Home court has proven to be the difference-maker thus far in the NBA Finals.
The NBA Finals are tied up at 2-2, with Game 5 headed back to Phoenix. The Suns are 8-2 at home outright in the playoffs and won the first two games against the Bucks by an average margin of 11.5 points.
Many counted the Bucks out after a couple of double-digit road losses, but Milwaukee did their job, winning two games on their home turf by an average margin of 8.0 points. However, the Bucks are only 5-6 on the road heading into Game 5.
What will Game 5 have in store? The Suns are favored by 3.5 points, and the game total sits at 219. We’ll see if the homecourt advantage trend holds up or if the Bucks can sustain their momentum after two straight victories.
Let’s dive in.
NBA Finals Player Props & Picks
Bobby Portis Over 10.5 Points + Rebounds+ Assists (-125)
|Bucks vs. Suns||Suns -3.5|
|Time | TV||9:00 p.m. ET | ABC|
That’s right folks, Bobby Portis, aka the per-minute beast. He wasn’t a factor in the first two games of the series, only seeing the court for 14 minutes in Game 1 and five minutes in Game 2. We all know about Mike Budenholzer’s reluctance to change, but he finally unleashed Portis in Games 3 and 4 for an average of 19 minutes per contest. The result? Wins.
Ok, that’s a bit exaggerated, but the fact remains, Portis is effective in limited minutes. He finished Game 3 with a plus/minus of +19 and followed that up in Game 4 with a plus/minus of +7. His playing time is a result of Brook Lopez getting exposed defensively. Lopez has a plus/minus of -25 in the series so it makes sense to get Portis more time on the floor.
He’s eclipsed 10.5 PRA in only one game in this series. But, according to Fansure, he’s exceeded 10.5 PRA in 12 of his last 15 road games. Portis is averaging 16.1 PRA over that span of 15 games. He’s averaging 8.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 0.7 assists in the playoffs across 18 minutes per contest.
He has a knack for racking up stats quickly with the second unit, and he’ll likely play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo for stretches in this pivotal matchup.
Playing his points + rebounds market is an option at 10.5, but you might as well play the PRA since it’s the same number, and Portis is capable of getting an assist.
Our action projections tool has Portis accumulating 15.1 PRA. With a bet quality rating of 10, I’m taking the over for Portis to amass at least 11 PRA.
Deandre Ayton Over 15.5 Points (-118)
The Suns’ big man wasn’t a factor offensively in Game 4, watching Devin Booker go off for 42 points. He shot a rare 33% from the field (3-for-9) and didn’t go to the free-throw line once — the first time that’s occurred in this series.
Ayton has a history of rebounding from poor shooting performances, and Game 5 presents the next opportunity to do so. Ayton has scored over 15.5 points in seven of his last 10 games. But, he’s also done it in two of his last three games at home versus Milwaukee.
He’s been dominant at home all playoffs, averaging a solid 17.2 points per game. He’s been efficient as well, shooting 70.3% from the field when on his home turf.
His streak of 14 straight games in double-figures came to a close in Game 4. But much like Devin Booker, he rarely has stretches with two bad performances consecutively. In fact, you’d have to go back to Round 1 vs. the Lakers to find a string of underwhelming games for Ayton.
There’s no better time for the former No. 1 pick to come alive than back in Phoenix. Ayton’s also performed well relative to the spread. According to Fansure, he’s exceeded 15.5 points in five of his last seven games as a favorite.
With the series tied up and the momentum with the Bucks, expect the Suns to feed Ayton to get him going early, and for him to impose his will on the interior. Our action projections tool as Ayton scoring 17.3 points, and with a bet quality rating of 8, this is an over I’m backing.
Mikal Bridges Over 1.5 3-Pointers (-130)
Bridges is slumping, but similar to Deandre Ayton, he loves the home-court feel. His play has been too erratic to play some of the more traditional markets, but he’s been reliable from beyond the arc when playing at home.
In 10 home games this season, Bridges is averaging 5.3 3-point attempts per game, while knocking down 37.9% or 2.2 per contest. Per Fansure, Bridges has hit at least two 3-pointers in 12 of his last 14 games at home.
He’s averaging 2.3 3-pointers made in six games versus Milwaukee this season, and he’s done it in both home games in this series. Chris Paul was in shambles in Game 3, so the veteran point guard will have to create more opportunities for his teammates to score.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker have assisted Bridges the most in the postseason, and there’s no doubt the ball will be in their hands in Game 5. The Suns are 11-1 when Bridges hits double-figures, and in order to do that, he’s going to need to hit a couple of triples.
I’m betting the over in what should be another bounce-back opportunity on his home floor to show that he’s more than just a 3-D wing.