Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals produced some vital information that can be used for betting the rest of the series.
Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton once again featured in starring roles for the Phoenix Suns, so it is hard to bet any props outside of those three players.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's knee looked fine in the 35 minutes he was on the court, and he was part of an interesting lineup decision made by Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer in the second half.
Budenholzer opted for a smaller lineup with Antetokounmpo at center. That led to the Bucks star defending Ayton and some bench guards having the chance to contribute in larger roles.
If the trends we saw in Game 1 pop up in Game 2, the Bucks might be more competitive with the Suns. Even if they do not level the series, they could create some momentum going into Game 3.
NBA Finals Game 2 Odds
Spread: Phoenix (-5.5)
Money Line: Phoenix (-225; bet $225 to win $100); Milwaukee (+188; bet $100 to win $188)
Milwaukee 1st Half Money Line
In the fourth quarter of Game 1, Budenholzer called on Bryn Forbes and Pat Connaughton to play alongside Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
The small lineup with Antetokounmpo at the five produced a three-point quarter margin in favor of the Bucks.
That was not enough to complete a comeback, but it gave us a look into how the Bucks may alter their rotations to start Game 2.
Brook Lopez did not see the floor in the final stanza, and P.J. Tucker played fewer minutes than Forbes and Connaughton.
Antetokounmpo's defensive presence on Ayton limited Phoenix's big man to two field-goal attempts in the final 12 minutes. He scored four of his 22 points in the fourth.
If Budenholzer goes to the same alignment in the first half of Game 2, it could reap rewards for the Bucks.
Forbes and Connaughton went a combined 4-for-7 from three-point range, and none of the Suns' starters had more than five points in that 12-minute stretch.
If the Bucks use the same lineup and it can be effective on the defensive end, they may have an edge in the first half.
Milwaukee went into halftime with an eight-point halftime deficit in Game 1 with Lopez, Tucker and Bobby Portis receiving decent playing time.
If the Bucks' fourth-quarter look from Game 1 translates to Game 2, they could put a shock into the Suns and put themselves in a position to steal a victory in the second half.
Over bettors faced a sweat toward the end of Game 1, but they were eventually rewarded with a cash of the over of 219.5 points.
The Game 2 total opened a half-point higher than the Game 1 close, and it could clear in an easier manner, especially if the Bucks go smaller.
The three-guard lineup should lend itself to more three-point shots as the Bucks try to get more players involved around Antetokounmpo.
Even if the Bucks stick with their Game 1 approach in the first half, they should produce over 30 points in at least one quarter.
Milwaukee shot 16-for-36 from three-point range, and Holiday was limited to 10 points on a 4-for-14 shooting night.
If Holiday alone improves, the Bucks could add five to 10 points to their team total. They finished with 105 points in Game 1.
Phoenix also attempted a large number of three-point shots. The Suns went 11-for-34 from deep but still produced 118 points. That total was boosted by a 25-for-26 night at the free-throw line.
If the Suns continue to be effective at the charity stripe and knock down a few more three-pointers, we could witness a few 30-point quarters and the over hitting before the final three or four minutes.
Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.
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