Well, we officially have an NBA Finals. After two convincing Phoenix wins, Milwaukee held serve Sunday night to give itself a chance to even the series Wednesday night. The NBA is spacing (dragging) these games out, with two days off between games, giving us a rare Saturday Finals game. While it’s certainly strange to have the NBA Finals and the MLB All-Star break intersect, it gives us time as bettors to catch our breath and spend more time with our family. I’m kidding — it really just gives us more time to prepare for football. The NFL preseason is just weeks away, and college football is right around the corner. Without further ado, let’s find some winners ...
Game 4: Bucks -4 over Suns
Game 4 is typically when a series identifies itself. The team that leads the series can take a commanding 3-1 lead and essentially deliver the knockout punch. A win by the team that’s ahead 2-1 usually means a shorter, less competitive series. But if the team that trails 2–1 can tie the series, buckle up, there’s a good chance we’re headed for seven. I haven’t seen anything from the Suns that leads me to believe they will break serve Wednesday in Game 4, as this series looks like it could well be dominated by the home teams. These teams seem very evenly matched, and who wins is extremely dependent on the role players, who will typically play much better in a friendly venue and with the encouragement of the home crowd. I picked Phoenix to win the series, but the loss of Dario Saric and the lack of a capable backup make it difficult for Phoenix to sub out Deandre Ayton. Giannis Antetokounmpo has not only looked healthy, he is putting together a historic Finals, and I’m not sure Phoenix has a solution for his dominance. I like Milwaukee to continue the trend of this series, in which the home team has won every game by double digits. Bucks even it up.
Suns in 7 + 260
Copy and paste much of my Game 4 analysis and I think this series will be 2-2, so ultimately we will see these teams trade punches until a seventh and deciding game. The teams are quite evenly matched, and the home crowds are so loud and enthusiastic that they truly impact the game. Neither fan base has seen its team in a Finals in decades, so naturally the buildings are loud and frenzied, and I think it’s very likely each team holds serve in its own arena until Game 7. At + 260, you can then buy back on Milwaukee in Game 7, which would be getting points, and have the chance to clear a profit while also having an opportunity for a middle. After not having fans for last year’s playoffs, it is great to have them back, and in this series their presence is making winning on the road very difficult.
Sam Burns (+ 10000) to win British Open
Shocked to see this big a number, and I will certainly be looking to play Burns in other markets such as top 10, top 20 and some head-to-head matchups. Burns won the Valspar Championship in May, then finished second in his next tournament, the Byron Nelson. He also has a third-place finish on the tour this year, and although admittedly erratic, he simply has too much talent to be priced at this number. The last two times Royal St. George’s hosted the British Open were in 2003 and 2011, when monster long-shot tickets cashed with Ben Curtis and Darren Clarke winning. Burns has the ability to stick around and even hoist the trophy Sunday night. At 100-1, he is a good value bet.