2012 NBA Finals MVP Odds and Predictions – Finals MVP Favorites, Dark Horses and Sleepers: While the NBA regular season MVP is no doubt a prestigious honor, it is also safe to say that the sport’s elite are ultimately measured by their performance on the biggest stage. The stage doesn’t get any bigger than the NBA Finals, and winning the Finals MVP has been an honor reserved for the all-time greats. Since being created in 1969, there have been 27 players that have won the award. Michael Jordan’s six Finals MVPs are the most ever, and Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan and Magic Johnson are tied for second with three each. Jordan and O’Neal share the record for most consecutive times winning the award with three, although it is worth noting that Jordan had a pair of three-peats in his career. Miami’s Dwyane Wade is the only player in this year’s NBA Finals with a Finals MVP on his resume, and there is a chance that a new name could join the illustrious list of winners in 2012.
The Favorites – 2012 NBA Finals MVP Odds and Predictions
After carrying the Heat into the NBA Finals, forward LeBron James will set his sights on the championship that has eluded him. He is a three-time regular season MVP, but his legacy is going to be incomplete until he adds a title and a Finals MVP to his list of accomplishments. His all-around game has been spectacular this postseason, and he enters the NBA Finals averaging an NBA-best 30.8 points per game to go along with 9.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists. He also happens to be the most-versatile defender in the NBA, and he has been closing out games with a killer instinct that he has never shown in the playoffs in past years. If the Heat win the title, it will most likely involve an MVP-caliber performance from James.
Three-time defending scoring champ Kevin Durant is trying to prove he is more than just an elite offensive player. He has been doing a good job of that so far in the postseason, emerging as a leader and a fourth-quarter assassin for the Thunder during the playoffs. Durant has also been contributing in other areas, chipping in 7.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Oklahoma City is at its best when Durant takes over offensively in crunch time, and it is hard to imagine a scenario where the Thunder win the title and Durant doesn’t win the MVP. He is already an unstoppable offensive weapon, and Durant has a chance to reach a new level by winning a Finals MVP.
The Dark Horses – 2012 NBA Finals MVP Odds and Predictions
Granted, Dwyane Wade hasn’t looked like himself during the postseason, but he is the type of player that can turn it on at any moment. He is still averaging more than 22 points per game in the playoffs, and he showed flashes of his normal self against Indiana and in the fourth qauretr of Game 7 versus Boston. Wade already has a Finals MVP to his credit thanks to his unforgettable performance against Dallas in 2006, when he averaged 34.6 points per game and powered Miami to the title. His reputation as a clutch player and a closer began in that series, and it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see Wade remind everyone of just how good he can be with another MVP-worthy NBA Finals performance.
Russell Westbrook is the fastest, most-explosive point guard to come along in quite some time. He is averaging more than 23 points per game in the postseason, and he is more than capable of stringing together several 30-plus point performances. Against a Miami defense that couldn’t come close to containing Boston’s Rajon Rondo, Westbrook should have the chance to put up some big numbers. The problem is that Oklahoma City tends to play better when he is more of a distributor than a scorer. His teammate Kevin Durant would likely have to have underperform a bit in order to open the door for Westbrook, and if that happens, the Thunder probably aren’t going to win the series.
Sleeper Special – 2012 NBA Finals MVP Odds and Predictions
While there aren’t really any players for either side likely to challenge the four players mentioned above for this year’s Finals MVP, Oklahoma City’s James Harden is the one guy with a puncher’s chance. Coming off the bench hurts his cause, but the Sixth Man of the Year is always on the court in crunch time. He has also developed a habit of burying clutch 3-pointers. If he happens to hit a game-winning basket or two during the course of the series, he will certainly boost his odds. Pushing his scoring average from its current 16.8 mark to above 20 would help, as well, and that is well within reason. Harden has proven to be a tough, fearless player throughout the postseason, and he has the talent and the attitude to win MVP honors. He is just going to need a lot of breaks to go his way given his role as a reserve.
2012 NBA Finals MVP Odds
2101 Chris Bosh +1200
2102 Dwyane Wade +650
2103 James Harden +1500
2104 Kevin Durant +100
2106 LeBron James +120
2109 Russell Westbrook +600
2110 Field +1000
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