The Milwaukee Bucks are a big fat question mark heading into the 2021 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns with the health status of Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo unknown after he suffered a knee injury in the previous round. The Suns are the betting favorite at -200 odds to win the series and defeat the Bucks to win the 2021 NBA Championship.
The Bucks won their only NBA title in 1971 during a time when the NBA expanded to 17 teams and had just been divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences. Fifty years ago, the Bucks were members of the Western Conference and played in the Midwest Division along with the Phoenix Suns. The Bucks last appeared in the NBA Finals in 1974, but lost.
The Bucks’ pursuit of their first NBA title in 50 years hinges upon the health of Antetokounmpo. He’s currently listed as doubtful for Game 1.
|2021 NBA Finals – Series Score
|Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns
|Suns win 4-0||+800|
|Suns win 4-1||+400|
|Suns win 4-2||+450|
|Suns win 4-3||+400|
|Bucks win 4-0||+1600|
|Bucks win 4-1||+800|
|Bucks win 4-2||+500|
|Bucks win 4-3||+550|
The Suns advanced to the NBA Finals in 1976 and 1993, but never won a championship. The last time the Suns made it to the NBA Finals, thanks to Sir Charles Barkley, they were the only game in town and the desert city’s lone sports team. Since then, Phoenix added pro franchises in the NFL, MLB, WNBA, and NHL.
How the Bucks won the Eastern Conference
The Milwaukee Bucks secured the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference this year behind the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets. The Bucks were the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference in the previous two seasons, but never advanced to the NBA Finals due to premature exits.
The Bucks barely broke a sweat when they swept the #6 Miami Heat in the first round in four games. In the East semifinals, the Bucks needed a full seven games to defeat the short-handed #2 Brooklyn Nets. James Harden suffered a hamstring injury at the start of Game 1. Then, the Nets saw their championship dreams come crashing down when Kyrie Irving suffered a serious ankle injury mid-way through the series.
In the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks defeated the #5 Atlanta Hawks, who were the biggest surprise in the postseason. The Bucks won the East in six games despite not having Antetokounmpo in the last two games.
How the Suns won the Western Conference
The Phoenix Suns were the second-best team in the NBA this season and locked up the #2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
The big knock against the Suns is that they had an easy path to the NBA Finals because every one of their opponents was missing a top star. In the first round, the Suns knocked the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, who were the #7 seed. The Suns took advantage of Anthony Davis’ groin injury and LeBron James was unable to defeat the Suns by himself.
In the West semifinals, the Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in four games. The Nuggets didn’t have Jamal Murray, who blew out his ACL in the last month of the regular season.
In the Western Conference finals, the Suns took on the #4 LA Clippers. The short-handed Clippers played the entire series without All-Star Kawhi Leonard, who had a sprained knee.
In the NBA Finals, the Suns are in a similar spot against the Bucks with the health status of Antetokounmpo unknown.
Betting the Suns and Bucks
The Suns and Bucks met twice during the regular season and the Suns went 2-0, with both games decided by a single point. The Bucks were favorites in both the games, but the Suns covered as underdogs.
The Suns were equally good on the road as they were at home with a 6-2 home/road split. The Bucks went 7-1 at home at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee during the postseason, but they were just 5-4 on the road.
The Bucks struggled to cover the point spread in the regular season with a 32-40 ATS clip. In the playoffs, the Bucks are 10-7 ATS.
|2021 NBA Championship Odds History
During the regular season, betting the Suns was a profitable venture with a 42-29-11 ATS record. In the postseason, the Suns went 11-5 ATS, including a stretch in which they covered eight straight games.
In the regular season, these two high-octane teams were among the best in hitting the over. However, the script flipped in the postseason. For totals bettors, hammering the under has been the way to go with the Bucks and the Suns in the playoffs, and heading into the NBA Finals. The Suns are 9-7 in hitting the under, while the Bucks went under 10-6-1.