We now know the Phoenix Suns will be representing the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, allowing them a chance to secure the first title in their franchise’s history. The Suns will be awaiting the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks. Sadly, injuries have stolen the show, with Trae Young and Giannis Antetokounmpo suffering injuries that have sidelined them for at least one game.
Amid the injuries to the two superstars, there are a few bets that I’m keying in on for Saturday’s crucial showdown. Following Milwaukee’s Game 5 win on Thursday, Antetokounmpo is doubtful to play again for the Bucks. On the other side of the court, Young has been given a questionable designation. Seeing that the game could send the Hawks packing, my guess is that Young attempts to play, even though he’ll be less than one-hundred percent. It will be worth monitoring the status of both players before Game 6 tips off.
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Brook Lopez Over 15.5 points (-120)
On Thursday, in my parlay article for BettingPros (check it out here), I explained why I took the over for Brook Lopez’s point total. Some may have scoffed at the idea due to Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday receiving the lion’s share of the usage sans Antetokounmpo. However, Lopez has seen success in the scoring department when Antetokounmpo hasn’t been in the lineup. Ahead of Game 5, Lopez was given a point total of 13.5, and he responded by leading the Bucks with 33 points, helping Milwaukee secure a 3-2 lead in the series.
While it’s unrealistic to expect 30+ points from Lopez again, FanDuel Sportsbook has raised his point total by just two points to 15.5. Lopez averaged 19.55 points per 36 minutes during the regular season when Antetokounmpo and Donte DiVincenzo were sidelined. In Game 5, Lopez also saw a 25.8 usage percentage, marking just the 18th time (regular season and playoffs) that he had a 20+ usage percentage. Over the course of those 18 games of him seeing a 20+ usage percentage, Lopez scored more than 15.5 points in 12 of them for a 66.7 percent hit rate. I’ll take my chances on Lopez stepping up on the offensive end for the Bucks again on Saturday.
Khris Middleton Over 8.5 rebounds (-138)
When Antetokounmpo was in the starting lineup for the Bucks in the playoffs, he was notching 12.7 rebounds per game. That leaves a ton of rebounds for the rest of the roster to corral when he’s not playing. As a result of his absence on Thursday, Milwaukee had all five of their starters grab 6+ rebounds. Middleton would lead the team in rebounds in Game 5, registering a game-high 13 boards. Following his stellar performance on the glass, Middleton’s rebound total is set at 8.5 for Game 6.
Despite the high rebound total for Middleton, I’m siding with him hitting the over for various reasons. In the last game, Middleton saw 18 rebound chances, which was the most among Bucks or Hawks players. Throughout the series against Atlanta, Middleton has seen 65 rebound chances, second on the team behind Antetokounmpo, who has 68 in the same timespan. And for Milwaukee, it benefits them when Middleton grabs a rebound, allowing them to get into their offense sooner. With Middleton and Holiday being leaned on to be the most active players on the court, I feel confident that Middleton will grab at least nine rebounds.
Bogdan Bogdanovic Over 3.5 threes made (-113)
Besides my pick of Lopez eclipsing 13.5 points in my parlay article, I also chose to go over on Bogdan Bogdanovic’s threes made. Back on Thursday, with Young ruled out, Bogdanovic’s threes made total was set at 2.5. The Serbian three-point marksman would easily surpass his total by knocking down seven three-point shots. In the past two games alone, Bogdanovic has converted 13 of his 30 three-point attempts. Yes, you read that right. He has hurled 30 three-point shots in the last two games, showing that he’s beginning to feel more like himself since dealing with knee soreness in recent games.
Bogdanovic sustained the knee injury late in the Semi-Finals versus the Philadelphia 76ers. The former first-round pick was playing through the injury, but it was evident that he wasn’t even close to being one-hundred percent. Bogdanovic was on a tear to conclude the regular season, nailing four or more three-pointers in 13 of his final 16 outings. Throughout the regular season and the playoffs, Bogdanovic had 18 games where he attempted 10+ threes. In those games, he made four or more threes in 15 of them. If the Hawks give Bogdanovic the green light to shoot from downtown, there’s a good chance he reaches four three-pointers on Saturday.
NBA Prop Bets
- Bobby Portis Jr. Prop Bet Odds
- Bogdan Bogdanovic Prop Bet Odds
- Clint Capela Prop Bet Odds
- Jrue Holiday Prop Bet Odds
- P.J. Tucker Prop Bet Odds
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