So far, both teams have "held serve" in the NBA Finals, as the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns have each won the two games they've had at home. Now, the series moves to Game 5, with the Suns aiming to correct whatever went wrong in their losses at the Fiserv Forum.
Saturday night's game in Phoenix starts at 9:05 PM ET on ABC. And BetOnline customers have the opportunity to enjoy this game to its fullest with all the props they can imagine, as well as real-time wagers that can found when clicking the "Live Betting" tab.
The first three games of this series were decided by double-digit margins, and then the Bucks scored a 109-103 victory in Game 4. It's all even, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Bucks are playing all that well.
The fact is, the Bucks have won the turnover battle, as the Suns have coughed it up 52 times (to just 36 for Milwaukee). That is actually unusual, as Phoenix was fourth best in the NBA in turnovers in the regular season. When you turn the ball over, you let the opponent get into transition offense.
And the Suns have permitted the Bucks to score 16.3 points on the fast break per game. That is more than any NBA team gave up on average during the regular season. And Milwaukee was consistently the league's best team at preventing its opponents from getting out on the break.
So it is clear that the Suns' mission is to slow things down as much as possible and force Milwaukee to create shots in a halfcourt offense. Well, there is a problem with that, as we'll explain.
In the NBA Finals betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Suns are laying points at home:
Phoenix Suns -3.5 (-114)
Milwaukee Bucks +3.5 (-106)
Over 220 points -110
Under 220 points -110
The snag with keeping the Bucks in the halfcourt is that Giannis Antetokounmpo has been such a formidable factor inside of the paint. And when teams put up the "Giannis Wall," and they are trying to block his path to the hoop, they risk leaving other guys open, and Khris Middleton burned them for 40 points in Game 4. So yes, there's a dilemma here.
Maybe the "Hack-a-Giannis" strategy might work here. When he is at home, the distractions at the free throw line aren't so prevalent. But when he goes out onto the road, he is rattled a little more by the hostile crowd, and has hit 52% from the line as a visitor.
Milwaukee is the kind of team that will allow the opponent to shoot from the outside, and Phoenix has shot 36.7% from downtown, which isn't so bad. The Bucks have scored only three more points from three-point range than Phoenix has.
But what happens when the shots do not fall? The Suns are not nearly as effective in the offensive rebounding department as the Bucks are. And Phoenix hasn't really been good at that all season.
So second chances favor Milwaukee, but if Phoenix neutralizes the fast break, it could be a difference-maker. If the Suns can successfully force Giannis to look for other scoring outlets, we're not sure we're trusting Jrue Holiday, who is a 33% shooter in this series, or Middleton (at least to repeat his explosive effort) in these circumstances.
Oh, and they'll get more whistles at home too, because that's the way the NBA works.
So we're going to lay the points.
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