The NBA playoffs are a magical time of year that brings out the best in players and is a great time when it comes to NBA betting.
Every series, matchup, and possession is meaningful as teams compete for the ultimate prize — the Larry O’Brien Trophy. It’s never one individual who carries a team to glory, but inevitably, one player is awarded the trophy for the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
In between looking at the daily NBA betting lines, here’s an early look at the top contenders worth backing.
Joel Embiid +1800
The NBA’s scoring leader and a top contender for regular-season MVP, Joel Embiid is a moderate option on the NBA Finals MVP futures board at +1800.
His position on the board is likely a reflection of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks being positioned ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers on NBA Finals odds. Still, bettors need to take Embiid and the Sixers seriously.
Philly easily dispatched the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of their first-round matchup, which could be a sign of things to come.
The big man tallied 19 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists in his first playoff action of 2022, remaining a primary offensive option. Philadelphia has found a new gear since acquiring James Harden and they could get even better in the postseason.
As Embiid goes, so do the Sixers, making him an undervalued NBA Finals MVP option.
Stephen Curry +1200
A 12-game absence to end the regular season could be hurting Stephen Curry’s standing in the finals MVP conversation, but we should see his stock rise as the Dubs progress through the postseason.
Without question, Curry was the Warriors’ best player throughout the regular season, pacing the team in scoring, Win Shares, and Value Over Replacement.
We’ve come to expect nothing less from the two-time regular season Most Valuable Player, who has carried the Warriors for most of the past 10 seasons.
For all of his career accomplishments, Curry has never been awarded the NBA Finals MVP, despite taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy on three occasions.
If Golden State makes a run to the finals, Curry will be a big part of the reason why leaving value in backing him early.
Chris Paul +650
The odds-on favorites to win the NBA Finals, the Phoenix Suns are looking to overcome the disappointment of last season’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Two Suns players sit atop the futures board, with Devin Booker leading the way at +450, but I see the value in adding Chris Paul at +650.
Paul is a tenacious two-way player that earned a reputation on both ends of the floor. The 12-time All-Star has been rewarded for his defensive efforts, being named to the All-NBA Defensive Team nine times. However, that unwavering defensive play doesn’t come at the expense of offensive contributions, with Paul leading the Suns in assists and ranking third in scoring.
For the Suns to win the NBA Championship, Paul needs to be their best player on both ends of the court. The veteran will be rewarded for his efforts if the Suns win it all.