The landscape of the NBA Finals looks a bit different after a convincing 120-100 Bucks win in Game 3 on Sunday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 41 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists, his second straight 40+ point, 10+ rebound game for Milwaukee. Now, the Bucks are a win in tonight’s Game 4 away from levelling the series at 2-2, reminiscent of their comeback from 0-2 down against Brooklyn.

Let’s take a look at our 3 best bets for Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Suns and Bucks.

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The Suns are unlikely to panic here, though, despite Milwaukee now sporting an 8-1 home record in the playoffs. After all, the Suns had the best road record in the NBA during the regular season (24-12) and are 6-2 away from home in the postseason. Phoenix also had the luxury of resting its players a bit more in Game 3 once the game slipped away a bit.

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3 Best Bets for Bucks vs. Suns (NBA Finals Game 2)

While Milwaukee’s three stars, Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday, all played 38+ minutes Sunday night, the Suns did not have a single player log more than 34 minutes. They will hope their fresher legs will help them steal Game 4 tonight, sending them home up 3-1 in the series with a chance to win the title on their home court on Saturday.

Best Games For Game 5
Pat Connaughton Over 1.5 Made Threes (DraftKings Sportsbook -120)
Devin Booker Under 38.5 Points, Rebounds & Assists (DraftKings Sportsbook -110)
Chris Paul Over 8.5 Assists (DraftKings Sportsbook -120)

Cameron Payne Over 6.5 Points (FanDuel Sportsbook -116)

Milwaukee’s strategy of having Holiday guard Chris Paul the length of the court throughout Game 3 seemed to pay dividends and will likely be employed once again tonight. Phoenix will obviously counter with adjustments of its own and one such adjustment could be increased court time for Cameron Payne, the other main ball handler for the Suns.

Payne played 25 minutes in Game 3, taking 10 shots, pulling down four rebounds, and handing out four assists. This was a solid contribution that could earn him similar playing time tonight, perhaps even a few minutes on the court alongside Paul to help break the Milwaukee pressure in crucial moments.

Those 25 minutes of game action were the most the Suns’ backup point guard has seen since Paul returned from COVID-19 protocols. However, Payne has made productive contributions to the score sheet as long as he gets 15 minutes on the court this postseason. Payne has played 15+ minutes in 14 games during the playoffs and has topped this prop’s point total in 13 of those games.

Payne attempted at least two three-point shots in every postseason game in which he played at least five minutes, making 22 shots from long range in 19 total playoff outings.

Payne isn’t bashful shooting the ball in general when he is on the court. He attempted at least three shots in every postseason appearance, including at least seven attempts in all 13 playoff games where he logged 16 or more minutes.

We have a strong belief that Payne should earn 20+ minutes of action tonight. If he does, we are almost assured of cashing this prop bet. After all, the 6’1” guard tallied seven or more points in all 22 regular season games in which he played 20 or more minutes, as well as all eight postseason games logging more than 20 minutes of gametime.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo Under 34.5 Points (FanDuel Sportsbook -116)

This is surely a counterintuitive selection in the eyes of most, given the superhuman scoring displays posted by Antetokoumpo in Games 2 and 3. However, his back-to-back dominant outbursts help create some added value for those picking the under, as this number is a bit inflated by oddsmakers.

Outside of the impressive head-to-head numbers Antetokounmpo has put up against Phoenix, there is no split out there that will convince us that this point prop total is lined properly. The Milwaukee star is still a guy who averaged 28.1 points per game in the regular season, 27.8 here at home, 29.6 on two days of rest, 27.0 since the All-Star Break, and 29.2 during the playoffs.

That body of work speaks more volumes to us than two games that could be viewed as outliers.

First, we know the Suns will devote much of its attention to finding ways to slow down Antetokounmpo tonight, preferring to force other Bucks players to beat them. They have had two days with no travel since Game 3 to develop a plan to minimize the dominant effect Antetokounmpo has had in the paint recently.

Furthermore, Games 2 and 3 were just the second and third times this postseason that Antetokounmpo has topped this prop’s point total. The other was the Game 7 overtime win against Brooklyn in which he posted 40 points. He failed to reach 35 points in the game following that effort and also failed to do so in four of his five regular season games after scoring 40+ points.

Those subsequent efforts produced 15, 36, 15, 29, and 25 points, good for just 24 points per game.

On top of all that, Antetokounmpo has earned 17 and 18 free throws in Games 2 and 3, respectively, making 24 of those 35 attempts (68.6%). He had not reached the line more than 14 times in a game yet this postseason and had just two games during the regular season in which he shot more foul shots. Expect that anomaly to mellow a bit tonight.

Antetokounmpo has also been a far poorer foul shooter than he showed in Games 2 and 3. While 68.6% across those two games would be nothing to write home about for most players, Milwaukee’s star forward managed to shoot just 72-133 (54.1%) from the stripe in the playoffs leading up to those two efforts.

Again, expect some regression tonight.

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Deandre Ayton Over 12.5 Rebounds (DraftKings Sportsbook +105)

Deandre Ayton started Game 3 like a man possessed, scoring 16 points just a few minutes into the second quarter before foul trouble and the trajectory of the game led to limited subsequent action as the game wore on. Ayton finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in just 24 minutes, but we can hope for much more from him tonight.

Ayton had just one other game in these playoffs in which he tallied less than 27 minutes on the court and followed that up with a  37-minute, 15-rebound evening his next time out.

The Suns’ star big man has already topped this difficult prop number seven times this postseason to go with another 24 such efforts during the regular season. He actually had a run of eight straight games and 11 of 12 during the regular season in which he ripped down 13+ boards.

Ayton’s importance on the glass has been emphasized this postseason, as he has pulled down 11.9 rebounds per game in the playoffs, compared to 10.5 per game during the regular season. Part of this increase comes naturally with a five minute per game bump in playing time. In turn, he should be in for a boat load of minutes tonight after two days of rest and limited action in Sunday’s Game 3.

Ayton has seemed to take personal responsibility for his team’s success after particularly poor efforts this season. The Suns lost just four other games by 20+ points this season before Sunday. In follow up outings, Ayton snagged 15, 13, 13, and 15 rebounds in 35, 33, 40, and 29 minutes, respectively.

Obviously, each of those efforts would have cashed this prop bet and we should certainly expect significant enough minutes tonight to allow it to happen again in a game the Suns will want badly.

During the postseason, Ayton has followed up Phoenix losses with 11, 17, 22, and 17 rebound nights. He also backed up games in which he committed five or six personal fouls by collecting 13 or more rebounds in over half of his next efforts.

Expect a guy who averaged more rebounds on the road than at home and 11.4 per game on two days of rest this season to bounce back with a big impact on the glass tonight.

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