A lack of consistent offense has been a problem for the Bucks, who have scored totals of 105 and 108 in two NBA Finals games to date. However, returning home to Fiserv Forum could be the catalyst for change.
The online sports betting lines are available and the totals have been set. We have identified the best value total points picks for bettors for Game 3.
Middleton Can’t Go Missing
We sound like a broken record, but Khris Middleton can’t afford to go missing in the big games. He comes off a disappointing 11-point performance and it’s not good enough in the NBA Finals.
He was lucky, in some respects, that Giannis Antetokoumnpo exploded with 42 points. Otherwise, Game 2 would have been a bigger loss.
Middleton went 5-16 and 1-6 from the 3-point line. The Bucks were -15 with him on the court, which was the worst +- for any Bucks player. It’s not good enough for a big contract player who has a reputation of disappearing when needed most.
Khris Middleton has 2 modes with no in between pic.twitter.com/1AMJ9G94n5
⚡️Jarvis Ross (@jarvisross98) July 9, 2021
His best games have come with The Greek Freak off the court, but that’s no excuse.
Bettors that have been taking the Bucks to hit the Over have been let down. NBA betting markets have the Bucks team total line at 113 points, which is mainly due to playing at home.
Helping the total to go over is Antetokounmpo, who rebounded from a poor Game One. He had 42 points on 15-22 shooting, and a similar output should see the team total going over 113 points.
“Nothing Giannis does surprises me anymore. He’s got the nickname Freak for a reason,” Bucks guard Pat Connaughton told ESPN. “I will say it’s incredible what he’s been able to do, and it hasn’t happened without time he’s put in to get himself ready, get his body better and continue to do the things that he does to be a two-time MVP.”
However, returning home isn’t a sure-fire recipe for success. The Bucks need to have a better offensive game plan because the Suns are dictating play on both sides of the ball.
“We know what the deal is,” Antetokounpo said. “We’ve got to go back home and protect home.”
Suns Averaging 118 PPG
Chris Paul said in an interview that despite being an old head who wants to slow the play down, playing an up-tempo offense helps the Suns.
He’s not wrong; as the Suns’ faster tempo has been the major contribution to their success. Scoring 118 points per game is an excellent scoring rate and if the Suns score 118 again, the game total of 222½ should soar over.
Devin Booker was red-hot on Thursday, scoring 31 points on 12-25. He wasn’t overly efficient, but he knocked down seven 3-pointers and they came at important times.
Devin Booker is making noise in the Finals at a young age 💯 pic.twitter.com/tcqS9B3WZV
ESPN (@espn) July 9, 2021
Booker hit countless daggers just as the Bucks were making a run. His maturity this season has improved under the guidance of Paul, who chimed in with 23 points.
A huge contribution came from Mikal Bridges, who had 27 points. It was an unexpected offensive boost and if the Suns get production from the likes of Bridges and Crowder (11), the Suns should score close to 118 points again.
Bookmakers have their team total at 109½, so they’re expecting an offensive drop off. It’s not easy to score big totals on the road, but slowing down the pick-and-roll of the Suns is seemingly impossible.
Totals Betting Trends
Over is 5-0 in the Suns’ last five games vs a team with a winning record. It’s also 12-5 in the Suns’ last 17 road games, so there are excellent betting trends in favor of the Over with the Suns.
However, Milwaukee has better statistics with the Under. It’s 6-1 in the Bucks last seven Sunday games and 8-1 in the Bucks last nine home games vs a team with a winning road record.
Under is 6-2-1 in the Bucks’ last nine playoff games as a favorite and 7-3 in their last 10 home games.
We are confident the Milwaukee Bucks will score more than 113 points. The team total is where we have found the best value in totals betting markets.
The game total of 222½ could go close to the line depending on how well the Suns play, but the safer bet is backing the Bucks, who should come alive at home in Game Three.