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NBA Finals MVP Odds 2023: Jayson Tatum, Nikola Jokic Tied At The Top

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Updated May 16, 2023
12 min read

The frontrunners for the 2023 NBA Finals MVP award have been updated after a few days of the first round of the playoffs, and the rankings are far from mirror replicas of the regular-season MVP award

NBA Finals MVP Odds 2023

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

WinnerOdds

Jayson Tatum

+250
BET HERE

Nikola Jokic

+250
BET HERE 

LeBron James

+500
BET HERE 

Anthony Davis

+700
BET HERE 

Jaylen Brown

+800
BET HERE 

Jimmy Butler

+1600
BET HERE 

Jamal Murray

+3500
BET HERE 

Marcus Smart

+5000
BET HERE 

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NBA Finals MVP Odds

NBA Finals MVP Favorites to Win

While there is a bevy of candidates fit to win the MVP Finals award, there are a few that have separated themselves from the pack. Two of them have already won the Finals MVP in their career, while the third is widely considered a player that has championships and MVPs coming in the future.

Who’s got your pick? Here’s who DraftKings believes are the top three candidates to win Finals MVP.

First Favorite: Jayson Tatum (+250) 

Tatum is tied with Nikola Jokic for the best odds, but because his team, the Boston Celtics, has better odds to win the NBA Finals (+100 to +240), he supplants the Joker in the top spot.

Tatum finished fourth in regular-season MVP voting and has been at his best in these playoffs. He is averaging 28.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists to go with 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals. He has been the go-to man whenever the offense breaks down and has also been making consistent contributions on defense despite being branded as an offensive star. 

The 25-year-old forward averaged a nice 25.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists in the playoffs last year but only shot 42.6% from the field. He has gone a long way to ridding those negative sentiments with his outrageously great performances this time around, including scoring a Game Seven-record 51 points on 17-28 shooting (6-10 3PT) in the closeout against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Second Favorite: Nikola Jokic (+250)

Jokic has been criticized for being a regular-season sensation that has not taken his game to the next level in the playoffs. He seemed to be focused on putting those criticisms to bed throughout the regular season when he repeatedly denied the importance of winning his third straight MVP award and instead geared up for the postseason. 

Denver’s 7-foot center has not disappointed. His playoff stat line reads an incomprehensible 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 9.7 assists on 50.6% shooting and 47.5% from three-point territory. He also has a 53-point, 11-assist game on his resume in round two against the Phoenix Suns and has not been to a Game Seven yet.

Jokic and the Nuggets franchise have never made the NBA Finals before. The closest they came was the 2020 conference finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, who they are once again facing in 2023. Their previous bout ended in favor of LA in five games, but the Nuggets are a deeper and more experienced group this time around.

Third Favorite: LeBron James (+500)

It’s 2023 and LeBron is still dominating the NBA, just like he did when he was drafted 20 years ago. He scored nearly 30 points per game in the regular season and is the captain of a Los Angeles Lakers team that has already overcome a 2-10 start to the season and is coursing with momentum.

The King started the playoffs slow but has ramped up his intensity as they have progressed, coinciding with him dominating the ball more throughout games and also gaining a better rhythm with his jump shot. He has also shown that he can take it to another level when needed, as seen by his game-saving layup at the death in Game Four against the Memphis Grizzlies.

LeBron has been named Finals MVP in all four of his championships and will probably need to be at that level for LA to win another title, although there is an argument that Anthony Davis has been the purple and gold’s best player in the postseason thus far. LeBron is going to have to start emptying the tank if he wants to make and win the Finals, but he’s the wrong man to bet against doing so.

NBA Finals MVP Underdogs and Sleeper Picks

While Tatum, Jokic, and LeBron are the leaders for the MVP, there are a couple of players that are also interesting picks because of their value. 

We also like: Anthony Davis (+700)

As we just mentioned, Davis has been playing at a supremely high level, specifically on the defensive side of basketball. He is averaging 21.2 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks through two rounds of play and has also had three 30-point games.

Davis is going to have to become more of a consistent offensive threat to truly convince that he is the MVP over LeBron, who we already mentioned has another level to tap into. Davis’ biggest problem, however, is his inconsistency, which has plagued him even in games where he comes out on fire.

If the Lakers are going to beat the Nuggets, Davis is going to have to at least match, if not outdo Jokic’s impact in the series. Accomplishing such a feat would put him in a great position to win the Finals MVP when the series gets underway in just a couple of weeks. 

Don’t Sleep On: Jimmy Butler (+1600)

There aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to properly describe Butler’s impact and what he means to the Miami Heat. He is facing the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in four years since moving to South Beach and last beat them in 2020.

Butler started the playoffs by averaging nearly 38 points in a five-game beatdown of the number-one seed Milwaukee Bucks. He scored 56 and 42 points in separate games in that series and looked like the best player on the planet. He averaged a more modest 24.6 points in round two against the New York Knicks but made a clutch shot after clutch shot and was also great on defense.

There is no player in the Association that raises their game more in the postseason than Butler. He has familiarity with the Celtics and plays for a Heat franchise that thrives as the underdog, which is exactly what it is against Boston. If the Heat manage to win their fourth title, Butler is practically guaranteed to be the reason why.

NBA Finals MVP Pick

We started the playoffs by saying that Tatum is the best pick of the lot, and we are sticking to that belief. The Celtics are the championship favorites, and he is their best player. It’s also hard to deny that someone who just scored 51 points in a Game Seven can’t rise to the occasion, even if he struggled in a six-game finals loss to the Golden State Warriors last season.

The Lakers are in for a tough battle with the Nuggets, but they have the best record in the NBA since the All-Star break and have an unbreakable defense, which is what matters the most in high-stakes playoff games. Plus, most of the basketball world will want LeBron to win the MVP if the Lakers win the Finals.

NBA Finals MVP History: Every Finals MVP Since 2000

Year

Champion

Runner-Up

Finals MVP

2022

Golden State Warriors

Boston Celtics

Stephen Curry

2021

Milwaukee Bucks

Phoenix Suns

Giannis Antetokounmpo

2020

Los Angeles Lakers

Miami Heat

LeBron James

2019

Toronto Raptors

Golden State Warriors

Kawhi Leonard

2018

Golden State Warriors

Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Durant

2017

Golden State Warriors

Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Durant

2016

Cleveland Cavaliers

Golden State Warriors

LeBron James

2015

Golden State Warriors

Cleveland Cavaliers

Andre Iguodala

2014

San Antonio Spurs

Miami Heat

Kawhi Leonard

2013

Miami Heat

San Antonio Spurs

LeBron James

2012

Miami Heat

Oklahoma City Thunder

LeBron James

2011

Dallas Mavericks

Miami Heat

Dirk Nowitzki

2010

Los Angeles Lakers

Boston Celtics

Kobe Bryant

2009

Los Angeles Lakers

Orlando Magic

Kobe Bryant

2008

Boston Celtics

Los Angeles Lakers

Paul Pierce

2007

San Antonio Spurs

Cleveland Cavaliers

Tony Parker

2006

Miami Heat

Dallas Mavericks

Dwyane Wade

2005

San Antonio Spurs

Detroit Pistons

Tim Duncan

2004

Detroit Pistons

Los Angeles Lakers

Chauncey Billups

2003

San Antonio Spurs

New Jersey Nets

Tim Duncan

2002

Los Angeles Lakers

New Jersey Nets

Shaquille O’Neal

2001

Los Angeles Lakers

Philadelphia 76ers

Shaquille O’Neal

2000

Los Angeles Lakers

Indiana Pacers

Shaquille O’Neal

How to Watch the NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs run through the NBA Finals, which will be held from June 1-June 18 (if seven games are necessary). Games are aired on ABC, NBA TV, TNT, and ESPN at varying times, mostly at night on weekdays and in the afternoon and evening on weekends.

Games can also be streamed on YouTube TV, Hulu, and Sling, among other options.

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NBA Finals MVP Frequently Asked Questions

How Is the NBA Finals MVP Decided?

When Will the NBA Finals MVP Be Announced?

Who Was the NBA Finals MVP in 2022?

Who Is the Youngest Finals MVP?

Has a Rookie Ever Won Finals MVP?

How Many Finals MVPs Does Kevin Durant Have?

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

472 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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