The NBA is now three games into the 2021 Finals series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, which means it's a good time to reevaluate our initial predictions. Phoenix enters Game 3 on Wednesday, July 14, with a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven set, but Milwaukee is working off a big victory in Game 3. The question we're here to answer, "Suns or Bucks?," will be done using updated 2021 NBA Finals betting odds and picks.
Here's a quick look at the most recent series prices, courtesy of BetOnline:
|Milwaukee Bucks||-400||+320||Phoenix Suns|
Like always, you'll want to double-check these NBA Finals betting odds before the opening tip of Game 3 and as the series wears on. The lines will move at BetOnline and the rest of the top online sportsbooks.
Who Will Win 2021 NBA Finals?
Prior to digging into our latest NBA Finals picks, we'll first take a stab at predicting Game 3. We will then move on to naming our 2021 NBA champion. And from there, we'll close with a look at the updated odds for the 2021 NBA Finals MVP.
NBA Finals Game 3 Odds: Bucks (-183) vs. Suns (+163)
Oh, how the tables have turned.
After jumping out to a 2-0 series lead, the Suns seemingly had all the momentum. But then the Bucks came out in Game 3 with a vengeance, getting another all-time performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo and, at long last, a great outing from Jrue Holiday. They won by 20 and, in doing so, sent a message: They're not going down without a fight.
Oddsmakers are probably smart to side with them in Game 4, as well. Not only are the Bucks playing at home, but they hinted at edging out the Suns even before picking up their first victory.
Look at the scoreboard for Games 1 and 2, and you'll think they weren't all that close. But Milwaukee was actually within single digits during the fourth quarter of Game 1, and Game 2 didn't get out of reach until later. That's with both Holiday and Khris Middleton playing poorly. They showed what they can do in Game 3 when everyone's on point by winning the battle both inside the paint and from beyond the arc.
Given how much the Suns have struggled to contain Giannis in this series, it's fair to assume the Bucks have achieved a breakthrough. They are our pick for Game 4.
OSB Game 3 Prediction: Bucks (-183)
NBA Finals Series Prediction: Suns (-255) vs. Bucks (+215)
Our initial selection for the series was the Suns. And those sentiments haven't changed.
Indeed, the relatively close call in Game 1 is something to consider, as was their 20-point Game 3 loss. The Bucks defense was—and has been—frenetic. They forced the ball out of Chris Paul's hands and made life hell on Devin Booker, who didn't even play during the fourth quarter.
That said, the latter is almost encouraging. Booker was 3-of-14 from the floor and 1-of-7 from three-point land in Game 3. That isn't going to happen again. He will be better.
And despite the Bucks' best efforts, they were unable to slow Paul. In the event they do get the ball out of his hands, the supporting cast has shown they will step up. Mikal Bridges went off for 27 points in Game 2, and Jae Crowder nailed six of his seven three-point attempts in Game 3.
Stopping Gianni's profiles as the Suns' biggest problem. We believe they'll get there—or at least be able to slow him down. Deandre Ayton has proved capable when he's not in foul trouble, and Crowder has shown he can rumble with Giannis in the past. This series might be fated to the distance, but it still feels like Phoenix's to lose.
OSB Series Prediction: Suns (-255)
NBA Finals MVP Prediction
Take a look at the most recent odds for who will win Finals MVP:
|NBA Finals MVP|
Before the start of the Finals, Devin Booker was our pick to win Finals MVP. Historically speaking, it's probably time to shift.
Most Finals MVPs have two things in common: They have almost always come from the winning side, and they've played well in every single game. Booker laid an egg in Game 3, and the Bucks' defense is now more tailored to stopping Paul; they've moved their best defender (Holiday) from Booker onto Paul.
If you're into taking a larger risk, Booker at +1000 is a very good value. Who knows, he could average 40 points per game the rest of the way. From where we're standing, though, Paul's -275 isn't going to get any friendlier for bettors. He's averaging roughly 25 points and nine assists while splashing in 50 percent of his threes for the series. If the Suns win it all, he'll be most responsible.
For anyone who wants to invest in a Bucks player, you're in luck: It's a non-decision. Giannis at +215 is not just your best bet. It's your only bet.
OSB NBA Finals MVP Prediction: Chris Paul (-275)
Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your NBA betting: