It’s easier in the NBA than any other sport to repeat as a champion because one superstar makes a bigger difference in basketball than Major League Baseball, the NHL or NFL. With that said, now might be the time to back the Milwaukee Bucks to repeat at +690 on the NBA odds because their odds will only shrink if they keep winning.
NBA 2021 Championship Analysis
Milwaukee enters Wednesday’s game at struggling Miami having won 10 of 11 and begin a four-game road trip a season-high seven games over .500 at 16-9. During this stretch, the Bucks are holding their opponents to just over 100 points per game on 40% shooting from the field and 32% shooting from three.
On Monday on his 27th birthday, superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points in 27 minutes to lead the Bucks over the Cavs. Antetokounmpo also grabbed 12 rebounds for his league-leading 10th game of the season with 25+ points and 10+ rebounds.
Giannis is the only player in NBA history to tally at least 12,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 2,000 assists before turning 27. The two-time NBA MVP is third in the NBA in scoring (27.6 ppg) and 6th in rebounding (11.8 rpg). Antetokounmpo (802) is also just three blocks away from passing Alton Lister (804) for the most blocks in franchise history.
With center Brook Lopez out injured, Bobby Portis has really stepped up his game. In Monday’s win, Portis matched his career high of 16 rebounds. Portis Jr., who is averaging a career-high 15.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this season, already has nine double-doubles this season after having 12 all of last season. July 8 was the last time the trio of the Bucks’ Big 3 of Giannis, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton lost an NBA game.
The Brooklyn Nets remain +236 title favorites. The Nets are a perfect 10-0 against opponents with sub-.500 records but 0-5 in the five games they have played against the top two teams in the West (Suns, Warriors) and the other two teams in the top three of the Eastern Conference (Bucks, Bulls).
Brooklyn is 7-0 this season when holding its opponent under 100 points. The Nets have won 24 straight games (last loss: 94-82 on 12/26/19 vs. New York) when holding their opponent under 100 points (11-0 last season). The Nets are 8-2 in “clutch” games this season (games within five points in the last five minutes), tied for the third-best record in the league with Memphis, trailing only Washington (11-1) and Phoenix (10-1) in such games.
Golden State and Phoenix have the NBA’s best records at 20-4 and have split two meetings this season. The Warriors are +530 to win the NBA title and Suns +860. Since the week of Halloween, the Suns have lost just once (to the Warriors), compiling a 19-1 record in their past 20 contests. Devin Booker strained his left hamstring in Phoenix’s first matchup vs. Golden State and has missed each of his team’s past three games. The Suns rank first in the league in net rating in the “clutch” this season (53.8), 10.3 points higher than second place.
The Warriors are the only team in the NBA this season that has not allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent-or-better from the field. Dating back to last season, Golden State has a streak of 26 consecutive games without allowing an opponent to shoot 50 percent from the field, the eighth-longest such streak in franchise history. The Warriors are ranked first in defensive rating (99.8) and ranked third in offensive rating (112.8), trailing only Utah (116.2) and Atlanta (113.2).
Phoenix and Golden State have two more regular-season meetings, on Christmas in the desert and March 30 in San Francisco.
Expert NBA Finals Pick
- Warriors over Bucks