Milwaukee and Phoenix are the two teams that are left standing, which means that it is time to bring you our 2021 NBA Finals picks and predictions — a full betting preview! Read our predictions and get ready to bet online at BetRivers.
The Bucks arrive in the finals after surviving a roller coaster series against the Atlanta Hawks that saw Trae Young hurt his foot before Giannis hurt his knee. The injury to their star was too much for Atlanta to overcome, which means that the short-handed Bucks will get their shot at winning their first NBA title since 1971.
The Suns, on the other hand, were able to outlast the Clippers, overcoming CP3’s COVID quarantine and Devin Booker’s broken nose to win in six games. They’ll get a chance to win their first title in franchise history. Can they pull it off? Can they put the icing on Chris Paul’s career?
Let’s take a look at where the value lies for 2021 NBA Finals odds. Looking for the full list of 2021 NBA futures? Click here.
2021 NBA Finals Picks and Predictions: A Betting Preview
The big question mark heading into this series is the status of Giannis, the Bucks 26-year old two-time MVP. We all saw what happened to him in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Atlanta. He landed awkwardly, hyperextending his left knee and missing the final two games of the series. There was some optimism that he might be able to suit up for a Game 7 on Monday if that were needed, and he did go through some on-court work before Game 6. As it stands, he’s listed as day-to-day, and it is unclear if he’ll be available in Game 1, in any game or if this is just a ploy to try and keep Phoenix guessing.
Either way, this is not an optimal matchup for the Bucks.
The biggest issue they are going to have comes with how they have to defend ball-screens. Milwaukee plays drop coverage. The Suns are uniquely suited to destroying drop coverage because Devin Booker and Chris Paul are the NBA’s preeminent mid-range assassins. Seriously, if you needed someone to bury a 17-foot pull-up jumper to save your life, is there a player that you would pick over either of those two to take it? If you want a perfect example of why this is going to be an issue, just look at the Phoenix-Denver series. Yes, there was some Jamal Murray-sized mitigating circumstances there, but the truth is that the Suns just steam-rolled the NBA MVP like he was still Fat Nikola from his teenage days.
But that’s not the only issue at hand here.
OK, so think about the matchups for a minute. Milwaukee is going to have to play big in order to have someone on the floor to deal with Deandre Ayton. They’re also going to need their two perimeter defenders to be deal with guarding CP3 and Devin Booker all over the place. Unless you’re going to use P.J. Tucker on one of those two — feasible, I guess, if it’s Booker, but certainly not ideal — that means that Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are going to have to work their tails off on the defensive end while trying to be the sole creators offensively.
On the flip side, one of Booker or CP3 is always going to be able to take possessions off against the likes of Pat Connaughton, Tucker or Bryn Forbes. Again, advantage Suns. Throw in that the two-best crunchtime scorers also exist in the Valley of the Sun, and I think that the Suns are deserved heavy favorites.
So where does the value in the bet lie?
Whether or not Giannis plays, that (-177) line for the Suns is too expensive. But there are a couple of bets that I do like on Bet Rivers. For starters, you can get the Suns series line at (-1.5) — meaning that Phoenix will win the series in six games or less — at (+115). That’s a good number there. I also think that it is worth looking at grabbing the Suns Game 1/Series double at (-125).
2021 NBA Finals Odds
Click here for the full list of 2021 NBA Finals odds.