The 2020-21 NBA season could come to a close on Tuesday night.
After picking up three straight wins, the Milwaukee Bucks are leading the Phoenix Suns 3-2 in the NBA Finals with Game 6 set to tip off in Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
Phoenix looked completely in control through the first two games of the series, but the Bucks rallied back behind strong performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.
Phoenix is coming off a frustrating loss in Game 5 where it squandered a second-straight 40-point performance by Devin Booker to lose another game in the final minute. In Game 4, it was a costly turnover by Chris Paul, but in Game 5 Holiday made a fantastic play to strip Booker and then find Giannis for the exclamation point on the break.
WynnBET has the Bucks as 4.5-point favorites in Game 6 at home, and they also have -400 odds to win the series. History tells us that the Bucks have a 72 percent chance of taking home the title, and they’ve got a good chance to do it at home.
The Bucks are 9-1 at Fiserv Forum this season and have won by an average of 15.1 points in their victories. WynnBET has the Bucks’ winning margin of 11 or more points as the most likely outcome in Game 6 at +215 odds, but closeout games in the Finals rarely bring major blowouts.
With the NBA season coming to a close, our editors are making what could be their last roundtable picks of the season. Roll with them, fade them, follow them, here’s what we’re most confident about in Game 6:
Giannis Antetokounmpo Goes Under 51.5 Combined Points, Rebounds and Assists (-116)
Giannis is the clear-cut Finals MVP if the Bucks hold on and win the series, but I’m still taking the under on his combined points, rebounds and assists prop in Game 6.
While this seems like a “fade Giannis” pick, it’s more playing the percentages from his postseason run. Antetokounmpo has gone over 51.5 points, rebounds and assists just four times in 20 games this postseason.
Of those four games that he went over, Giannis scored 40 or more points in three of them. Essentially, I’m betting on Giannis to not put up his third 40-point performance of the NBA Finals.
The odds on this prop are essentially a pick’em on WynnBET, but considering that only six players in NBA history have more than two 40-point games in their career in the Finals, I’m going to bet that Giannis doesn’t reach that mark for a third time in a single series.
It’s a lot of stats to accumulate, and even though he’s been a double-double machine, Giannis has hit the over on that number just 25 percent of the time this postseason. The Suns aren’t going to let him walk all over them in a win-or-go-home game, so I’m rolling with the under. -- Peter Dewey
Bucks-Suns Under 222.5 Hits (-110)
Recency bias would lead you to believe that we'll see another back-and-forth, high percentage shooting night in Game 6, especially with WynnBET setting the total at 222.5, the highest it's been so far in the postseason.
Instead, the numbers actually indicate that we should expect scoring to be lower, not higher for Game 6.
Both Phoenix and Milwaukee have played better defense this series at Fiserv Forum. The Suns have a 107.9 defensive rating on the road compared to a 110.7 rating at home. As for the Bucks? They play at an elite defensive level at home with a 100.3 rating compared to 113.3 in Phoenix.
Regardless of whether you anticipate the Bucks closing it out or Phoenix extending the series to a Game 7, I'll be backing the data that anticipates better defense, more isolated possessions, and the total going under 222.5. -- Ben Heisler
Suns Moneyline (+175)
After a heartbreaking Suns moneyline loss in Game 4, I’m back on the same bet because apparently I’m a masochist. Phoenix has been playing too well lately for this series to not go to Game 7.
The Suns shot 55.2% from the field in Game 5, including 68.4% from 3-point land. They ranked fourth in the NBA in effective field goal percentage, and I just can’t see them losing Game 6 if they can keep up that production.
Will I likely regret taking the moneyline instead of the 4.5-point spread? Yes. Am I currently wearing my tinfoil hat as I consider that the NBA may favor the Suns this game in order to force a Game 7? Also yes.
I’m willing to go down with the ship, give me the Suns at +175 and let’s all root for this exciting series to go the distance. -- Iain MacMillan
Khris Middleton Goes Under 25.5 Points (-104)
I’m sorry to break it to everyone, but the Khris Middleton redemption tour is over. WynnBET has his point total set at 25.5 points, with the over (-116) favoring the under (-104). Middleton has been great these last two games, but I don’t see that continuing in Game 6.
In games where Giannis Antetokounmpo has played (outside of Games 4 and 5), Middleton has failed to put up 26 points in back-to-back games. He scored the only other game he’s scored over 26 in this series was Game 1.
In the two games following, he scored 11 and 18 points, respectively. I see Middleton leaning into his role as a facilitator in Game 6, thus keeping him under 25.5 points. -- Donnavan Smoot