NBA playoffs betting: Curry, Butler favored to win inaugural conference finals MVP

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Both Game 1s are in the books and we have some early favorites to claim the newly-introduced conference finals MVP trophies. Miami’s Jimmy Butler is -135 on BetMGM to win the East’s Larry Bird Trophy and Golden State’s Stephen Curry is -150 to go home with the West’s Magic Johnson Trophy.

The beast of the East

Butler was virtually unguardable in the Heat’s 118-107 victory over the Celtics in the first game of the Eastern Conference finals. Boston’s best efforts usually ended in someone fouling Butler, who scored 17 of his 41 points at the charity stripe.

Jimmy Buckets was equally menacing on the defensive end, adding four steals and three blocks in a performance that probably sparked PTSD in any 2018-19 Timberwolves starters who were watching the game.

Miami’s leader is seeing 17.3% of the money for conference finals MVP, which ranks third behind Boston’s Jayson Tatum (31.5%) and Jaylen Brown (21.2%). Tatum opened at even money and is currently +150 after falling into an 0-1 hole. Brown is 16-to-1 after coming into the series with a +900 price.

Al Horford and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart both missed Game 1 and are sitting at 50-to-1.

Stephen Curry had a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds in Golden State's 112-87 rout of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the 2022 Western Conference finals. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry had a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds in Golden State's 112-87 rout of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the 2022 Western Conference finals. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The best in the West

Seven players scored in double-digits for the Warriors in their 112-87 Game 1 rout of the Mavericks, while Curry was the only player in the game to pull down double-digit boards with 12 rebounds. It wasn’t his most dominant scoring effort, but he did lead all scorers with 21 points in just three quarters of play as he spent the final quarter watching the blowout from the bench.

Curry was only the sixth-most popular bet for conference finals MVP in terms of ticket percentage (5.4%), but he carries the highest handle by far with 31.4% of the money backing him. His -150 odds haven’t shortened all that much from his -110 opening price.

Mavs superstar Luka Doncic ranks second in handle with 18.4%. His odds inflated from +200 to +375 after the Game 1 loss, in which he posted a game-worst -30 net rating. Teammate Jalen Brunson, who's averaging 22.3 points per game in the playoffs, is currently 100-to-1.

Stats provided by Basketball Reference and nba.com.

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