Sportsbooks have installed the Phoenix Suns as favorites over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals.
The Suns opened at -175 on William Hill’s Caesars Sportsbook, with the Bucks listed as +150 losers. Phoenix is a 5.5-point favorite over Milwaukee in Game 1 on Tuesday.
The Game 1 line and series price reflect bettors’ belief that Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo will likely miss at least part of the best-of-seven series.
Antetokounmpo missed the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks after hyperextending his left knee late in Game 4. His Finals status against the Suns is unclear.
Last week, before Antetokounmpo’s injury and with the Bucks and Suns leading their series, the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas posted a series price early on a possible showdown between Milwaukee and Phoenix in the final. The SuperBook opened the Bucks as a -150 favorite over the Suns.
A week later, with Antetokounmpo injured, the odds have turned and Phoenix is now the favorite.
Initial action was on the Suns on the SuperBook, which opened with Phoenix at -150.
Jeff Sherman, who oversees the NBA odds for the SuperBook, said they took multiple limit bets on the Suns to win the series Saturday night, prompting him to move the price to -170.
Sherman expects Antetokounmpo to miss at least the start of the NBA Finals and believes how quickly he returns will depend on the outcome of the first few games.
“The Bucks would have been the favorites if there had been no injury to Giannis,” Sherman told ESPN.
The Suns won both meetings against Milwaukee during the regular season, in a pair of victories adjusted by one point. (ESPN)