Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is the betting favorite to be named NBA Finals MVP — an honor that has eluded the two-time MVP and three-time champion.
Caesars Sportsbook opened Curry as a -150 favorite, but the odds have since lowered to -125, following wagers from respected bettors on Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, each at 9-1 odds. Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard (+275) is the No. 2 favorite.
“The market is not something we take a lot of public action on, so you have to be very careful, especially when you first open markets, to not let yourselves get buried by particular bets,” Alan Berg, a senior oddsmaker at Caesars, told ESPN’s Doug Kezirian. “If we get the type of action we’re looking for from someone we considered to be a great player, then we’d move aggressively.”
On Monday, Curry said earning Finals MVP honors is “secondary” to winning the title.
“That’s just nitpicking at the end of the day, if I really want to cause a hissy-fit about not winning the Finals MVP with all that we’ve experienced and all the highs that we’ve been to,” Curry said. “… Everybody has a part in what we do, and whoever wins it this year, it’s the same vibe. I could go out and average 50, but without the contributions and the effort and the focus of everybody that steps foot on the floor, we’re not putting banners up. Everybody can feel pride in all the individual accolades as well as the team.”
Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers captured the first Finals MVP award in 1969, and he remains the only player to receive the honor from a team that lost the Finals.
Kevin Durant was the Finals MVP in 2017 and 2018 but is ruled out for Game 1 with a strained right calf. His status for the rest of the series remains unknown. Caesars is offering 18-1 odds on Durant, given he may not even suit up for a single game.
Warriors forward Andre Iguodala won the NBA Finals MVP in 2015, becoming the only award winner to not start every game in the series. Iguodala was in the neighborhood of a 125-1 long shot in offshore betting markets. Finals MVP odds were not offered in Nevada until 2017.
Game 1 of the Finals is Thursday (9 p.m. ET, ABC).
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