Updated July 16, 5:15 p.m.
Feel free to call it a new series. The first four games to begin the 2021 NBA Finals have brought four completely different outcomes and showcases. As the series returns to Phoenix on Saturday night, all eyes are on the Suns as they attempt to control their home court advantage.
No team has lost at home through four games. While the average margin of victory in this series is 12 points per game, the Suns have scored 439 total points and the Bucks total 442 points in the series. The outcomes haven’t been tight but the series sure seems to be.
Chris Paul Under Pressure To Protect Home Court @Suns head coach Monty Williams says Chris Pauls Game 4 performance was just “a blip on the screen” and CP3 isn’t dwelling it.
#RallyTheValley https://t.co/JmhmsgQQow via @sports360az
— Claudia Faust (@claudianfaust) July 16, 2021
Milwaukee Bucks: +4.0 (-110) | Moneyline: +155
Phoenix Suns: -4.0 (-110) | Moneyline: -175
Needless to say, the Suns didn’t perform at a championship-caliber level in Games 3 and 4. The Bucks are on a roll following back-to-back victories to tie up the Finals and aim to bring that momentum back to Phoenix for Game 5. The home team has won every game thus far in the series and Las Vegas believes that trend will continue.
The sportsbooks set Game 5 with the tightest spread of the Finals so far. All five games have either had a 4.0, 4.5, or 5.0 point spread and no underdog has covered as of yet. Milwaukee is 33-34-1 against the spread as an underdog by at least 4.0 points. The Bucks lost Games 1 and 2 of the series on the road by an average of 11.5 points but swung momentum in their favor in the past two games. Milwaukee is 12-9 in the playoffs against the spread and 44-48-1 this season against the spread.
Instead of a chance to clinch their first NBA Championship at home, the Suns return to Phoenix with an even series and loss of momentum. The Suns’ 20-point loss in Game 3 and six-point loss in Game 4 brings them to 13-7 against the spread this postseason. Phoenix is still a respectable 55-36-1 against the spread over the course of the season and is 26-20 when at least a 4.0-point favorite.
High Stress: Social Media Reacts To Suns Game 4 Loss
Not a pretty game. Now it becomes best 2-of-3 w/ 2 games in Phoenix #RallyTheValley
— Jordan Spurgeon (@spurge_) July 15, 2021
218.0 total points (-110)
The Suns and Bucks scored 220 total points in Game 1, 221 total points in Game 2, 220 total points in Game 3, and 212 total points in Game 4. With an outlier finally introduced into the Finals, oddsmakers have dipped the over/under below their average mark for this series.
In the regular season, this duo combined for 249 points in regulation in their first meeting and 255 in overtime in their second game. It certainly shouldn’t be an expectation for this matchup to meet either of those marks without an overtime finish in these NBA Finals.
Games 1 and 2 in Phoenix hit the over. Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee hit the under. At this point, 218.0 total points turns into a craps shoot for the Game 5 over/under. Phoenix did a decent job minimizing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s scoring in Game 4 after back-to-back 40-point games but still couldn’t find a foothold in their own scoring ability.
Can Chris Paul meaningfully bounce back? Will Devin Booker blow up for another 40-point night? Can Giannis soar for another massive scoring game? Will P.J. Tucker or Mikal Bridges make a monumental difference on defense? Who else will step up and be a lead scorer? These are all questions you’ll ask yourself when deciding the Game 5 over/under.
From now on, the Phoenix Suns will be playing their home games at the Footprint Center. @EvanOscherwitz has the details on the Suns’ naming rights partnership with @planetfootprint and their plans to transform the arena.https://t.co/oJSaAAAdo3
— Sports360AZ (@Sports360AZ) July 16, 2021
Game 5 of the NBA Finals returns to Phoenix on Saturday, July 17. You can tune in on your local ABC channel beginning at 6:00 p.m. Arizona time.