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Mears: Predicting the NBA Finals MVP

I won’t lie: There’s not much excitement left in the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors clearly are the more talented team, and they’re currently -2000 to win the title.

In Game 3 in Cleveland, they’re the rare Finals road favorite. In situations like this, finding some nice betting value typically makes a series worth watching, but the spreads and totals are pretty sharp. Instead, let’s look at Finals MVP odds and whether history can point us in a clear direction.

 

The NBA.com stats database goes back 21 years to the 1997 NBA Finals, which was Michael Jordan’s fifth title. To look at what has been the most predictive metric for Finals MVP, I pulled each player’s ranking solely in the Finals for the following stats:

  • Points Ranking: Total number of points in the Finals
  • Team Points Ranking: Total number of points in the Finals on their team
  • Fantasy Points Ranking: Total number of fantasy points in the Finals
  • Fantasy Points Team Ranking: Total number of fantasy points in the Finals on their team
  • Plus-Minus Ranking: Cumulative plus-minus in the Finals
  • Plus-Minus Team Ranking: Cumulative plus-minus in the Finals on their team
  • Net Rating Ranking: Net Rating (points scored minus points allowed per 100 possessions) in the Finals
  • Net Rating Team Ranking: Net Rating in the Finals on their team

Here’s the data for each player who won going back to 1997, and what it means for betting this year’s MVP.

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Credit:

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry

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