Giannis the heavy NBA Finals MVP favorite ahead of Game 6
Just one win away from his first NBA title, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the heavy -435 favorite to claim the 2021 NBA Finals MVP award.
Following his 32-point, nine-rebound performance in Game 5 on Saturday, Antetokounmpo catapulted back to the forefront of the MVP race, as his Bucks took a 3-2 series lead on the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals.
NBA Finals MVP 2021
Thu, July 22 2021, 11:00 PM
Game 6 will tip off Tuesday night in Milwaukee, where the Bucks will go for a series-clinching, fourth-straight win.
In Game 5, the Bucks trailed by as much as 16 in the first quarter, but outscored Phoenix 79-53 in the next two quarters by knocking down 32 of the team’s 45 shots in that span.
The highlight moment of the evening came in the final minute of the contest, when Jrue Holiday picked the pocket of Suns guard Devin Booker and launched an alley-oop pass to Giannis. Antetokounmpo proceeded to slam down a dunk and drew a foul to put Milwaukee up 122-119 with 13.5 seconds remaining.
Khris Middleton iced the victory with a free throw with 9.8 seconds left in regulation.
Middleton, Holiday remain MVP longshots
With their win, the Bucks became the first team in the series to steal a game on the road and are one win away from becoming the fifth team in NBA Finals history to bounce back from an 0-2 deficit and triumph in the championship series.
Based on past Finals history, the Bucks are a near-lock to come away with the Larry O'Brien Trophy in hand. Game 5 winners of a tied NBA Finals series have gone on to win the title on 21 of 29 occasions.
Should Milwaukee collect one more victory, Giannis will be the first player voters turn to for NBA Finals MVP.
Despite playing with a hyperextended knee, Antetokounmpo has showed out each night, averaging 32.2 points on 60% shooting, 13.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.4 steals.
Middleton and Holiday have also produced some huge performances in the series and are +2000 and +8000 longshots, respectively, to earn MVP.
Middleton recorded a team-high 40 points in the Bucks’ 109-103 Game 4 win, and added 29 points, seven rebounds, and five assists on Saturday.
Holiday had a quiet, 13-point outing in Game 4, but poured in 27 points, 13 assists, and four rebounds in Game 5.
Booker the new favorite to win MVP for the Suns
While the Bucks are in prime position to end the series on Tuesday, the Suns still have a fighting chance to celebrate the franchise’s first championship.
Chris Paul originally looked like a surefire Finals MVP out of Phoenix, but Booker's recent back-to-back 40-point performances pushed him ahead of Paul on the oddsboard.
The 36-year-old point guard is now a +700 choice to swipe Finals MVP, while Booker has +600 odds.
The Suns are a 4.5-point underdog in Milwaukee, and own a 4-1 record against the spread in their last five playoff games as an underdog.
Now is the perfect time to jump on Booker or Paul's inflated odds, if you think Phoenix can force Game 7 and bring the series back home.
Otherwise, Giannis will be your 2021 NBA Finals MVP.