It’s come down to this. The NBA Finals are set to begin tonight, with the Milwaukee Bucks facing the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix for Game 1. Two team that, at the beginning of the season, no one expected to make it this far have arrived and one of them will end a decades-long drought that has prevented them from claiming a championship. Most oddsmakers believe the Suns might take it, but everyone expects this to be a six- or seven-game series. That means fans and sports gamblers have a lot to look forward to, and it all starts with the first tip-off tonight.
Bucks and Suns Making History
The battle begins at 9 PM Eastern Time tonight at Phoenix Suns Arena, pitting the East’s number-three seeded Bucks against the West’s number-two seeded Suns. The Bucks made it through the playoffs relatively unscathed, sweeping the Miami Heat and then taking the Brooklyn Nets in seven. They topped it off with a decisive defeat of the Atlanta Hawks in the Semifinals to get to this point, doing so without the help of their multimillion-dollar star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, in the last two games. The Bucks have the depth and strength to make this a good series.
The Suns easily made it past the LA Lakers to open the postseason round, taking down the defending champions without much resistance. They then swept the Denver Nuggets in four before proceeding to eliminate the LA Clippers in six. That was accomplished with a healthy squad and only limited player exits, and the Suns are going to go into the Finals healthy and ready for battle.
Game 1 To Be A Tight Competition
The fact that the Bucks and the Suns have made it this far isn’t a fluke on either side of the ball. Both teams have played hard to reach this point and are ready both offensively and defensively. When these two met during the regular season, the Suns beat the Bucks by just one point in each of the two contests, which is a sign that this series should be tight from the first tip-off. The Suns, however, are 3-0 in series openers in the postseason, something the Bucks have to keep in mind as they step onto the court.
Because the Suns have done well in first games in the postseason and they have home-court advantage, they are getting most of the support from sportsbooks. The moneyline is in their favor at -250 – +195 to the Bucks – and there isn’t much money to be made there. Taking the Suns on the -6 (-110) spread should be an easy way to pick up some earnings. Phoenix has the highest cover percentage in the NBA this year, at 60.9%, and covered 11 of their 12 postseason wins. Among those wins were the three series openers, giving a Suns spread bet more strength. Both teams have done well with the Over throughout the postseason and this should continue tonight. Taking the Over 218.5 (-115) makes sense.
Chris Paul On His Way to the History Books
Chris Paul has had an amazing career in the NBA and has parlayed his experience into creating a superior Suns team. However, after 17 years in the league, he has never been to the playoffs. That changes tonight and all eyes will be on Paul to see if he can carry his team. He is expected to do so, which is why oddsmakers have made him the consensus favorite to win the Finals MVP award.
Currently, Paul is at +170 to win the award. His closest competition is Suns guard Devin Booker, who has odds of +260. Antetokounmpo is next in line at a distant +375, partly because of his injuries, and teammate Khris Middleton follows at +650. Jrue Holiday, who has had sporadic success for the Bucks, is all the way out at +1000.