Red-Hot Bucks on Three-Game Win Streak, Can Win NBA Championship in Milwaukee on Tuesday Night
Game 5 of the NBA Finals took a shocking turn of events and might be the turning point in determining who wins the championship.
Tied at two games apiece, Phoenix roared out to 37-21 lead at the end of the first quarter. Up by a whopping 16 points early, it looked like the Suns were on their way to a breezy win and a 3-2 series lead.
Then, the second quarter happened and the entire series was turned upside down.
In a championship that's been dominated by the home team, the visiting Bucks went on a tear. Milwaukee outscored Phoenix 43-24 in the second frame, not only erasing a 16-point deficit, but taking a 3-point halftime lead. The Bucks never trailed from that moment on, and now they're on the brink of winning their first basketball championship in a half century.
When this best-of-seven series began, the Phoenix Suns were installed as -175 series favorites to win the 2021 while the Milwaukee Bucks were +150.
After Phoenix won both Games 1 and 2 convincingly at home, the series line shot up to -650 on the Suns. Then, Milwaukee won three straight.
Oddsmakers have adjusted series lines accordingly, with the Suns now being +310 underdogs. They must win the next two games, including a road matchup in Milwaukee. Bettors believing the Bucks will close out the series either in Game 6 or 7 have odds at -400.
So far as Game 6 goes, the Bucks are laying -6 and are listed as -225 moneyline favourites. According to SPREADS.CA, here's the latest look at the board:
Here's an interesting stat courtesy of Arizona Central, which doesn't bode well for the favoured Bucks laying -5:
"Milwaukee holds a losing record against the spread this year, going 39-55 ATS. The Bucks have not fared well as a 5-point favorite, going 26-33 against the spread when favored by at least 5 points. Phoenix has covered the spread in more than half of its outings, going 49-43-1 ATS. When they play as at least 5-point underdogs, the Suns have a record ATS of 26-22."
Nonetheless, Milwaukee will look to build on the momentum over the past few games and hope to close it out in front of their home crowd. Meanwhile, the Suns aim to get back to their winning ways from earlier in the series.
Both teams have run -hot-cold at times, and even in quarters of games. It seems the right moment to expect the zig to zag and the Suns to regain their stride. Chris Paul and company are too talented to let this series slip away on a four-game losing streak. They are more than capable of winning on the road here and have been resilient all season when they're least expected to rise to the occasion.
Interestingly, if you like Phoenix to win Game 6 outright, the wiser bet is probably to wager on the Suns to win the series getting a bigger price (see commentary above on series pricing). You can always hedge a bet in game 7 if it goes that far. So, while we like Phoenix plus the points, the optimum value rests with taking the Suns to win the series as sizable underdogs.
Prediction: Take the Suns and bet the OVER.
Final Score Forecast: Phoenix Suns 119, Milwaukee Bucks 115