Upcoming Match-ups

Updated 2021 NBA Finals MVP Odds – Chris Paul the Favorite With Suns Set to Face Bucks

Nick Krueger

by Nick Krueger in NBA Basketball

Updated Jul 5, 2021 · 6:52 AM PDT

Paul George defending Chris Paul during a NBA playoff game.
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) guarding Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) during game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Final between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers on June 30, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
  • Phoenix’s Chris Paul is the odd-on favorite to win NBA Finals MVP honors ahead of Game 1 on Tuesday (ABC, 9 p.m. EST)
  • Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is third among top candidates at +375 following a knee injury sustained in the Eastern Conference Finals
  • Read below for a complete list of odds and a look at who to pick

Chris Paul needed 13 trips to the playoffs to finally advance to his first NBA Finals. He won’t need nearly that many attempts to take Finals MVP honors if he can lead the Phoenix Suns to a title over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Odds have been updated for the award ahead of Game 1, and Paul leads the pack at +175. His teammate, Devin Booker (+240), edged out Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (+375) as the next man up. When the season began, Paul and Booker had the longest odds among the top 15 players at +4200, while Antetokounmpo (+850) was tied for fourth with Utah’s Donovan Mitchell.

After a few narrow misses during the Mike D’Antoni era, Phoenix advanced to its first NBA Finals appearance since the 1992-93 season. The Suns open as six-point favorites at home in Game 1 against the Bucks, who are back in the Finals for the first time since the 1973-74 season.

2021 NBA Finals MVP Odds

Player Odds
Chris Paul +175
Devin Booker +240
Giannis Antetokounmpo +375
Khris Middleton +550
Jrue Holiday +900
Deandre Ayton +2500
Mikal Bridges +10000
Brook Lopez +10000
Cameron Johnson +15000
Cameron Payne +15000
Pat Connaughton +25000
Bobby Portis +25000
PJ Tucker +25000

Odds as of July 4th from DraftKings

Playing the Narrative

When it comes to picking season-long and series MVP candidates, the conversation typically begins with a player’s relationship to both. The more a superstar caliber player brushes up against such awards without winning, the more a fever builds for him to get it when things finally fall into place.

For all of the admiration Paul has received over the years, outside of landing on All-NBA first teams a handful of times, the big fish accolades like NBA titles or MVP awards have eluded him. Now, with the end of his career nearing, there is an energy amongst basketball fans and media to see him finally come away with the hardware he’s gone without for so long.

An interesting scenario is playing out for Milwaukee with Antetokounmpo’s slightly murky injury status heading into the Finals. The two-time league MVP missed the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals with a hyperextended knee, and there’s a slight chance he’ll miss Tuesday’s Game 1 as well. This could actually bolster his case if Milwaukee loses its first game without him, only for him to return for the rest of the series and lead his team to a title.

Booker could finish with the best Finals showing between all three of the guys at the top. However, the only way he could wrestle a Finals MVP award away from Paul is if he were to score somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 points per game. The attention that Paul has received this season as a team leader acts to discount Booker’s individual achievements, as the discussion from media voices has often attributed his growth to Paul’s tutelage.

Playing the Numbers

Let’s not kid ourselves, the MVP is not going to be a player from the losing team. So this is a relatively easy decision if bettors think that Milwaukee is going to win it all.

Furthermore, Antetokounmpo arguably has the best case of the three superstars in this series based on his playoff production thus far. He has the highest average points per game in the playoffs with 28.2, the highest field goal percentage at 55.1%, and grabs the most rebounds by a wide margin at 12.7 per game. Paul has the highest three-point percentage at 40.5%, but only averages three attempts from distance per game.

Jrue Holiday offers more of a physical challenge defensively than Patrick Beverley did for Paul in the Western Conference Finals, but he also has allowed a higher volume of buckets throughout the playoffs. Paul is going to need to rely more on creating mid-range shots to get his points, but he’s made 35.6% of those attempts this season — tops in the NBA.

The bottom line is this is a two-horse race. Booker may end up being the most deserving player if the Suns win, a la Kyrie Irving in 2016 alongside LeBron James, but the writing is on the wall so long as Paul also stays healthy. Those looking to take a stab at a bigger payout should roll with Antetokounmpo, but may consider hedging with Paul should the Bucks’ superstar start trending towards missing Game 1 or beyond.

Author Image