The race for the NBA Finals MVP has narrowed down to two main competitors: Chris Paul and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Paul and the Phoenix Suns hold a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 in Milwaukee on tap for Wednesday night. The Suns jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks turned in a dominant Game 3 performance to get back in the series.
When the series began, Paul was the betting favorite at BetMGM for Finals MVP. At that point he was listed at +150. As of Tuesday morning, he is an even bigger favorite at -165 and has attracted plenty of action. According to BetMGM, Paul has been on the receiving end of 22.1% of the bets and 39.1% of the money.
“BetMGM has taken nearly twice as much money on Chris Paul to win the award, and the Suns point guard is the sportsbook’s biggest liability,” said Darren Darby, a sports trader for BetMGM.
Giannis making a move
Antetokounmpo, though, is closing in and is now listed at +240 following back-to-back 40-point outings. In a Game 2 loss, Antetokounmpo had 42 points and 12 rebounds. In Game 3, Antetokounmpo went for 41 and 13.
Antetokounmpo’s status was uncertain entering the series due to a knee injury he suffered in the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Atlanta Hawks. He was initially considered doubtful to play in Game 1 and had +450 odds to win MVP. Ahead of Game 1, Antetokounmpo was upgraded to questionable and ended up making his return to the lineup that night. Antetokounmpo has received 11.9% of the bets and 18.3% of the money at BetMGM.
One of Paul’s teammates, guard Devin Booker, has actually received more bets than Antetokounmpo at 18.1%. More of the money is on Antetokounmpo, though — 11.8% is on Booker. Booker’s current MVP odds are +600.
Next in the MVP odds are Suns big man Deandre Ayton at +2500 and Bucks swingman Khris Middleton at +4000. Ayton has received 6.9% of the bets and 4.1% of the money. Middleton has received 6.5% of the bets and 4.4% of the money.
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