2021 NBA Finals Preview: Bucks vs Suns Odds and Prediction

July 5, 2021

The NBA Finals for this season do not feature the teams we expected them to, as the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks surprised many en route to the last series of the season. And the series should be a fascinating one, as both teams have distinct advantages over one another that could help them win a title. In this preview of the 2021 NBA Finals, we look at the NBA Finals odds and what the keys to the series will be in 2021.

Odds to Win the NBA Finals

  • Phoenix Suns -200
  • Milwaukee Bucks +165

The odds to win the NBA Finals coming into the series have the Phoenix Suns as solid favorites before the action begins. Phoenix beat the Bucks twice in the regular season, both games being decided by one point. Those results and the form of the Suns throughout the 2021 NBA Playoffs have made them the team expected to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Phoenix is also favored to win Game 1 of the NBA FInals, as DraftKings Sportsbook has them as a six-point favorite in the opener. Of course, bettors can get the Suns at even money on the moneyline to claim the first game of the series at DraftKings thanks to their odds boost promotion for Game 1.

Keys to the NBA Finals

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Health

The most important player for the Milwaukee Bucks is undoubtedly Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose status for this series is in doubt due to a knee injury suffered in the Eastern Conference Finals. Whether or not Giannis plays will have a massive impact on which team comes out on top in this year’s NBA Finals. With the Greek Freak posing a real matchup problem for the Suns, we could see a dramatic shift in betting odds for each game based on the availability of the two-time MVP.

Giannis averaged 40 points per game against the Suns in the two meetings between these teams this season. The simple reality is that the Suns don’t have anyone on their roster built to guard him individually if he can play. That means Phoenix will either have to guard him one-on-one and live with him getting his, or commit more defenders to him and live with the results of Milwaukee taking open shots with other players.

The Depth of Phoenix

One area where the Phoenix Suns have a decided advantage over the Bucks and the rest of the league is the depth department. Phoenix had incredible balance throughout their run to the Finals, balance that included their bench. With players like Cam Payne and Torrey Craig able to bolster the production from the five starters of the Suns, Phoenix has been able to hold or even extend leads with their second unit involved.

The depth disparity in this series is even more stark if Giannis cannot play for the Bucks. Players like Bobby Portis, who would normally be key pieces off the bench, may be thrust into starting roles in this series for Milwaukee. If that happens, bench production will take a hit for the Bucks against a team that is uniquely equipped to punish teams with weakened benches.

Big Man Battle

The starting big men in this series, Brook Lopez for the Bucks and DeAndre Ayton for the Suns, play extremely differently. Lopez is a player who likes to play on the perimeter on offense, while Ayton eats in the paint on the offensive end. The big who generates more offensive production will give their team a huge advantage in this series.

It will also be interesting to see what impact Lopez has on the defense of the Suns. Given his preference to play on the perimeter, he could drag Ayton out of the paint to defend him. That could open up lanes to penetrate to the basket for the rest of the Bucks, which would be especially impactful if Giannis plays.

NBA Finals Prediction

Truthfully, there isn’t any value in betting the Suns at -200 to win the NBA Finals, and there isn’t much on the Bucks at their current price without Giannis being a definite to play. The best maneuver here would be to wait and see if the Bucks steal a game in Phoenix before taking a live series price on the Suns at a more favorable number.

Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.