NBA Finals 2021: Bucks vs. Suns Game 1 Vegas Odds, Prop Bets and Predictions
Eric Gay/Associated Press
The 2021 NBA Finals are set to get underway on Tuesday, with the Phoenix Suns hosting the Milwaukee Bucks.
For Milwaukee, it’s been a breakthrough postseason. After watching superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo win back-to-back MVP awards but failing to make the Finals, the Bucks finally have a spot in the championship series.
It’s been a surprising season for the Suns, who hadn’t previously made the playoffs since the 2009-10 campaign. It’s been a coming-out party for budding star Devin Booker. It has been also been a bit of a storybook run for Chris Paul, who despite 11 All-Star appearances, is just now appearing in his first Finals series.
“It was a lot excitement, a lot of emotion for myself, coach and the team,” Paul said of winning the Western Conference Finals, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Real-life stuff.”
Getting to this point is huge, but the Bucks and Suns now have to refocus on winning what should be a hard-fought—and heavily entertaining—series. There will be plenty of action on the court, and plenty available for bettors to take in as well.
Here, we’ll dive into the latest odds and top prop bets for Game 1 from DraftKings Sportsbook.
2021 NBA Finals Game 1
When: Tuesday, July 6
Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV and Live Stream: ABC, ESPN App
Line: Phoenix -6
Heading into gameday, the Suns are six-point favorites, likely for a couple of reasons. Phoenix is playing host, which should give the Suns a slight advantage. The Bucks are likely to play without Antetokounmpo, which puts them at a major disadvantage.
While Milwaukee was able to outlast the Atlanta Hawks with Antetokounmpo sidelined by a knee injury, beating Booker, Paul, Deandre Ayton and Co. will be an entirely different challenge. Just look at how the Los Angeles Lakers floundered against Phoenix when Anthony Davis went down.
While Antetokounmpo hasn’t officially been ruled out, he’s listed as doubtful for Game 1.
The Bucks still have talented players like Khris Middleton, Brooks Lopez and Jrue Holiday, but without Antetokounmpo, a six-point line feels like a lot to overcome. Phoenix -6 feels like a fairly safe pick here—though it’ll be important to follow the injury report up to game time.
Khris Middleton Over/Under 27.5 Points
If Antetokounmpo can’t go, someone is going to have to step up for Milwaukee offensively. In the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, much of the responsibility fell on Middleton.
Middleton, a two-time All-Star, scored 26 and 32 points in Games 5 and 6, respectively.
DraftKings has the over/under for Middleton set at 27.5 points for Game 1. This is a fairly lofty line, but it’s not unrealistic. Putting Middleton at the center of a team-ball approach arguably gives Milwaukee its best chance at pulling off the upset.
Expect Middleton to be the offensive centerpiece in Game 1 and to reach the 28-point mark in a losing effort.
Chris Paul Over/Under 9.5 Assists
Paul has been fantastic during the playoffs thus far, and he hasn’t been particularly selfish with the ball. Over the last three games of the Western Conference Finals, he averaged 27 points, but he also averaged 7.5 assists.
Paul should again be a distributor in Game 1 of this series, but reaching 10 assists could prove difficult. The Bucks are a sound defensive team and will look to limit Phoenix’s ball movement with Paul at the point.
While this will be easier in theory than in practice, it’s worth noting that Paul has averaged less than nine assists throughout the postseason. He had only one double-digit assist game against the Los Angeles Clippers and only four for the entire postseason.
Expect Paul to find a double-double or triple-double at some point in this series, but not in Game 1.
Other Prop Picks for Game 1
Brooks Lopes OVER 0.5 3-Pointers
Suns OVER 55.5 first-half points
Deandre Ayton UNDER 15.5 points
Cameron Johnson OVER 6.5 points
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