Suns vs. Bucks Game 6 Odds
|Moneyline||+170 / -200|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday and via BetMGM.|
The Bucks have lead this comeback with their elite defense and rebounding and now have the opportunity to bring a NBA title back to the city of Milwaukee for the first time in over 50 years.
Can Giannis and Co. close out the Finals at Fiserv Forum or will the Suns force a Game 7 back in Phoenix? Let’s break down this potential closeout game.
The Suns Need to Attempt More 3s
The Suns have been two different teams during these Finals when they’ve been at home vs. on the road. At home, they’ve scored 124.6 points per 100 possessions while surrendering 118.3 points good for a +6.3 differential, according to Cleaning the Glass. On the road, however, they have scored just 105.4 points per 100 while allowing 119.4, a point differential of -14.
Now the Suns face a must-win game in Milwaukee and they desperately need a stronger interior presence. The Bucks have dominated the interior and secured 51.7% of all rebounds in this series. While Deandre Ayton has been effective on the interior, he’s essentially the Suns sole line of defense.
They don’t have the size to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez and the rest of the Bucks’ bigs out of the paint. So they’re getting fewer rebounds, and allowing the Bucks to shoot 67.9% at the rim.
How do you combat this? Math. The Suns have steadily taken fewer 3-pointers each game. Here are their 3-point totals: 34, 40, 31, 23, 21.
It’s no surprise their three losses have come with their fewest 3-point attempts. It’s just a math issue. Over the past three games the Bucks have outscored the Suns by 18 points from behind the arc.
The Suns are not necessarily a team that relies on 3s, but they’ve shot 40.8% from deep against the Bucks this series, per Cleaning the Glass. Even in these three consecutive losses they’ve shot 39.7% from 3, including a whopping 68.4% in Game 5. The Bucks give up 3s, they’ve done so all season. The Suns need to take advantage.
Milwaukee is Seizing Momentum
It’s actually incredible that Antetokounmpo barely could walk a few weeks ago and is now throwing down alley-oops at full sprint and making series-saving blocks while averaging 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 5.6 assists on 61.2% shooting. He is a game-changer whom the Suns have few answers for besides haplessly fouling and counting while he attempts free throws.
The Bucks have been relentlessly pursuing Chris Paul around the court, and after torching the Bucks’ defense for 32 in the first game of the series, he’s has averaged 18.25 over the past four. The Bucks have also forced him into some poor decisions. Paul averaged 1.6 turnovers per game through the first three rounds of the playoffs, the Bucks have pushed that to 3.6 turnovers per game in the Finals.
The Bucks’ defense has stifled more than just Paul, though. The Suns have a turnover percentage of 13% during the Finals, up from 12% from the three previous rounds. You can’t give elite teams free possessions, and the Bucks have capitalized on these attempts. They’re dominating off of steals and are scoring 142.9 points per 100 plays.
The Bucks can close this series out, and they finally are seeing their eFG% close in on their expected eFG%. The massive game by Jrue Holiday may finally have unlocked another layer of this offense. With Middleton, Holiday, and Giannis all holding similar usage rates (roughly 30%), this offense becomes even more difficult to contain.
All three are willing passers, and it’s opened up the floor for 3-point opportunities. The Bucks are optimizing their possessions. They’ve taken about seven more 3-pointers per game than the Suns over their three victories.
These are not highly contested looks either. The Bucks are getting about 30 3-point attempts per game where the closest defender is not within four feet of the shooter.
If Holiday, Middleton, Connaughton, Lopez, and Portis are all going to get these looks moving forward, the Suns will be forced to spread themselves on the perimeter, which would open up the paint for Giannis, or they’ll continue to knock down 3s.
The Bucks have the opportunity to close out the NBA Finals on their home floor, and given the structure of the Finals, this is the spot to do so since they’d have to head to The Valley for a winner-take-all Game 7.
Since 2014, the favorite in Game 6 of the Conference Finals or NBA Finals is 8-3 straight up and ATS (excluding the bubble) and has covered by an average margin of 9.83 points. The Bucks are favored to take the Larry O’Brien home and I think they’ll be able to do so.
The Bucks will look to continue pushing the Suns in transition, and they are getting more opportunities to do so when the Suns have leaned on ISO on the offensive end.
Sure, the Suns need buckets and Devin Booker has been incredible, but if the rest of the team is going to stand around and watch him play basketball it slows down their offense and makes them predictable.
Booker deserves a ton of credit for the offensive output he’s had, but that does not mean it’s the best course of action for this team. The Suns need to adjust or they’ll be going home without forcing a Game 7.
The Bucks have flipped this series on its head after dropping Games 1 and 2, and they have all of the momentum. Milwaukee is 7-3 ATS as a home team during the Playoffs, but they’re an even better 9-1 straight up. I’m backing the Bucks to close out the NBA Finals and I’ll lay the points on the home favorite.
Pick: Bucks -5