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NBA Finals 2021: Suns vs. Bucks Game 3 Odds, Props and Predictions

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2021

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker dribbles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Bucks 118-108. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Sunday's Game 3 of the 2021 NBA Finals isn't an elimination game—but it sure has the feel of it. 

A desperate, hosting Milwaukee Bucks squad sits in an 0-2 hole against the upstart Phoenix Suns. While Giannis Antetokounmpo's knee issue has become something of an afterthought, what's going on around him certainly isn't. 

That something will likely be what most would-be bettors lean into before Sunday night's tipoff at 8 p.m. ET. Namely, the fact Antetokounmpo put up a game-high 42 points, yet still lost 118-108 to cement the 0-2 hole. 

Still, oddsmakers feel a home-court advantage, if not a dash of desperation, is good enough to position the Bucks as favorites. Let's take a look at the odds and then zoom in on some pertinent details. 

   

NBA Finals Game 3 Odds

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

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Spread: Milwaukee (-4.5)

Over/Under: 221.5

Money Line: Phoenix (+162; bet $100 to win $162); Milwaukee (-194; bet $194 to win $100)

    

Preview and Prediction

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

At face value, one would think the Bucks finally returning home might help them readjust what has been a lopsided series so far. 

There's some evidence to it, too. While Antetokounmpo has been on fire, even from the 5 while being asked to defensively stutter Phoenix's Deandre Ayton, the same can't be said for Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. 

Middleton, over two games so far, has shot a miserable 40.5 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep, down from 47.6 and 41.4 percent from the regular season, respectively. Holiday, while dishing more assists on average, has bumped his average shot attempts (13.9 to 17.5) while dramatically dipping in efficiency (50.3 field-goal percentage in the regular season down to 31.4). 

Simple logic says one or both should break out of the slump on a friendly court, especially once paired with adjustments. The inverse is also true—the Suns can't remain this hot, right? Phoenix shot 46.6 percent from the floor in Game 1, then 48.9 percent in Game 2 while hitting 20 of 40 three-point attempts (Milwaukee hit nine of 31). 

Injuries play a role in the friendly Milwaukee odds, too. The Suns lost Dario Saric in Game 1 and Torrey Craig went down in Game 2. The 30-year-old Craig isn't a stat sheet stuffer by any means, but he's a critical part of the rotation behind Ayton. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the veteran is merely day-to-day, but even that is enough to swing the odds outlook. 

Despite all this, there are some vital things to consider when combing advanced numbers. The Bucks might have drummed up 46 wins and led the league at 120.1 points per game in the regular season, sure. But as ESPN's Data Skrive tallied, they went just 42-48-1 against the spread (ATS). They had a losing record against it when favored by at least 3.5 points (32-34-1). 

Phoenix, on the other hand, went 55-34-1 against the spread and 32-21 while an underdog of at least 3.5 points. 

Barring a good feeling from a would-be bettor, there hasn't been much to suggest the Suns will just magically cool off now. Devin Booker (29.0 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting) hasn't shown any signs of slowing and one can safely presume the veteran Chris Paul won't slow, either. And if that's the case, even in Game 2, the Bucks outscored the Suns 54-28 in the paint but came up 10 points short overall. 

If there's any guarantee, it's these teams sprinting to exceed the over. They did in the prior two games and as Skrive pointed out, both did on more than 50 percent of their games in the regular season. 

But as far as the actual spread goes, there's zero reason to turn away from Phoenix now. Booker and Co. went 6-1 on the road in the playoffs. And while the Bucks climbed out of an 0-2 hole elsewhere, injuries to the opponent played a big role. The Suns have been too dominant and ATS trends point toward that continuing. 

Prediction: Suns 120, Bucks 110

   

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