounmpo’s status obviously looms large here, since it’s unclear how much he’s going to play in this series. Reporting on his knee injury has lacked clarity, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he played in Game 1 or if he sat out the entire series.
I’m skeptical that he’s going to play early in this series. Maybe if the Bucks get down a game or two he’ll make a heroic comeback, but I just don’t see it right away. If he does come back, he might not be himself — so I’m staying away even at close to 4/1.
If the Bucks win the series, someone is going to have to win Finals MVP. Which brings us to our best bets…
NBA Finals MVP best bet: Chris Paul +175
If you want to play it safe, Paul does make some sense at +175. The Suns are -185 to win the series, and if they do win it all I lean heavily toward Paul being the one to hoist the hardware. Booker was the team’s clear top offensive option during the regular season, but Paul has been doing a lot more scoring in the playoffs.
He just dropped 41 points to close out the Clippers, and has taken at least 19 shots in five straight games. He was understandably rusty early in the Clippers series after catching Covid-19, but was unstoppable against Denver in the second round, shooting 62 percent from the floor in that series.
He’s also a lock to rack up a bunch of assists, and fill up the stat-sheet even if he’s not scoring. If the Finals MVP race is somewhat even between Paul and Booker, the tie will almost certainly to Paul. This could function as something of a lifetime achievement award for Paul, who has been grinding for over 15 years to get to this point.
NBA Finals MVP longshot bet: Jrue Holiday +900
If you want a Bucks player, or just juicier odds in general, I like Holiday at +900. Like I mentioned above, I’m skeptical about how much Antetokounmpo will play. I think the knee injury is more serious than the team is letting on.
Since Antetokounmpo went down, Holiday’s volume has seen a sharp increase. In two games without Giannis, Holiday has had at least 25 points and nine assists both times. In Game 6 against Atlanta he nearly had a triple double, finishing with 27/9/9.
He took 23 shots in that game, and the ball is almost always in his hands right now. Even with Antetokounmpo in the lineup he’s had some huge games these playoffs, like when he scored 33 and took 25 shots in Game 1 against the Hawks. He has the potential to fill up the stat sheet just like Paul, and at nearly 10/1 has a lot of value if you like the Bucks.