- With the Los Angeles Lakers leading the NBA Finals 3-1, LeBron James is the strong favorite to win a fourth Finals MVP
- Anthony Davis has faded to odds of +350 after quiet offensive outings in Games 2 and 3
- Can anyone stop James sealing another Finals MVP? See updated odds for the Russell award below
The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from a first NBA title since 2010. LeBron James is a victory off a fourth ring, and according to the odds, a fourth Finals MVP.
James was a hefty -225 favorite after Jimmy Butler’s Game 3 epic, and Anthony Davis was priced at +190. LeBron’s odds have shortened further following Game 4, while Davis has drifted out to +350 after a quiet offensive performance.
With the Lakers taking a 3-1 lead, Butler’s chances of Finals MVP have faded once again, moving to +2800 – having been +1000 after his Game 3 masterpiece.
The Lakers are within touching distance of yet another championship. James could be a few days away from becoming the first player ever to win Finals MVP with three different franchises.
Odds to 2020 Win Finals MVP
Odds taken from FanDuel on October 7th
James to Lead Game 5 Charge
James looked exhausted late in Game 4. He was left standing in the corner while Rajon Rondo ran pick-and-rolls at the top of the arc. There was energy to hustle defensively, but he handed over the keys to the offense and functioned as little more than a decoy for several crunch-time possessions. Fortunately for the four-time regular season MVP, there’s an extra day off between Games 4 and 5.
This series, and the entire playoffs, has been played every other day, but the Lakers and Heat have the comparative luxury of two off-days before Game 5 on Friday. That extra time to rest and recover could proven invaluable to LeBron.
James was visibly angry when the Lakers let Game 3 slip. The Lakers have had a tendency to relax at points in each of their series, dropping one game in each of the first three rounds. Game 3 was a performance of that ilk – the Lakers, including LeBron, were sloppy in possession and often lackluster defensively.
Huge shot and block by Anthony Davis late, but Lebron is and will be Finals MVP!
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) October 7, 2020
Los Angeles will be desperate to avoid a repeat of their Game 3 performance on Friday. James will look to lead the way. He has a phenomenal record in potential clinching games – another big night and the Finals MVP is his.
How Can Anyone Else Win Finals MVP?
It’s hard to see how anyone else wins Finals MVP. Davis missed his opportunity, scoring a combined 37 points over the last two games after getting 66 in the first two. The All-NBA big man needed to keep up his pace from Games 1 and 2 if he was to seriously challenge his superstar teammate for the award.
There’s a sense Davis has run out of time. He could have perhaps afforded one of those lower scoring games, but two of them created an insurmountable deficit. A record-breaking Game 5 would be required for Davis to take Finals MVP, which he is of course capable of. If he goes 45 and 15 with five blocks and a couple of steals then there’s certainly a conversation to be had, particularly if James isn’t at his best.
35 year old LeBron seems like he’s having a subpar Finals for his standards and he’s still averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists on 54% FG and 36% 3PT and is up 3-1.
He’s absolutely the Finals MVP.
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) October 7, 2020
For the next nearest contender, Jimmy Butler, Miami must force a Game 7. Should Butler score 35+ in the next two games, while leading the team in assists and locking up LeBron, he perhaps becomes a viable candidate.
Three supernova games in a row and Butler could win Finals MVP even if the Lakers take Game 7, but that scenario is far fetched enough to make +2800 seem too short a price.
History must be made by Davis or Butler to stop James taking his fourth Finals MVP. Even then, it might not be enough.