NBA Finals MVP Predictions - LeBron, A.D., or someone on the Heat?

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler looks to pass.
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Ricky Dimon

NBA· 1 year ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

There is a clear-cut favorite in the upcoming NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat (that, of course, is Los Angeles at -375). There is also a clear-cut favorite to win NBA Finals MVP, as well (that, of course, is LeBron James at -125). However, LeBron is expected to get more competition in the latter race than the Lakers are expected to get from the Heat.

And it will likely come from his own teammate. Anthony Davis has been outstanding in the playoffs–and really throughout his entire first season in L.A.–and he comes in as a +250 second choice for MVP honors. This virtual head-to-head showdown between LeBron and A.D. makes for an intriguing betting market, while further interest may be generated by the fact that the Heat have all of the next four favorites according to the odds.

But does anyone on the Heat have a realistic chance? Well, let’s see what the odds say about that question.

NBA Finals MVP odds

LeBron James, Lakers: -125
Anthony Davis, Lakers: +250
Bam Adebayo, Heat: +900
Jimmy Butler, Heat: +900
Goran Dragic, Heat: +3000
Tyler Herro, Heat: +3500

LeBron or Davis?

If the Lakers become 2019-20 NBA champions, there are obviously only two ways this MVP award can go. After all, no one other than LeBron or Davis has better than +15000 odds to lift this individual trophy. It’s going to be one of those two superstars.

Even at -125, LeBron actually has some value here. Davis would have to be a lot better in order to steal the MVP from his world-renowned teammate. After all, this is LeBron we are talking about. If L.A. takes care of business, LeBron will get votes just for being LeBron. And that certainly isn’t to say that he wouldn’t deserve it. He will garner plenty of legitimate and well-deserved votes, too. The 35-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down, averaging 25.3 points, a career-high 10.2 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game during the regular season to finish runner-up in the MVP voting to Giannis Antetokounmpo. It would come as no surprise if he takes his talents to even greater heights in the NBA Finals. After all, this is a guy who has already participated in nine of these things and is a three-time NBA champion. This isn’t his first rodeo, folks.

This is A.D.’s first rodeo. And based on his current form (26.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 2.3 BPG, and 1.5 SPG during the regular season and 31.2 PPG during the five-game Western Conference Finals victory over the Denver Nuggets), he will probably thrive. But will the former Kentucky star thrive to the extent that he can beat out LeBron for this honor? That’s going to be tough.

Heat hopeful

It’s going to be even tougher for anyone on the Heat to win it, as they would have to pull off a series upset as +280 underdogs.

If Miami does complete its incredible postseason run with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, which individual would have the inside track on MVP? Well, Jimmy Butler at +900 is probably the best choice. He is the biggest star on this team in terms of prestige and he is playing like it, too. Butler has quite simply been doing it all for the Heat. The 31-year-old averaged 19.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 6.0 APG during the regular season. He is contributing similar numbers during the playoffs in addition to averaging almost two steals per game.

The pick here is LeBron. But if you have been on the Heat bandwagon and aren’t about to jump off it now, Butler at +900 for NBA Finals MVP may have better value than Miami at +280 for NBA champion.

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