Suns Await Reigning NBA Champs
The Phoenix Suns had this date circled on their calendar: An NBA Finals rematch against the Milwaukee Bucks. The game is in Phoenix, where the Suns won the first two games of the Finals before getting swept by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks the rest of the way. Can Phoenix gain a semblance of redemption as per their NBA odds?
Also check on these NBA betting lines.
Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Game Information
- Game: Milwaukee Bucks (35-21) at Phoenix Suns (44-10)
- Location: Footprint Center
- Day/Time: Thursday, 10 p.m. ET
- Television: TNT
A Buck or Two Short
In spite of the online sportsbook outright odds, the Milwaukee Bucks have appeared every bit as great as the team that captured the NBA title. They opened the season behind teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets on the title odds, but have slowly clawed their way to the second seed in the East.
Milwaukee, like many teams, has dealt with a glut of injuries. Starting center Brook Lopez is still out and the team got hit hard by COVID-19. Only Pat Connaughton has played over 50 games on the team. Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton have all missed at least 10 games.
With the team coming closer to full strength, Milwaukee has won four in a row to improve to 8-2 in its last 10 games and has covered five of its last six. Its schedule gets much tougher (second-hardest) moving forward, so the Bucks need to improve on their 12-14 (.462) record against teams at .500 or better.
On Mission to the Sun
The NBA-best Phoenix Suns have been on a mission. They were two wins away from capturing the franchise’s first NBA championship. They retooled in the offseason, acquiring JaVale McGee to beef up their interior. The result is Phoenix has dominated the NBA and is looking even better than last season.
The Suns own the NBA’s best record, the best net rating (tied with Golden State), and the best PIE (Player Impact Estimate), and rank in the top 10 in most efficiency stats like turnover percentage and true shooting percentage. More importantly, Devin Booker and Chris Paul have been clutch in every context.
The Suns are 22-3 in clutch games this season.
Devin Booker is shooting 67.7% in the clutch, Chris Paul is shooting 57.1%. pic.twitter.com/Q0w3Mmn4Os
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 9, 2022
On the online sports betting front, Phoenix has been profitable as well with a 55.6 percent cover rate. But their most impressive stat? A 20-6 (.769) record against teams at .500 and above, which is by far the best winning percentage in the NBA.
Bucks at Suns Head-to-Head
These teams do not meet too often and are tied 5-5 in their last 10 meetings. The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 4-2 in the NBA Finals. Games between Paul and Antetokounmpo are split as well with both winning 10 apiece. Paul has the regular-season edge 8-6.
Bucks at Suns Prediction
The Milwaukee Bucks manhandled the Phoenix Suns — quite literally in the NBA Finals. Phoenix could not handle the physicality of Antetokounmpo so the Suns went out and acquired McGee, a tough and defensive-minded center. Lopez’s absence should also clear up space for Phoenix.
If these were the playoffs, we’d think differently. But Phoenix overcame Joel Embiid’s big game to “upset” the Philadelphia 76ers. The Suns been clicking differently and, like last season, have benefited from suffering the fewest injuries to their key players. Antetokounmpo can put up 30 and 10 like Embiid, but the Suns will edge the Bucks in what should be a playoff atmosphere.
The total has gone over in seven of these rivals’ last ten games including the last five in Phoenix. But those totals averaged around 220 to 230 points. This line is a tad too high.