Bucks-Suns Game 1 best bets: Fade the offenses
Will Phoenix stay hot at home, or can Milwaukee win its third straight game without Giannis Antetokounmpo?
Let's dive into the betting spread, total, and player props for tonight's opener.
Things weren't pretty for the Bucks in the semis against the Hawks, but the cream eventually rose to the top.
Milwaukee won its final two games sans Antetokounmpo to take the series, thanks to an offense that averaged 120.5 points across Games 5 and 6.
The Bucks are talented enough to weather the storm without the two-time MVP in most cases, but Phoenix is a different animal defensively: The Suns have held four of their last five opponents under their team total, allowing just 101.6 points per contest.
Phoenix is the first team in NBA history to clinch a Finals berth after a playoff drought of at least 10 years. The home crowd should be buzzing and could potentially faze a Milwaukee squad that's just 19-26 against the spread away from home this campaign and 2-6 ATS the last eight as road underdogs.
The Suns, meanwhile, are playing like they're on a mission. The club has covered 10 of the last 13 overall, five of the last six following a double-digit win, and each of the last four when playing on three or more days of rest.
There's plenty of betting support for Phoenix, which is up from -5.5 to -6. The total, meanwhile, has climbed a couple points from 217 to 219. The over has cashed in each of the last four meetings.
However, I'm going to recommend a play on the under.
The Bucks rallied without their star player against Atlanta, but they aren't running circles around a well-coached Suns team - much less in their home building.
Game 1 should be somewhat of a feeling-out process and should ultimately conclude in a lower-scoring tilt. Phoenix is 8-3 to the under the last 11 when playing on three or more days of rest, while Milwaukee's gone under in nine of the last 13 when getting points.
Pick: Under 219
Khris Middleton over 5.5 assists
Milwaukee's primary closer has gone over his assist total in four of the last five and has posted at least five in nine of 10. Expect a big night from Middleton, who recorded 16 total dimes in two regular-season meetings against the Suns in 2020-21.
Devin Booker under 2.5 made threes
Booker's been brilliant at times, but his 3-point total is still a tad high for my liking. The star shooting guard's canned three or more triples in just five of 16 postseason contests this year and has been held to two or fewer makes in eight of the last nine meetings against the Bucks.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. Find him on Twitter @AjKolodziej.