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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns NBA Finals Betting Update – Suns are still series favorites

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Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Finals is Saturday, July 17th at 9:00 p.m. (ET). The game will air live on ABC and ESPN Deportes from the Phoenix Suns Arena. The total consensus is currently set at 220.5. Notwithstanding the total going under in yesterday’s game, the spread consensus is favoring the Suns for Game 5 on Saturday, and the total is expected to go over. They are now 9-1 at home so far this postseason.

The Milwaukee Bucks shot only 32 percent from the field in the first quarter of last night’s game, but in hindsight, the Suns’ seven turnovers in the first half demonstrated more costly mistakes than missed baskets for the visiting team. On the other hand, Phoenix fell to 3-1 on the road in Game 4 meetings throughout this season’s playoffs.

This was the first time the Suns lost back-to-back games this postseason. Similar to Milwaukee, the Suns are more energetic and aggressive on their home court. For something else to think about, the Suns are also 35-11 at home this season.

NBA Finals 2021 Suns vs Bucks Series Betting Update

After Game 4, the Suns now have -145 odds to win their first NBA title in franchise history. They open Game 5 as 4-point favorites over the Bucks. The Suns’ opening odds in the series were -170. As for Milwaukee, their odds are +125 to win their first championship since the 1970-71 NBA season. The Bucks’ opening odds in this series were +150. The Suns are 55-35-2 ATS, while the Bucks are 44-49 ATS. For Saturday night’s Game 5, Milwaukee is expected to win, cover the spread, and the total is projected to go over 218.

The best over in this game is 218 (-109) and the best under is 218.5 (-110). For the 2021 NBA Finals MVP odds, the list has also been updated. Giannis Antetokounmpo has the best odds at +130, followed by Chris Paul at +175, Devin Booker at +210, Khris Middleton at +2000, Deandre Ayton at +5000, and Jrue Holiday at +10000. Last month, Antetokounmpo placed fourth in the MVP voting for the 2020-21 regular season award. Chris Paul came in fifth place as well.

Game 5 – NBA Finals Series Odds from Bovada

  • Spread: Bucks +125, Suns -145
  • Over/Under: Over 218
  • Best Moneyline: Bucks +160, Suns -175

Game 4 Recap

In Game 4, the Bucks evened the series at two games a piece after their 109-103 victory over the Suns. Shooting guard Devin Booker is leading Phoenix in postseason points, averaging 26.3 points per game. In 38 minutes played, he scored 42 points. After Game 4’s performance, Booker joined Stephen Curry and Allen Iverson on the list for the most points scored (38) through three quarters in the last 25 NBA Finals. The 24-year-old first-round pick scored more points in the first half of Game 4 (20) than he did in the entirety of Game 3 (10).

Per ESPN, Milwaukee had a 59 percent BPI chance to win Game 4 at home. It was not one of those games to take mindless, unnecessary risks. Moreover, Booker made history when he broke a 54-year-old record by scoring more points (532) in his first NBA Playoffs than Rick Barry (521) and Julius Erving (518). However, he also played in five more playoff games than Barry and one more than Erving.

According to Bovada, the Bucks were favored to win Game 3, with reliable odds showcasing -4.5 (-115). The Game 4 total was set at 221. Milwaukee was expected to win, cover the spread, and the total was projected to go under 221. On the bright side for many gamblers, the total did go under this time around. In the first three games of this NBA Finals series, the total had gone over. Upon further review of analyzing records and other notable facts, once again leading his team in multiple statistics, Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.2 points per game and 12.9 total rebounds. Not to mention, leading into Game 4, Antetokounmpo became the third player with consecutive 40-point double-doubles in the NBA Finals, joining LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal. The Greek Freak has averaged 31.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, and five assists at the Fiserv Forum this postseason. He is the first player with more points than minutes played in consecutive games as well.

Plus, Jrue Holiday has a team-high of 8.4 assists per game in this postseason. Referencing Caesars Sportsbook, Giannis’ projected Over/Under was set at 34.5 in Game 4, whereas Booker’s O/U was set at 27.5. Based on the betting calculations from Odds Shark and BetUS, relating to the Greek Freak’s point total, it was recommended for sports bettors to stick with the under. Needless to say, it was the fairest bet. Devin Booker was expected to earn more than 28 points in yesterday’s game, but one of the biggest surprises was Chris Paul’s overall performance. Since 2012, Paul’s 15 turnovers over the previous three games in the NBA Finals are the most over the course of three games in the playoffs. In 37 minutes played, he finished his night with 10 points, four rebounds, and seven assists. Some gamblers were expecting a big showing in Game 4.

To add to that point, the Suns’ Deandre Ayton committed five fouls in a playoff-low of 24 minutes in Game 3. He concluded last night’s performance with 6 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists. At least he stayed out of foul trouble this time. Additionally, Khris Middleton scored a playoff career-high of 40 points in 43 minutes. When Milwaukee is firing on all cylinders, the average basketball enthusiast can see that Middleton is the difference maker when he comes ready to play. Middleton and Antetokounmpo combined for 66 points in Wednesday night’s game. This was the perfect game for bettors to have placed player prop bets for specific Bucks’ players.

Suns vs. Bucks Game 5 Betting Lines

Leading into Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Finals, the spread for the Phoenix Suns remains at -4 (-109). The best moneyline for the Suns is currently set at -164. The total for the Suns is projected to go under 218.5 (-109). They are also 10-3 SU in their last thirteen games played against Central division opponents. In addition to the aforementioned betting odds for Phoenix, the Bucks have opening odds showcasing +4.5 (-110).

Their moneyline is also listed at +155. According to PointsBet, their total is expected to go over 218 (-115). It should go without saying at this point that high-scoring offenses heavily favor the over bet. Though, Game 4 in this series was an exception. The total has gone over in eight of Milwaukee’s last ten games against an opponent in the Western Conference.

Game 5 NBA Betting Trends

Milwaukee Bucks 

  • The Bucks are 8-4 ATS in their last 12 games.
  • The Bucks are 3-6 ATS in their previous 9 road games.
  • The Bucks are 10-5 SU in their past 15 games played.

Phoenix Suns 

  • The Suns are 12-5 ATS in their previous 17 games.
  • The Suns are 13-4 SU in their past 17 games.
  • The Suns are 7-1 SU in their last 8 games played at home.

The betting trends listed above are the notable statistics, leading into Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Booker and Antetokounmpo are meeting expectations in this series. They are providing a significant, memorable effort to help bettors with their prop bets. Having said that, the same positive effort cannot be said about Chris Paul, especially if bettors were expecting an above average performance in Games 3 and 4. His turnovers are costing the Suns more than they could afford to lose. The five-time All-NBA Second Team is averaging 8.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game, though.

Considering this 10-point showing from Paul in this six-point loss could be an anomaly, moving forward in this series, Phoenix having home-court advantage from here on out could lead to a more desirable experience for Suns’ fans and sports bettors interested in placing future player prop bets in this series. Thus far, this NBA Finals has been an unusual and sporadically interesting series for the bookmakers. For those of you who are interested in placing quick bets, there are several modern apps available as of July 2021, such as for Bovada, BetUS, Intertops, MyBookie, and BetOnline.

James is a Basketball Insider contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. He enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers to win money.

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Mike D’Antoni to step away as Nets assistant coach

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On Wednesday evening, the Brooklyn Nets organization announced that assistant coach Mike D’Antoni would not be returning to Steve Nash’s coaching staff for the 2021-22 NBA season. Coach D’Antoni is deciding to step down from his position after one season spent with the organization. The reason D’Antoni is deciding to leave the team is unknown. In late June, D’Antoni met with the Portland Trail Blazers for the vacant head-coaching position; he was interviewed twice.

From ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 70-year-old veteran coach is still seeking to pursue another job as head coach. Coach Nash commented on the story stating, “I will forever be grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together. Our players and staff all benefited from this time in Brooklyn and we wish Mike, Laurel, and their family the very best in what lies ahead.” This news has personally shocked Nash, considering their history together.

In his 16-year NBA head coaching career, D’Antoni’s W-L record is 718-555 (.564). Despite never winning an NBA championship, D’Antoni won the 2005 Coach of the Year award with the Phoenix Suns when Nash was his star point guard, and he won his second award while coaching the Houston Rockets in 2017. The 2004-05 Suns finished 62-20 (.756), ranking first in the Pacific Division and first overall in the Western Conference. However, the Suns went on to lose four games to one against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

The 2017-18 Rockets ended their season 65-17 (.793), ranking first in the Southwest Division and first in the Western Conference Finals. Though, once again, D’Antoni’s team came up short, losing in Game 7 versus the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Coach D’Antoni was also the NBA All-Star Game head coach in 2007 and 2018. Moreover, the Nets lost another assistant coach this offseason after the Boston Celtics hired Ime Udoka to become their next head coach. On July 9, 2021, the Nets hired former Trail Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool to their coaching staff.

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NBA Draft: Déjà Vu in Detroit

Tomorrow night the Detroit Pistons will make the first overall selection in the NBA Draft for just the second time in team history. They selected a Hall of Famer with that pick 51 years ago. Chad Smith details why it might happen again, this time with a player that resembles a guy that was once the face of their franchise.

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It has been 18 years since the Detroit Pistons had a top-three pick in the NBA Draft. Unfortunately, it was arguably the worst selection in the history of the event as they took Darko Milicic second overall ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. It was a night that everyone in Detroit would love to forget, and now they might be able to do just that.

Detroit will kick off the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday night in what has been labeled as a loaded draft class, especially at the top. The last time the Pistons had the top overall pick, they did well by selecting Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier out of St. Bonaventure in the 1970 draft. The organization is hopeful that history will repeat itself.

Cade Cunningham is the consensus number one pick this year, which speaks volumes when considering the other candidates. While Detroit has not publicly hinted that they will take Cunningham, it would be an absolute shocker if he does not end up in the Motor City. It is a place that Cunningham has already grown fond of.

Should things go according to plan on Thursday night, there could be some déjà vu in Detroit. Aside from the Darko debacle, the last top-three selection by the franchise came in 1994 when they took Grant Hill out of Duke. The physical attributes are quite clear. Both players are listed at 6’ 8” tall and around 220 pounds. Just as their build is the same, so too is their demeanor on and off of the court.

Both Cunningham and Hill have similar playing styles and share many of the same strengths and weaknesses. They have incredible vision and passing ability that allows them to create for teammates. They use their size and strength against smaller defenders near the basket and are incredibly versatile with the ball in their hands. They are able to initiate offense from anywhere on the floor and have a complete all-around game that includes defense.

Hill recorded 29 triple-doubles in his career. That is something that Detroit hopes to get out of the 19-year old playmaker. Unlike many situations where the top overall pick finds himself on a team lacking talent, the Pistons have done a marvelous job of transforming their roster under Troy Weaver. Most of their core is already under contract for next season and will be earning less than $6 million.

Cunningham will join Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, as well as two All-Rookies in Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. With Killian Hayes missing much of his rookie season due to injury, the Pistons have plenty of talent surrounding their new floor general. With some more talent and veteran leadership possibly coming onboard during free agency, Detroit should be able to return to the postseason next year.

As gifted as Cunningham is, he is not the most explosive athlete for his size. He won’t blow by defenders on the perimeter or leap over them for a highlight dunk, but that doesn’t stop him from attacking the basket. Like Hill, he has shown the ability to either create for teammates, create for himself, or simply finish at the rim. He makes the right reads against traps and hard hedges, making him even more difficult to defend.

The versatility is on full display whether it be on offense or defense. Cunningham’s seven-foot wingspan adds another element to his game as a physical defender with active hands. His high basketball IQ allows him to capitalize on filling passing lanes and his timing on shot-blocking. His improved jump shot has also elevated him as a true dynamic threat, scoring from all three levels.

As a Freshman at Oklahoma State, Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 44 percent from the floor. He plays under control and never looks rushed or uncomfortable. It may take him some time to adjust to the NBA game but he has all of the tools and attributes you would want a top prospect to possess.

The fit in Detroit is tailor-made for the versatile guard. Cunningham can do a little bit of everything and elevates the play of his teammates. Whether he is facilitating, scoring, or playing off the ball, his impact on the court is significant. Despite not being an elite athlete, he can initiate the offense and get his own shot when needed.

Detroit clearly lacked guard play last season, with Hayes out of the lineup. They relied upon Grant and Plumlee to fuel their offense, with the rookies filling in at times. With the addition of Cunningham and the return of Hayes, the Pistons will have a sensational young backcourt to go along with their already established frontcourt.

There is also the potential for Detroit to have one of the most improved defenses in the conference. With their length and athleticism, this young core fits right in with the culture of a blue-collar team built around defense. Much of their success will ride on the shoulders of Dwane Casey, as he returns for his fourth season in Detroit.

Both Hill and Cunningham are from Texas and their birth dates are just ten days apart. Hill spent his first six seasons in Detroit, where he enjoyed the prime years of his playing career that included the Rookie of the Year Award. Five of his seven All-Star seasons came as a member of the Pistons and he was often seen as the next great superstar.

While injuries derailed his career, Hill’s journey ended with a trip to the Hall of Fame. While it is too early to put those expectations on a 19-year old, it is safe to say that the Pistons are in good hands for many years to come.

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Team Argentina vs. Spain – Preview, Prediction, & Betting Picks

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On Thursday, July 29th at 8:00 a.m. (EST), Argentina will take on Spain in this Group C preliminary round matchup. The Spaniards will enter this game as the selected favorites, while the Argentinians embrace their underdog role, as they lost their opening game 118-100 against Mavericks’ guard Luka Doncic and the Slovenian team. The last time Spain won the gold medal for the men’s team was at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where they defeated Argentina 95-75.

Game Details

Date & Time: Thursday, July 29th at 8:00 a.m. (EST)

Location: Saitama Super Arena; Saitama, Japan

Availability: Peacock (live) & NBC Sports Network (delayed)

Spread: Spain -8.5 (+100) (per DraftKings Sportsbook) 

Over/Under: 167

Best Moneyline: Spain -400, Argentina +300

  • Table odds retrieved from DraftKings

Argentina vs. Spain Preview

Team Argentina’s starting lineup in Thursday morning’s game consists of Facundo Campazzo, Luca Vildoza, Patricio Garino, Luis Scola, and Marcos Delia. In the team’s 118-100 defeat versus Slovenia, in 27 minutes played, forward Scola led the team on the stat sheet, accumulating 23 points, four rebounds, one assist, and one block. Guard Campazzo also earned 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals. According to Bovada’s Olympic futures odds, the Argentinians have the eighth best odds to win the gold medal, with +8000 futures odds. Argentina has the third best odds (+2000) of winning Group C.Argentina vs. Spain Preview

Moreover, the starting lineup for Spain consists of Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Juan Hernangomez, Victor Claver, and Marc Gasol. Their bench also includes two-time NBA champion center Pau Gasol. In the Spaniards’ 88-77 victory over Japan, Rubio led the team all across the board, leading the team with 20 points, two rebounds, and nine assists. Forward Claver finished his performance with 13 points, nine rebounds, and one steal. Additionally, with +1000 futures odds, Spain has the fifth best odds of winning the gold. Spain has the second best odds (EVEN) of winning Group C.

Prediction: Spain wins by 8 points

Team Spain are the more trustworthy, superior bet in this matchup. Pau Gasol, the seven-foot-one six-time NBA All-Star, is 41-years-old. Marc, his brother, is also 36. Leading into the Tokyo Olympic Games, basketball experts and bettors were wondering if age would be a significant factor for the Spaniards. However, thus far, it has been quite the contrary. Ricky Rubio has also proven to be an important piece for helping the team to become legitimate title contenders. In the 2020-21 NBA season, Rubio averaged 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 6.4 assists.

As for Argentina, Scola and Campazzo are carrying the team right now. In their 18-point loss to Slovenia, the Argentinians shot 5-for-31 (16.1 percent) from beyond the arc. To add insult to injury, the team was out-rebounded 59 to 32 overall. This cannot happen against the top contenders, such as versus Slovenia, France, Spain, or the USA. Sooner or later, the wheels on the wagon will eventually fall off. There are bettors giving Spain a -12.5 point spread in this matchup, but it might be best to stick with the -8.5 spread, first provided by DraftKings. In this game, some bettors are anticipating a 20-point blowout repeat of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Final.

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