Bucks vs. Suns: NBA Finals Game 1 betting odds, preview, and pick
The Milwaukee Bucks are playing their first NBA Finals game since 1974, while the Phoenix Suns are making their first Finals appearance since 1993. Which team will triumph in Game 1?
We have the betting odds and preview you need before Game 1 tips off at 9:00 p.m. ET at Phoenix Suns Arena.
Wed, July 7 2021, 1:00 AM
Giannis' status is in doubt
The status of Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is still considered "day-to-day" as of Tuesday morning. "The Greek Freak" missed Game 5 and Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a knee injury and is being monitored closely by the team's medical staff.
There was talk that Giannis would have likely played in a Game 7 if the Eastern Conference Finals came to it. However, that is a much different scenario than this Game 1. The Bucks can afford to lose a Game 1 on the road if it means they will have a healthier Giannis for later in the series.
The Suns are well rested
The Suns are coming into the NBA Finals well rested, after wrapping up the Western Conference Finals on June 30. The Bucks, meanwhile, finished the Eastern Conference Finals on July 3. Also, the Suns only required four games in the second round of the playoffs, while the Bucks had to play a grueling seven-game series against the Brooklyn Nets.
This extra rest has made a major difference in the health of the Suns. While injuries have been piling up all over the playoffs, the Suns have remained completely healthy. The only players that have missed time in the playoffs were Chris Paul due to COVID-19 regulations and Cam Johnson due to non-COVID related illness.
Will Game 1 Finals trends hold true?
Your natural inclination would lead you to believe that the team coming into the NBA Finals with the most rest would be a good pick for Game 1 to place your wager on. However, just the opposite has been true in the past seven NBA Finals.
Since the 2014, the team that came into the Finals with the least amount of playoff games played is 2-5 ATS in Game 1. In only one of these seven occurrences did the underdog cover the spread. The underdog that covered actually had more rest than their opponent.
The Suns are coming in with more rest and will have to "Buck" this trend to take down Game 1 as the favorites. Since 2007, the favorite is only 39-38-2 ATS. In the past two seasons, the favorite is a ghastly 3-8-1 ATS.
I like the trends when it comes to a Game 1 of a series between two teams that rarely play each other and have injury issues. While I do like the Suns to likely win the game, I will take the points with the Bucks. I think we could get some high scores early in this series as these two teams try to figure each other out.
Mikal Bridges is my x-factor for this series, especially while Giannis is out. Jrue Holiday will be in charge of locking down Chris Paul and P.J. Tucker will be in charge of locking down Devin Booker. That leaves Pat Connaughton having to guard Bridges. I really like him taking advantage of that mismatch and hitting this number in Game 1.