On the heels of a long-yet-truncated regular season and a playoff bracket ravaged by injuries and various other obstacles, the NBA has reached the pinnacle of its sports programming: The NBA Finals. This year's showdown will take place between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, and it promises to be a doozy—assuming everyone is healthy.
Regardless, we have 2021 NBA Finals betting odds and predictions hot out of the oven for you to consume, and we're covering everything from our Finals pick to our Finals MVP forecast. Let's begin with the NBA Finals series betting odds, courtesy of BetOnline:
|Milwaukee Bucks||-400||+320||Phoenix Suns|
Be sure to double-check these NBA Finals betting odds before deciding on a wager. They won't move much prior to the opening tip on July 6, but they will shift at the top online sportsbooks throughout the rest of the series.
2021 NBA Finals Betting Breakdown
Our NBA Finals preview will start with an analysis of the matchup between Phoenix and Milwaukee and include our official prediction. From there, we'll deliver our pick for Finals MVP.
Phoenix Suns (-190) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (+165)
It should come as no real surprise the Suns are favored to open the Finals. They not only posted the league's second-best record during the regular season but Milwaukee isn't expected to have Giannis Antetokounmpo to start the series. He has missed the past two contests with a left knee injury and is currently listed as doubtful entering Game 1.
Without Giannis, a two-time MVP and one of the league's five best players, the Bucks don't have a real path to beating the Suns four times in seven tries. Phoenix ranks first in points allowed per 100 possessions and is uniquely built to gum up transition-heavy offenses like that of Milwaukee. And while the Suns' two best players, Chris Paul and Devin Booker, are on the smaller side, the team has length and size elsewhere in Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and Torrey Craig. Milwaukee won't have trouble tussling with Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton, Milwaukee's two other stars—especially if Giannis isn't a factor.
Still, things get interesting if Giannis is able to return by Game 2 or 3. His presence on the defensive end changes everything; he's a dominant helper, and he can anchor units as a small-ball center of sorts. The Bucks have annihilated opponents whenever he's on the floor without a traditional big in the postseason.
What's more, Booker has struggled on offense since breaking his nose midway through the Western Conference Finals. Prior to that incident, he posted a 61 true shooting percentage (a combined measure of two-point, three-point, and free-throw efficiency). Since the injury, his true shooting has plunged down to 46.
That becomes a bigger problem in close games. Paul is typically the go-to option down the stretch, but he's also age 36. He may not have the same gusto if the Bucks force him into a situation in which he must play 40-plus minutes in a given night. Milwaukee themselves, on the other hand, has more players currently accustomed to racking up that much floor time.
Ultimately, the Suns are the deeper, more versatile team. At the moment, they're also healthier. Without knowing the fate of Antetokounmpo, it's tough to expect the Bucks to win more than two games in this series—for now.
OSB Prediction: Phoenix Suns (-190)
NBA Finals 2021 MVP Pick
Here are the latest betting odds for who will win Finals MVP:
|NBA Finals MVP|
You'll notice the two top options listed, Devin Booker (+230) and Chris Paul (+13) come from the favored team. That's not an accident. There has only been one Finals MVP to come from a losing team throughout NBA history—and it was Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers all way the back in 1969. Since then, each Finals MVP has been awarded to someone from the winning side.
If you think the Suns are going to win it all, like we do, it makes sense to roll with one of their players. Paul is obviously attractive given how well he's played when healthy during the postseason. He also has the narrative on his side. This is his first-ever Finals appearance at age 36, and it comes with a Suns team that wasn't very good before he arrived last summer. The media already inflated his MVP and All-NBA candidacy on the merits of his leadership. The same could happen here.
And yet, we're going with the slightly longer shot in Booker. He is, to us, the Suns' most important player. He always draws the other team's toughest perimeter defender and, for the most part, sees more double-teams. He also projects to carry a heavier defensive workload in this series, and we remain of the mind that his offensive performance will improve a great deal as his broken nose becomes less of an issue.
OSB Finals MVP Prediction: Devin Booker (+230)
Check out this list of the best online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NBA betting: