Chris Paul started the Finals with a bang. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- Chris Paul has moved to become odds on favorite to win 2021 NBA Finals MVP
- The future Hall of Fame point guard masterminded the Phoenix Suns’ Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks
- Read below for the latest Finals MVP odds
Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns to a commanding win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Tuesday’s NBA Finals Game 1. Phoenix’s point guard was the pre-series betting favorite to win Finals MVP, but his majestic Game 1 outing has shortened the price further. Paul is odds on to win the award at DraftKings.
Phoenix is three wins away from completing a fairytale season. Once the outsiders in the NBA Championship odds, the Suns have homecourt advantage in the Finals and provided yet another reminder of just how good they can be with their Game 1 win.
2021 NBA Finals MVP Odds
|Player||Odds at DraftKings|
Odds as of July 7th
Paul at His Best
Chris Paul has been written off a lot in the last few seasons. His monster performance to clinch the Suns’ spot in the Finals was a special moment. His Game 1 gem was every bit as significant for a player who has waited as long as he has to reach the promised land.
Paul scored a game-high 32 points with nine assists. The two turnovers look like a blip from his usual high standards. He made four threes and enjoyed the various defensive coverages employed by Mike Budenholzer. Whether guarded by a perimeter player, Brook Lopez or P.J. Tucker, Paul was able to get to his spot, and he drained shots with ease. He finished 12-for-19 from the field, and was a perfect four-for-four from the line.
Elite company 👀
Chris Paul is the first player with 30 points and 8 assists in an #NBAFinals debut since Michael Jordan in 1991. pic.twitter.com/6gNKVNQvcd
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 7, 2021
Like other awards, Finals MVP is voted by the media. There has been overwhelming media support for Paul throughout this season, and his Game 1 performance will have only encouraged voters that he is the deserving Finals MVP if the Suns win this series. It’s no surprise to see Devin Booker’s odds lengthen to +300, even after a 28-point night.
2021 Open Championship Odds Tracker
Watch Out for the Greek Freak
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player who can realistically stop Paul from winning this Finals MVP. The Bucks needed the Greek Freak to be somewhere close to 100% if this is to be a competitive series, and there were positive signs for Milwaukee in Game 1.
Giannis’ chasedown block looks similar to LeBron’s 🔥 pic.twitter.com/v1FR8SkAMP
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 7, 2021
Even having suffered a nasty-looking knee injury so recently, Antetokounmpo looked mobile and athletic. He was able to attack at times. Budenholzer was clearly cautious with his minutes on his return, and he wasn’t quite as explosive as usual, but the two-time MVP still finished with 17 rebounds, 20 points and 12 free throw attempts.
Giannis really thought he might be out a year when he injured his knee 🙏 pic.twitter.com/E0NLpDeBKG
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 7, 2021
Giannis has drifted from +375 out to +600. He might not have been at his unstoppable best, and the Suns have good options against him, but there was still enough on show in Game 1 to suggest that there’s value in backing Antetokounmpo to win Finals MVP.
Just like with the regular season award, Finals MVP is about winning over voters. It isn’t about the most points or the best defense. While there’s reason to love Booker’s game, he would need to score at an outrageous rate to really make people question Paul’s status as Phoenix’s MVP. Booker is capable of that, of course, but it seems unlikely against a good Bucks defense.
Deandre Ayton and Giannis Antetokounmpo each recorded 15+ points and 15+ rebounds tonight. The last player to put up 15+ points and 15+ rebounds in their first career NBA Finals game was Tim Duncan with 33 PTS, 16 REB in 1999. pic.twitter.com/SoudRqprz5
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) July 7, 2021
Antetokounmpo is the overwhelming pick if Milwaukee win their first title since the days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He might not be quite at his best, but it’s been widely discussed that Milwaukee cannot compete without Giannis. He’s a force to be reckoned with at both ends of the floor, and the work he put in to recover from this injury appears to have got him healthy enough to play a major role in these Finals.
Antetokounmpo is the best bet ahead of Game 2. His price will plummet if the Bucks are heading back to Milwaukee with this series tied.
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.