NBA Finals MVP odds: Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic lead rankings for top playoff award

And then there were four. The Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Dallas Mavericks are the final teams still in contention for the 2024 NBA championship. In Game 1 of the conference finals, Boston won 133-128 in overtime over Indiana in the East. In the West, Dallas held off Minnesota 108-105 to go up 1-0.

There's still plenty of basketball left before the 2024 NBA Finals. In the last three playoffs, only one conference finals series was a four-game sweep: the eventual champion Denver Nuggets over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2023 Western Conference Finals.

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But that doesn't stop speculation over which teams will be playing in the NBA Finals - or which star player will shine en route to a championship. Here's who leads the odds for NBA Finals MVP, according to the latest basketball odds from BetMGM:

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2024 NBA Finals: MVP odds leaders

1. Jayson Tatum, BOS (-105)

The Celtics' leading scorer earned All-NBA First Team honors earlier this week. He's scoring less (25.4 points per game) during this playoff run than in prior seasons but leads the Celtics in rebounds (10.5) and assists (5.6) per game in the postseason.

Boston has lost just two games in the playoffs at time of publishing, the fewest of the final four teams. If the Celtics win their first title since 2008, current form points to Tatum playing a key role in that success.

2. Luka Dončić, DAL (+400)

Dončić, like Tatum, is another All-NBA First Team player shouldering a huge load on offense in the postseason. He led the NBA in points per game (33.9) during the regular season but that figure has dipped in the playoffs to 27.7 per game. He's still averaging 9.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game in the postseason, though, to lead the Mavericks in both categories.

Dallas took home court advantage with their win in Game 1. Even with teammate Kyrie Irving stepping up in the playoffs, Dallas' success runs through Dončić and that wouldn't likely change in the NBA Finals.

3. Anthony Edwards, MIN (+500)

Unlike the two players ahead of him, Edwards has been more productive in the playoffs. His points (28.1), rebounds (6.6), and assists (6.1) per game are all up from his regular season averages. He has arguably the most viral clip of the playoffs so far when he told Charles Barkley to "bring ya a**" to Minnesota after the Timberwolves secured a spot in the conference finals.

By advanced metrics, he's the best player remaining in the playoffs. His box plus/minus (8.3), value over replacement player (1.3), and win shares (2.1) are better than anyone on this list. He likely won't slow down much in a run to the NBA Finals.

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4. Jaylen Brown, BOS (+700)

Brown rounds out the frontrunners for Finals MVP. Tatum is the leader in Boston but Brown is no slouch. He made up for a playoff-low 11 points in Boston's series-sealing win over Cleveland in the second round to drop 26 points in Game 1 against the Pacers.

By most metrics, Brown outplayed Tatum the last time this Boston core made the NBA Finals in 2022 against the Golden State Warriors. He put up more points (23.6 to 21.5) and shot better from the field (43.1% to 36.6%) than Tatum in that six-game series. If the Celtics make the NBA finals again, Brown could easily secure MVP with another good series.

5. Derrick White, BOS (+2200)

White has stepped up in the playoffs so far and his play's reflected in these odds. Boston's played seven of 11 playoff games without Kristaps Porziņģis and White has shouldered more of a scoring load in his absence. He's averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting 43% from three-point range, the best of any Celtics starter. If he gets hot in the NBA Finals, he'd be in contention for the MVP honors.

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6. Kyrie Irving, DAL (+2500)

Irving is a key piece of the Mavericks' offense in the playoffs as a one-two scoring punch with Dončić. After scoring no more than 22 points in a game during the second round against Oklahoma City, Irving dropped 30 in Game 1 against the Timberwolves.

If Dallas makes the NBA Finals, he's the only player in the Mavericks' playoff rotation with an NBA title. His experience could push him to a Finals MVP performance.

7. Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (+3500)

Towns has consistently been the Timberwolves' second-leading scorer through the playoffs. He's right behind Edwards in most metrics but he did struggle in Game 1 against the Mavericks with one of his worst shooting performances of the playoffs (6 of 20 shooting from the field). If Minnesota reaches the NBA Finals and their opponent keys in on stopping Edwards on that end of the court, Towns could capitalize and secure Finals MVP.

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8. Tyrese Haliburton, IND (+5000)

The top eight in odds rounds out with the Pacers' lone representative on this list. Haliburton's odds are long but he's the key cog in the Pacers' league-best offense in the playoffs. Indiana's shooting better and scoring more than any other team in the playoffs. Pascal Siakam leads the team in scoring in the postseason but Haliburton's the top assist man (8.2 per game).

By advanced metrics, Haliburton's one of the best players remaining in the postseason. He's behind only Tatum and Edwards in win shares (1.8) and behind Edwards and Dončić in value over replacement player (1.0). If Indiana manages to win the franchise's first NBA title, Haliburton will likely be the most important player for the team and win Finals MVP as a result.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA Finals MVP odds: Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic lead odds for award