The Milwaukee Bucks lived up to bookmakers' predictions in game 3 of the 2021 NBA Finals with a 120-110 win over the Phoenix Suns. Despite the loss, the Suns still lead the series 2-1 and a win on Thursday will give them the chance to close out the series on home court.
Beating Milwaukee at the Fiserv Forum is easier said than done, though. The Bucks have only lost one game at home this playoff season and know they must win this to hold on to their NBA championship dream.
Will the Suns take a 3-1 lead in the series or will the Bucks even it 2-2 before the teams go back to Phoenix? Here's what to expect and how to bet on game 4 of the 2021 NBA finals.
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Giannis shows Milwaukee the way
Sportsbooks are again expecting Milwaukee to win this, with the spread set at 4.5 points and the total over/under set at 220 points.
To understand why that is, look to the big number 34 playing in the paint. Giannis Antetokounmpo has played back-to-back 40+ point games and is averaging 34.3 points, 14 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game this series on 62.5% shooting.
Those are all-star numbers, and if the leaders of his supporting cast - we’re looking at you, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday - can bring their skills to the table then the Bucks have every chance of tying this series at 2-2.
Phoenix looks for defensive options
Phoenix were comfortably the better team in the first two games of this series and seemed to have a divine touch in game 2, when everything they threw at the basket seemed to hit nothing but net.
But that hot streak cooled considerably in game 3, as we predicted could happen, with the Phoenix backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker was just not hitting the shots you would expect them to.
That would not have mattered so much if the Suns had found a way to shut down the Giannis Antetokounmpo show, but they just did not.
Phoenix gave up the ball 14 times in game 3 and was outmuscled in the paint by Milwaukee. The Bucks are the best rebounding team in the NBA, so that is no surprise. But Phoenix was outrebounded 36-47 in game 3: way too big a gap for them to feel comfortable with.
Expect Deandre Ayton to get more minutes in game 4 as Phoenix looks to fill those gaps beneath the basket and limit the Bucks’ dominance. And don’t discount the pride of a baller like CP3: this is his first finals series of his career and he will not want a repeat of that off-color game 3 performance.
Betting on Phoenix Suns @ Milwaukee Bucks game 4
Milwaukee has been priced at -190 on the Moneyline with sportsbooks having Phoenix at +145. That’s a clear sign of where they expect game 4 to go. The Suns are an excellent team and have the shooting talent to prove those odds wrong, but the Bucks have shown they can come back from an 0-2 deficit against favored opponents, as they showed when they stunned the Brooklyn Nets.
The spread has been set at 4.5 points and Milwaukee is 33-34-1 when against the spread this season. Phoenix has an excellent record when priced as an underdog of at least 3.5 points, though: they have a 32-21 record against the spread in such situations.
The totals bet is perhaps the most straightforward play here: these teams have gone over the total in each game in the series so far, and there is little reason to believe they will suddenly stop scoring. The total has been set at 220, which is the same as it was in game 3: the over looks the more likely prospect.
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