NBA Finals MVP Odds As LeBron James Favorite to Clinch Fourth Crown

LeBron James is the overwhelming favorite to be named NBA Finals MVP for a fourth time if the Los Angeles Lakers clinch the NBA title this season.

The Purple and Gold moved within one win of a record-equalling 17th title after defeating the Miami Heat 102-96 in Game 4 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-1 lead in the series. In the history of the NBA Finals, 35 teams have held a 3-1 series and only the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers managed to overcome such a deficit to win the title, defeating the Golden State Warriors 4-3.

James was the inspiration behind the Cavs' memorable comeback four years ago, earning a third NBA Finals MVP crown after receiving the accolade in 2012 and 2013, when he helped the Heat to back-to-back titles over a stretch of four consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

With the Lakers odds-on favorites to close the series in Game 5 on Friday night, the bookmakers expect James to win the NBA Finals MVP award for a fourth time, which would make him only the second player in NBA history to claim the accolade more than three times. Michael Jordan was NBA Finals MVP in each of the Chicago Bulls' six titles between 1991 and 1998.

James is a 1/5 favorite with BetMGM, firmly ahead of teammate Anthony Davis at 13/5 and Miami star Jimmy Butler at 12/1.

James finished Game 4 with 28 points, eight assists and 12 rebounds, while Davis finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks.

Davis arrived in Los Angeles during the offseason to provide adequate support for James, whose first season with the Lakers had been hamstrung by an inexperienced supporting cast, rumors of discontent behind the scenes and a serious injury that limited to a career-low 56 regular season games.

Pairing Davis with James paid immediate dividends for the Lakers, who returned to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons and to the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade.

James and Davis both finished second in the race for MVP and Defensive Player of the Year respectively and have proved the difference through the first four games of the Finals.

James averages 27.7 points, 8.5 assists and 11 rebounds through the first four games of the NBA Finals, while Davis averages 25.7 points, 6.5 assists and 9.2 rebounds.

James' figures are broadly in line with his production in his previous three runs to the NBA title and speak volumes for the 35-year-old's incredibly consistency.

James averaged 28.6 points, 7.4 assists and 10.2 rebounds per game when he was first named NBA Finals MVP in 2012, while the following year he averaged 25.3 points, seven assists and 10.9 rebounds per game as he and the Heat successfully defended the title. In 2016, he averaged 29.7 points, 8.9 assists and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Butler, meanwhile, was one assist away from a second consecutive triple-double in Game 4 after becoming only the third player in history to compile a 40-game triple-double in the NBA Finals two days earlier.

On Tuesday night, the Heat star finished with 22 points, nine assists and 10 rebounds and averages 27.5 points, 10 assists and 7.8 rebounds in the Finals so far.

LeBron James, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second quarter against the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on October 6. Kevin C. Cox