NBA Finals 2021: Phoenix Suns & Milwaukee Bucks Preview and Betting Tips

NBA Finals 2021: Phoenix Suns & Milwaukee Bucks Preview and Betting Tips
Mon 5th July 2021

After an incredibly unique season of basketball, we have finally reached the grandest stage of them all, the NBA Finals. The Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks will face off to see who will be crowned NBA Champions for the 2020-21 NBA season. 

This is a unique encounter with both sides entering the league in the same season, 1968-69, and also both making the NBA Finals on two previous occasions.

Milwaukee last made the NBA Finals in 1974, losing to the Celtics, however they did win in their first appearance in 1971, when led by Lew Alcindor, known now as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Phoenix on the other hand is still yet to win an NBA Championship, losing in 1976 to the Celtics and more recently in 1993 to the Bulls. 

Journey To The NBA Finals

The two sides have had very different paths to the 2021 NBA Finals. One has been a contender and playoff regular during recent history while the other has gone through a full rebuild, not making the playoffs for 10 years. 

This is the fifth straight year making the postseason for Milwaukee and third straight year of being a true contender. Since Giannis Antetokounmpo won Most Improved Player in 2017 and is now a 2x MVP, there has been heightened expectations surrounding the team and they now get an opportunity to capitalize on that. 

After back to back years finishing on top of the East, Milwaukee had to settle for third this season, but that didn’t deter them. A first round matchup with Miami, who defeated them in last season’s playoffs, saw them enact revenge, winning 4-0. They then ran into a very good Brooklyn side and needed seven games to advance, before proving too powerful for the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, winning 4-2. 

Phoenix on the other hand has had a long road to redemption, with this being just their third season with a record 0.500 or better in the last 11 seasons. They went to the draft, picking up Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, among others, and showed promise last season, when going 8-0 in the Bubble, despite narrowly missing the playoffs. The 2020 offseason will be one of the greatest in franchise history however, trading for Chris Paul and helping push the Suns over the hump.

The addition of Paul, along with the team having a second season under Monty Williams and their natural progression, allowed Phoenix to thrive in the 2020-21 season, finishing with the second best record in the league. They then beat the Lakers in six games in the opening round, before sweeping the league MVP, Nikola Jokic, and the Nuggets to make the Western Conference Finals. Phoenix took a bit longer than expected, but ultimately beat the Clippers in six games, winning the West and advancing to the NBA Finals. 

NBA Finals Odds

At the time of writing, with no news on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s knee injury, the Phoenix Suns are -185 favorites (FanDuel) to win the series, and therefore the NBA Finals, while the Milwaukee Bucks are +165 underdogs (PointsBet). 

The odds for the 2021 NBA Finals MVP are:

NBA Player (Team)NBA Odds
Chris Paul (Suns)+170
Devin Booker (Suns)+270
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)+350
Khris Middleton (Bucks)+650

Odds courtesy of FanDuel, correct on 07/05/21

NBA Playoff Betting Trends


The Phoenix Suns come into the NBA Finals with a 12-4 postseason record. Whether they are playing at home or on the road, Phoenix remains a consistent, high class outfit, being 6-2 in both settings.

When you compare that to the Milwaukee Bucks, some differences clearly show. With a 12-5 overall postseason record, the Bucks are an incredible 7-1 at home but are just 5-4 on the road, and are just 3-4 on the road in the last two rounds. 

As favorites in the playoffs, Phoenix are 8-2 while Milwaukee are 9-4. Given the Suns have home court advantage and are favorites to win the series, and Game One, their record as favorites, as well as their record at home, are big positives from a betting perspective. 

As underdogs in the playoffs, the Suns are 4-2 while the Bucks are 3-1. Given the teams and injuries that they have faced, Milwaukee haven’t been underdogs often, but have performed well in those instances, positive signs for their status in the NBA Finals. 

Phoenix and Milwaukee played each other twice during the regular season, having one home game each. The Suns won both encounters, by one point each time, despite being the underdog in both. 

Looking at Game One of the 2021 NBA Finals, Phoenix are -230 favorites while Milwaukee have juicy odds of +190. 

Against The Spread

Being one of the best ATS teams during the regular season, it is no surprise to see Phoenix come into the NBA Finals with an 11-5 ATS record, being 5-3 at home and 6-2 on the road. Milwaukee on the other hand is just 10-7 ATS, being 5-3 at home as well but just 5-4 on the road. 

Both sides are yet to cover the spread in a game they lost, which is often the case with most favorites. However, when looking at their ATS record in wins, Phoenix has a slight edge, being 11-1 compared to Milwaukee’s 10-2. 

In their two meetings during the regular season, Phoenix covered the spread in both games, both times as the underdog. 

Looking ahead to Game One, the Suns are 5.5 point favorites, tied for the second most points they have given during the postseason. The 5.5 points Milwaukee are getting as underdogs is not only the most they have gotten in the postseason, but the most of the entire 2020-21 season. 

Total Points

Phoenix have been the best defensive team of the entire postseason, having a 7-9 total points record through their 16 games. Milwaukee, typically known for their high scoring affairs and the high scoring offense, has had a quiet postseason from a points perspective, being just 6-10-1 in total points markets. 

Both sides are 5-7 O/U in wins while Phoenix are 2-2 in losses compared to Milwaukee’s 1-3-1. When looking at the difference at home and on the road for both sides, the Suns are 4-4 in Phoenix while being 3-5 elsewhere. Milwaukee on the other hand are 3-5 at home and 3-5-1 on the road. 

In their two regular season matchups, the total points for the games were 249 and 255 respectively, indicating that despite the defensive prowess of both sides, they can also light it up. However, Phoenix is definitely the best defense that Milwaukee has faced in the postseason, and given their O/U record is already 6-10-1, that may be a sign of things to come, especially early in the series. 

Best NBA Finals Betting Options

There is serious value in some of the futures markets for the upcoming Finals series, and some best NBA Finals bets are listed below.

Phoenix Suns -1.5 (+120) – Best odds on PointsBet

To be getting positive odds for the Suns -1.5 is a massive green light from us. While this is the NBA Finals and we expect every series of this nature to be close, Giannis will clearly be hampered by a knee injury and, if you think the Suns will win, like we do, then this is a much better play than just the straight up series win.

Phoenix will have had five full days off since beating the Clippers while Milwaukee has had just two, and has to travel across the country. Combine that with the status of Giannis and the fact that Phoenix won both games during the regular season, albeit by small margins, the Suns definitely have the edge. With this bet, Phoenix could win 4-0, 4-1 or 4-2, and we are still getting +120 odds for it!

Game 1/Series Win Double – Phoenix/Phoenix (-110) – Best odds on BetMGM

With Phoenix having -180 odds to win the entire series, we can find some extra return by combining a Game One victory with the series victory too. As mentioned, it has been just one week since Giannis horrifically hyperextended his knee. While he may suit up for Game One, he will be hampered and that should give Phoenix, who have won all three Game Ones in the postseason, compared to the Bucks being just 1-2, the edge. 

Top Series Assists – Jrue Holiday (+210) – Best odds on PointsBet

You may be thinking – how can we not pick Chris Paul for this bet? With Paul being the -400 favorite, we are happy to take the value with Jrue Holiday at +280. However, when looking at their respective Conference Finals performances, Holiday has the edge. 

Holiday averaged exactly 10 assists per game over the six games, dishing out double digit assists in three games. Paul on the other hand averaged 8.75 assists in his four games, only reaching double digits in just one of them. 

While Paul is clearly the superior playmaking and ball handler, Holiday is an elite defender and will do his fair share of shutting Paul down. A big part of shutting Paul down is limiting his passing ability and the size of Milwaukee may cause the Suns to find the extra pass, limiting Paul’s assists numbers, despite his playmaking and passing ability. It is clearly a bit more of a risk, hence the improved odds, but it is one we are willing to snap up. 

Final Thoughts and Predictions

The Phoenix Suns come into this game with all of the momentum, the extra rest and a healthy roster. Even if Giannis Antetokounmpo was healthy, Phoenix would be starting as favorites but the fact he isn’t is even more of a boost for the Suns. 

Home court advantage typically plays a massive part of playoff series, but not so much with the NBA Finals. However, Milwaukee is noticeably worse away from home, being just 5-4 on the road this postseason. 

Chris Paul continues to deliver for Phoenix when it matters most, stepping up in each elimination game they have had so far, but this series feels like it will belong to Devin Booker. Paul is clearly the orchestra of the offense but Booker is the killer and will be able to get good looks in this series, much like the entire postseason. He will be able to ‘hide’ on defense, given he has Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder to defend the best wings for Milwaukee, namedly Khris Middleton. 

That will allow Booker to thrive but will also limit the ability Middleton has to get off the chain himself, especially if Giannis is out or not close to 100%. Bridges and Crowder have been incredible defensively throughout the playoffs, giving the Suns the edge in each of their matchups so far. 

The big question is whether Giannis will play and how limited he will be if he does. However, Phoenix still has the edge and should still win this series. Phoenix should take care of business, and this series will likely end 4-2, however an earlier finish wouldn’t surprise. When it comes to Finals MVP, will Paul, in his 16th season but first NBA Finals, be able to deliver on a nightly basis. We are thinking that he will, but the budding young superstar he shares the guards positions with, Devin Booker will be the one who shines the brightest in this series.

Predictions & Their Odds:

2021 NBA Champions – Phoenix Suns (-185) – Best odds on FanDuel

Series Correct Score – Phoenix Suns 4-2 (+480) – Best odds on FanDuel

2021 NBA Finals MVP – Devin Booker (+275) – Best odds on BetMGM

If you are looking for more information about NBA betting, then make sure you check out our page. We have all the info you need!

*Note: Odds are correct at the time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel, PointsBet and BetMGM. Be sure to surf around to find the best odds and best promotions, which we will provide you with on our NBA HUB page. 

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Image by: Henry Russell

Tim is a keen follower of all American sports, in particular the NBA and NFL. He has followed both sports for over a decade and would happily sit down and watch every game, regardless of who is playing! No matter the sport, whether it be NFL and NBA or even MLB, NHL, UFC and all sports, Tim covers it from every angle, staying in the loop to bring you the most up-to-date information and the best picks and predictions on the market.