While neither NBA Finals
game so far has come down to the wire, one cannot deny that we’ve been treated to some high-quality basketball
and a competitive series between two fun teams. The Bucks have yet to notch a win so far, but this series doesn’t have the feel of one that is completely over – the Bucks adjusted nicely in Game 2, but simply didn’t get the contributions from their complementary players that would’ve allowed them to steal one. With a pivotal Game 3 coming up tonight, let’s get into some picks to help you win some money.
Smart Money NBA Betting Picks for Tonight’s Action
The Suns will win this series, but tonight belongs to the Bucks. With the Suns’ rotation thinning due to the losses of Dario Šarić and Torrey Craig, and the Bucks getting a slightly healthier Giannis Antetokounmpo with each passing day, I like how this matchup takes shape for them. Antetokounmpo looked like a different person in Game 2 compared to Game 1. And I’m expecting another slight step forward in the health department coming into Game 3.
Additionally, the Bucks have a couple of cards left to play from an adjustment perspective that we haven’t yet seen. They need to decrease P.J. Tucker’s minutes in favor of Brook Lopez or Bobby Portis. Tucker simply doesn’t have a role in this series – his best attribute (wing defense) isn’t all that useful since Phoenix doesn’t have any offensive-minded wings, and whenever the Bucks play him at center, they get destroyed on the glass. My thinking is that between their health, a couple of adjustments, and the sheer excitement in the building around the first Finals game in Milwaukee in 47 years, the Bucks will come out on top here.
Top Player Props for Tonight’s NBA Action
As I alluded to, I’m expecting Tucker’s minutes to go down tonight. The Bucks simply have no need to play him; the Suns are not a favorable matchup. Even if they keep his minutes steady, I could still see him scoring under five points. Tucker has tended to beat that mark as of late. But he averaged just 2.6 points per game in the regular season. I’m betting on him either being an afterthought or being removed from the rotation for the most part.
Thursday’s Game 2 was the first time in four games that Middleton scored under 25 points. Having gotten that cold night out of his system, I’m betting on a big night out of Middleton.
One of the things that have given him trouble in this series has been the defense of Mikal Bridges. Perhaps Milwaukee can scheme to get him switched onto other defenders or simply run more pick and roll to get him attacking downhill. Either way, I like taking Milwaukee’s No. 2 option to have a bounce-back game at home. The old adage is that supporting cast players tend to play better at home than on the road in these types of series. I think that will hold true tonight.
Payne is banged up, but these odds are too great to pass up. The Suns have been playing Chris Paul a ridiculous amount of minutes. And my bet is that they’ll look to decrease them just a bit in this game. Plus, if the game turns into some sort of blowout, one would think that Payne will get lots of minutes, and therefore, lots of shots.
Additionally, perhaps if Craig is unable to play, the Suns will try to fill some minutes with wacky 3-guard lineups featuring Payne alongside Paul and Devin Booker. Either way, I like the odds here too much to pass up.
As I mentioned, I’m expecting the Suns to play a bit more of Brook Lopez and less P.J. Tucker, so that should hurt Ayton’s rebounding and scoring numbers. It’s not that he’s incapable of scoring on Lopez, but he at least presents a tough matchup around the rim in a way that Tucker and even Antetokounmpo can’t match. With the Bucks going bigger, I’m betting on Ayton to have a slightly below-average output tonight.
Mike’s Year to Date Record: 56-80