NBA Finals 2021: Odds, Prop Bets, Score Prediction for Bucks vs. Suns Game 2

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 8, 2021

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul smiles at the crowd after Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Bucks 118-105. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns won Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals, but the biggest takeaway from Tuesday's contest came from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's knee appeared to look fine, and that could set him up for a successful series. His floor presence affects the usage of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, and it could influence how the Suns game-plan offensively if his length causes trouble.

The three Milwaukee stars, Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are the safest players to bet from a prop perspective. Others, such as Brook Lopez, may see their production fluctuate throughout the series as both coaches try to pick out the right matchups for Thursday's Game 2 and beyond.


NBA Finals Game 2 Odds

Spread: Phoenix (-5.5)

Over/Under: 220

Moneyline: Phoenix -225 (bet $225 to win $100); Milwaukee +188 (bet $100 to win $188)

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.



Chris Paul Over 21.5 Points

Chris Paul's points over is one of the most attainable totals on the board.

With Antetokounmpo's point total still in question, Paul could once again be the highest scorer in Game 2. Paul had 32 points in Game 1, while Antetokounmpo only had 20.

In his past three games, Paul had 22 points or more. He has scored at least 22 points in five games this postseason. All of those performances occurred in the second round or later.

Paul displayed an ability to take over games in the third and fourth quarters, so even if he starts slow, it should not affect his point total. In fact, Paul did not record a single point in the first quarter of Game 1 and still finished with the best scoring output.

That high level of production can't be ignored, and as long as his point prop is below 25, Paul's over must be considered. If you think he scores in bunches again, you can back him to score 25 points at +166 and to score 30 points at +500.


Brook Lopez Under 12.5 Points

Antetokounmpo's return should affect Lopez's production.

In the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Lopez totaled 40 points. He had 50 in the last two games versus the Atlanta Hawks without Antetokounmpo.

Even though Lopez recorded 17 points in Game 1, that total should dip as Antetokounmpo attempts more shots and the Bucks make adjustments to the Suns lineup.

Lopez did not play in the fourth quarter Tuesday as Mike Budenholzer opted for a smaller lineup that put Bryn Forbes and Pat Connaughton around Milwaukee's three stars.

Milwaukee won the fourth quarter by three points, and Antetokounmpo limited Ayton to four points while guarding him as the center in that configuration.

If Lopez's minutes decrease again, he will take fewer shots and might not see double figures in the point column. Even if he plays a good amount, all signs point to a scoring regression, with Antetokounmpo likely in line to take more than 11 field goals.

Lopez carries some intrigue to hit two three-point shots at +174. If Antetokounmpo takes up space in the paint, Lopez will move out to the wing. However, it is hard to see Lopez being effective in Game 2 with so many other options at Budenholzer's disposal.


Score Prediction

Phoenix 120, Milwaukee 113

Milwaukee hung with Phoenix for most of Game 1 with Antetokounmpo working his way back into a game rhythm.

The Greek superstar played 35 minutes Tuesday, so he should feel comfortable enough to test out his knee more when it comes to driving into the lane on offense.

But even if the Bucks receive more points from their superstar, there is no guarantee they will stop Phoenix's top three players.

Paul, Booker and Ayton combined for 81 of the team's 118 Game 1 points. If they are not slowed in Game 2, Milwaukee will not have a path to victory.

The Bucks could keep the game close, but that may only help gain a bit of confidence ahead of Game 3 on their home court.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.


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