- BetOnline has opening odds for the 2021 NBA Finals
- Game 1 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns will tip-off in Arizona on Tuesday night
- Phoenix is in its first Finals since 1993 and in search of the franchise’s first championship, while Milwaukee returns to the Finals for the first time since 1974, with its last title coming in 1971
You don’t always get what you want. While basketball fans anticipated an NBA Finals showdown between LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets, instead they’ll see the Phoenix Suns take on a Milwaukee Bucks squad that could be without its best player.
The status of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s hyperextended left knee and his availability for the Finals will likely determine who wins a championship that already has a few asterisks attached to it.
Let’s catch you up on the status of the Greek Freak before Game 1 tips off on Tuesday night and review the opening odds for the series. As always, if you need any help or advice, review these tips for betting on basketball.
2021 NBA Finals
|Bucks To Win Series||+159|
|Suns To Win Series||-179|
Phoenix Suns open as favorites
Looking to win the franchise’s first title since entering the NBA in 1968, the Phoenix Suns are almost 2-to-1 favorites (-179) to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The series price indicates that oddsmakers believe Antetokounmpo will likely miss at least part of the best-of-seven matchup because prior to Giannis’ injury last week, the SuperBook in Las Vegas opened the Bucks as a -150 favorite to defeat Phoenix.
The Milwaukee (+159) star’s status remains up in the air for Game 1 on Tuesday, but one potential glimmer of hope came from Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, who reported that Giannis could have been available for Game 7 against the Hawks if it went the distance.
This exchange between Chris Paul and Monty Williams makes their moment together even sweeter https://t.co/O0pLk3ABRo pic.twitter.com/JOL2cDfcK4
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) July 4, 2021
The Bucks won back-to-back games without their two-time NBA MVP to close out Atlanta, but Khris Middleton and Jrue Holliday will be hard-pressed to deliver the city its first championship in a half a century without Giannis.
While he hasn’t been able to shoot a free throw in under 10 seconds, the 26-year-old has done everything else through Milwaukee’s playoff run, averaging 28.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 5.2 assists on 55.1 percent shooting from the field.
Which Sun will shine in the Finals?
A healthy Greek Freak wouldn’t necessarily guarantee the Bucks a ring. Phoenix won both their games against Milwaukee this year by a single point despite Antetokounmpo averaging 40 points over the two contests (his highest scoring output against an opponent on the season).
After 16 seasons, Chris Paul is appearing in his first NBA Finals and is the current favorite to win the NBA MVP at +140. The 36-year-old will enter Game 1 with six full days of rest, which should help him recover from both a hand injury and any lasting effects from COVID-19.
Giannis is Finals bound 🏆
(via @toups_33) pic.twitter.com/7ikFfWkMGf
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2021
The Suns also have Devin Booker, who has led the team in playoff scoring at 27.0 points per game, and big man Deandre Ayton, who has been strong on both ends of the court.
In an NBA postseason that will be remembered for injuries that knocked out Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving to name just a few, it seems fitting that Giannis will miss at least a few games of the NBA Finals.
We like Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns to win their first-ever championship in 6 games over the Bucks.
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