NBA Finals MVP Odds: Are Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown Worth Wager?

Steph Curry is favored after scoring 43 points in Game 4


Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is back to being the clear-cut NBA Finals MVP favorite after dropping 43 points in Game 4 at TD Garden to even up the best-of-seven series with the Boston Celtics.

Curry morphed from a +205 underdog to a -150 favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook, meaning you now have to risk $150 to win $100 instead of betting $100 to win $205. He’s the obvious frontrunner after an all-time performance and the books are clearly making you pay a premium at this point.

But it doesn’t mean another player can’t win NBA Finals MVP.

If the C’s pull the upset in Game 5 on Monday night as a small road underdog, the odds for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will drastically shift. And betting on one of those two players will make you more money than betting Boston to win the championship (+110).

NBA Finals MVP odds via FanDuel:
Stephen Curry -150 ($150 wins $100)
Jayson Tatum +180 ($100 wins $180)
Jaylen Brown +700 ($100 wins $700)
Andrew Wiggins +12000
Marcus Smart +23000
Al Horford +23000
Derrick White +23000
Klay Thompson +44000 ($100 wins $44,000)

Before you start foaming at the mouth at prices on guys like Wiggins, Smart and Thompson, understand that none of those players are winning the award. Dealing players at insanely high prices is an old sportsbook trick meant to entice you to take a shot on a ridiculous payout. Please don’t fall for it.

However, Tatum and Brown are very realistic options.

If Tatum scores 30-plus points in a Celtics upset, he’ll be the obvious favorite heading into Game 6, even if Curry balls out. That said, it’s hard to validate Tatum being around 2-1 while Brown is 7-1. Their stats are pretty straightforward through four games of the NBA Finals:

Tatum: 22.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 7.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 34% FG
Brown: 22.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, 44% FG

For my money, Curry is hands down the best basketball player in this series, but he’s not a lock to win NBA Finals MVP by any means. He’s just the hottest name on the block after erupting for 43 points in enemy territory. If Boston’s stingy defense can stifle Curry and company in Game 5, you’ll see a new betting favorite for the fifth time this series.

I don’t hate a flier on Brown (+700) for some pizza money.

It’s also worth nothing that Jerry West is the only player to win the award from a losing team when his Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Celtics in seven games back in 1969.

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