Odds Favor LeBron James For Finals MVP – Should They?

October 8, 2020

The NBA Finals could be coming to an end, as the Los Angeles Lakers hold a 3-1 series lead on the Miami Heat. And with the end of the Finals approaching, the debate surrounding the Finals MVP award. And while there is a clear favorite to win the award in LeBron James, there are questions as to whether or not he deserves it. After a look at the numbers, there is a clear answer to those questions.

Heading into Game 5 of the NBA Finals, NBA betting odds have James as a -1000 favorite to win Finals MVP. Anthony Davis of the Lakers sits behind James at +600 odds, while Jimmy Butler of the Heat is +2300 to take home the hardware. Given the series lead the Lakers possess, it is expected that either James or Davis will win Finals MVP this year.

Davis played an incredible Game 1 of the Finals to propel the Lakers to a tone-setting victory. He 34 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in that contest, with the game being largely decided for nearly all of the second half. Since then, though, James has taken over the bulk of the scoring load from Davis en route to the kind of impressive Finals performance that is common for LeBron.

Through the first four games of the series, James has averaged 27.8 points to go with 11.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists per contest. Davis has averaged 27 points per game, with 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. With James leading Davis in all three major statistical categories heading into Game 5, it makes sense that he is the prohibitive favorite to win the award. Even when you stop factoring in the advantage James has by being the biggest star on his team, he has had a better statistical output in this series.

Of course, it is worth pointing out that Davis could erase the statistical argument if he outplays James in the final one, two or three games of this series. But with the amount of success that James has had driving to the basket against undersized Heat defenders, it would take a massive change in performance from LeBron to open the door for Davis to snatch the trophy.

It is also worth pointing out that James and Davis likely do not care who wins the award. The ultimate goal for both players, along with all players in the league, is to win championships. While individual accolades like Finals MVP are nice, your team has to win the championship in order for individuals to have a chance to claim those awards. Expect nothing but solid teamwork from these two stars, as has been the case for the duration of the season.

Heading into Game 5 of the Finals, the Lakers are seven-point favorites against the Miami Heat. Miami covered the spread at a similar number in Game 4, with a late three-point shot from Tyler Herro putting the Heat ahead of the number at the final buzzer. With their playoff hopes on the line, the Heat will come out fighting once again in this contest.

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NBA Finals Betting FAQ

Are there any other players who can win Finals MVP?

Outside of James, Davis and maybe Butler, there isn’t anyone worth making NBA picks on to win Finals MVP. With the Lakers so far ahead in the series, it is unlikely that complimentary players would surge ahead of James and Davis for the award. With that said, players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have been instrumental to the success of the Lakers in the Finals.

Who has won the most NBA Finals MVP awards?

As of now, Michael Jordan has won the most Finals MVP awards. He has won the award six times in his career. LeBron James, if he manages to win it this year, would be up to four Finals MVP awards for his career. And with the Lakers having so much success this season, you wouldn’t put it past James to earn more Finals MVPs in the future.

Who has the most NBA championships in history?

The Boston Celtics have won the most NBA championships in league history with 17 titles. But the Los Angeles Lakers can tie them with their 17th title if the Lakers manage to clinch the 2020 Finals over the Miami Heat. Had the Heat not defeated the Celtics in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, the two winningest teams in league history would have played for the title this season.

Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.