NBA Finals predictions – First basket best bets for Bucks vs. Suns Game 5: Antetokounmpo to acclimate right away

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives to the basket against the Phoenix Suns during game two of the 2021 NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena.
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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Well, it’s game on now. The Phoenix Suns took the first two games of the NBA Finals at home, but the Milwaukee Bucks also held serve and now things shift back to Phoenix tied 2-2. Following two more days off, Game 5 will take place on Saturday in the desert. Is the home team in line for yet another victory, or will the Bucks win on the road and have a chance to clinch next week in Milwaukee?

For now, we are worried only about a question that will be answered in much swifter fashion. Let’s take a look at our best first-basket bets for Game 5 on Saturday.

Best bet: Giannis Antetokounmpo +430

Longshot: Chris Paul +1000

Here is a breakdown of the two prop plays.

First basket best bet: Giannis Antetokounmpo +430

Although +430 odds may not seem great in the department of first basket betting, when it comes to Antetokounmpo this is actually good value. This is the Greek Freak we are talking about here, and he is basically getting any shot he wants against the Suns — just as he did when he was healthy during the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks.

Antetokounmpo delivered back-to-back 40-point performances in Game 2 and Game 3 and he scored 26 points in Wednesday’s 109-103 victory even though Khris Middleton attempted 33 shots. There is a good chance the Bucks grab first possession on Saturday, too. Brook Lopez lost the opening jump ball to Deandre Ayton in Game 4, but he had won it on the previous three occasions. If Milwaukee gets the ball first, look for Antetokounmpo to get involved right away and reassert his dominance in the paint.

Check out our full game preview for Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns

First basket longshot: Chris Paul +1000

Obviously having possession of the ball doesn’t automatically mean points will be scored, so it’s not like everyone on Phoenix can be discounted even if Milwaukee takes the tipoff. Of course, it’s not like Ayton has no chance of giving his team the ball first; he just did it on Wednesday, after all. Paul endured an uncharacteristically poor outing in Game 4, so he will be eager to get back on track in Game 5. It’s clear the Suns need him to be at his best if they want to win the title. Playing in front of the home fans again, it would not be surprising to see head coach Monty Williams’ squad get off to a fast start. I like the Antetokounmpo play the most, but Paul at +1000 is enticing.

Check out our same game parlay for Game 5 of Bucks vs. Suns (+1190 odds!)

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