We’re getting set for Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, and the pressure couldn’t be greater on the Milwaukee Bucks. Down 2-0, is there any value left in this team, or is it time to back the Phoenix Suns as underdogs? let’s survey DraftKings Sportsbook for some player props, totals and sides to bet. You can follow me on Twitter (@KennyDucey) for any late adds.
Here’s what jumps out to me today.
My favorite play for this game has got to be the under. It should have hit in Game 2, but a bad backdoor beat ensued late in that game to take the total over despite an extremely-low 94.5 pace rating.
With the exception of a few games this postseason (including Game 2), the Bucks have done an exceptional job on defense against some very tricky offenses, posting respectable defensive ratings the entire way. The issue has lied on the offensive end of the ball, where this team still is trying to figure out what to do in the half-court.
I think Giannis should once again be a focal point, and if the ball is going to run through him it means fewer three-point attempts. We saw Milwaukee shoot five fewer threes in Game 2, and prior to that they went from shooting 45 threes in Game 6 of the Hawks series to 36 in Game 1 of the Finals. I do expect a frontcourt battle, and don’t think either defense cracks on the perimeter. With Chris Paul and the Suns driving the pace down, that would not only help the under get statistically more likely, it would also kill the Bucks’ offensive hopes, considering how much they’ve relied on transition buckets all year and how lost they look when things slow down.
Do I really believe the Suns will win this series in four games? No, I don’t. The Bucks should catch a hot shooting night at home, where they’ve been better, and take at least one game. With that being said, I don’t see this big of a gap between the two teams, even with home court advantage swinging in favor of the Bucks. Do we realistically think it will add nine points to the Bucks?
I’d say no, and I’d also say Milwaukee has some serious issues. If the Bucks are going to go small, just like the Clippers did in the Western Conference Finals, they are going to continue to get crushed by Deandre Ayton. Along those lines, the Bucks have only nine non-Giannis free throws in this series. Nine! Four in Game 1, and five in Game 2, which included two meaningless Jeff Teague attempts at the end of the game.
The Bucks have struggled mightily to put home high-percentage looks around the rim, and haven’t even been able to get fouled in the process. I have real concerns about this team’s ability to get easy baskets.
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You can take me, the Khris Middleton fader, at my word here. I have had no faith whatsoever in the man all postseason, but I am able to see him through an objective lens. He shot the three 10.2% better at home this year, and has had some massive performances in Milwaukee throughout the postseason.
The thing is, the attempts are going to be there. He’s averaged 2.6 made threes on 7.8 attempts, and three times since the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals has taken 10 or more. Just playing the percentages here, Middleton should have an excellent chance of hitting three triples, and it helps that Jrue Holiday has been dreadful scoring the basketball. He should be looked to for even more field goal attempts here.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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