As the Eastern Conference Finals are upon us and we had the fantastic finish (and collapse) in the Western Conference Finals Game 2 last night, this gives us a great opportunity to look and see what value is available in the NBA Finals.
The Bucks and the Suns are both current favorites to make it to the NBA Finals, and there isn’t much reason to disagree. They have the two best players left: Giannis and Booker. (Kawhi doesn’t really count, in my opinion, because who knows if he plays at all this series.) And, while Paul George might be the best secondary option on any of the four teams, he showed in Game 2 that he will fold under pressure. So where does that leave us? Is there any value in the Team Futures or Player Futures?
Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook l as of June 23rd for the NBA Championship are as follows:
There is clearly not much value in either the Bucks or Suns, but they are both at plus money so it is worth at least considering putting a play on your favorite. Personally, I think the Suns have had an easier path to the Championship. They might even be able to make it without playing Chris Paul and letting him rest. My money is on them to win the Championship. However, you can take them to beat the Bucks at +160. I’d take that instead of the +115.
I’d put my money on Devin Booker at this point. He is still at +210 for Finals MVP, and if the Suns win, there are very few, if any, people who could take it from him. Sure, Chris Paul could take it, and he has some good value at +500. But, in reality, he would have to do a ton to be the MVP and take it from Booker.
On the other side, if the Bucks win, it will almost certainly be because of Giannis. I would be willing to bet the only time you’ll see Giannis at plus money again is if the Bucks are no longer favored. So again, if you feel like the Bucks are going to win, then play Giannis to win Finals MVP right now. Once the series starts, I’d expect him to be +100 and if they win Game 1, he will be juiced.
If you’re looking for longshots, take either Middleton or Ayton. Middleton is +2700, and to be honest, I think he is a bigger X factor than Giannis. I’m not saying he does more for the Bucks, but he can be the difference between them winning and them losing. Giannis will likely put up his numbers no matter what, but if Middleton can be a sharpshooter the entire series, maybe he makes a bigger difference and grabs the award. It is highly unlikely, but not unreasonable to think.
Ayton is listed at +6500. If there were an MVP for the Western Conference Finals, I’d say that he has a good shot at it right now. Two very good games and a buzzer beater/highlight of the series. If he keeps that up, and is a big rim presence in the Finals, he has a chance. I also think that Monty Williams could potentially have Ayton guard Giannis at times. Andre Iguodala won the MVP for his defensive efforts and solid offensive contribution in 2015. I think that Ayton could match his path.
The Hawks and Clippers both still have a shot to win the championship. I just don’t believe it happens for either of them. If you plan to bet it, now is the time though. I actually think the Clippers have a better chance of winning four of the next five games against the Suns than the Hawks do of beating the Bucks in a seven game series.