Mar 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
The Bucks are a 6.5-point favorite over the Suns on Sunday, March 6
The Suns will be without Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Cam Johnson
Read below for analysis and a betting prediction
The Milwaukee Bucks (39-25) are a 6.5-point home favorite against the Phoenix Suns at 1:30pm ET Sunday on ABC. The Suns won the first game in the rematch of the 2021 NBA Finalists 131-107 on Feb. 10 in Arizona.
The Suns (51-12) have the league’s best record and are 3-2 straight up and ATS without point guard Chris Paul, who is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with a fractured right thumb.
Suns vs Bucks Odds
Odds from BetMGM on March 5
The Bucks are a 6.5-point favorite over the Suns, and the total has not been set. The Bucks are -275 on the moneyline, meaning they have a 73.3% implied win probability. The Suns are +220 on the moneyline, which translates into a 31.3% implied win probability.
Suns’ Johnson Out vs Bucks
Suns reserve forward Cameron Johnson will not have an immediate chance to build on the career-high 38 points and nine 3-pointers he put up against New York.
Johnson has been ruled out of the game after suffering a right quadriceps contusion, likely the results of a back-and-forth against the Knicks’ forward Julius Randle in the Suns’ 115-114 home victory Friday. Johnson went to the locker room after taking a hard hit from Randle in the first quarter.
Johnson’s banked 30-footer at the buzzer provided the finishing touch on an eventful game. Randle bumped Johnson around several times on moves near the hoop, and when Johnson responded with a bump of his own in the third quarter, the two were given technical fouls. Randle was ejected because it was his second tech.
With three rotation members missing Sunday, the Suns will need more minutes from reserve point Aaron Holiday if they go smaller or reserve forward Torrey Craig if they continue to utilize a three-forward group. Cam Payne has played two games since missing 16 with a wrist injury.
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Bucks’ Betting Outlook
The Suns had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA Finals, when he averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and five assists per game. He had 34 points and 16 rebounds the last time out, a 118-12 victory in Chicago on Friday. He’s currently third in the 2022 NBA MVP odds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo 🆚 Bulls:
🦌 34 sayı
👀 5 asist
🖐️ 2 top çalma
🚫 1 blok
☄️ 12/22 saha içi isabeti
💣 10/19 serbest atış isabetipic.twitter.com/tgMIOnmW5t
— Do Deka (@dodekabasket) March 5, 2022
Antetokounmpo had 50 points in clinching Game 6 and scoring 42 in Game 2 (the last game the Bucks lost) and 41 in Game 3. Neither center Deandre Ayton nor any of the Suns’ smaller forwards were able to match him physically.
Dario Saric bodied up Antetokounmpo in Game, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in that game.
Giannis did not have the same impact in the 131-107 loss to Phoenix three weeks ago. when had 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He was 5-of-14 from the field and 8-of-14 from the free throw line while playing only 30 minutes as the game got away from the Bucks.
Deandre Ayton’s first 3 games without Chris Paul only 11 of his 33 attempts were in the restricted area. In Cam Payne’s first game back Ayton had 7 attempts in the restricted area. Point guards help big men.
— Mike Vigil (@protectedpick) March 3, 2022
Ayton had his most efficient game of the season in the first meeting, with 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting. Chris Paul had 19 assists and Booker had 17 points as the Suns shot 56.7%. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday (Aaron’s older brother) had 21 apiece.
Suns vs Bucks Head-to-Head Results
The Suns have won and covered the last four regular-season games between the two, including the 131-107 victory as a 3-point favorite three weeks ago in Phoenix. They also have won six and covered six of the last seven in the regular season.
The 2021 NBA championship was just as cut-and-dried. The Suns won and covered the first two games in Phoenix and the Bucks won and covered the final four, three at home and Game 5 in Phoenix. The home team was favored by between four and five points in every game of the Finals.
The Bucks are 4-2 straight up and 2-4 ATS in the last six in Milwaukee. In the last 11 meetings including the playoffs, the total is 8-2-1 over. including the last two regular-season games in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee is 8-4 straight up and 6-6 ATS in its last 12. The Bucks were 3-3 straight up, 1-5 ATS in a six-game homestand that ended with a 120-119 win-and-not-cover against Miami on Wednesday before beating Chicago on the road Friday.
The Bucks are 12-22 ATS at home and the Suns are 18-10 ATS on the road.
Suns Succeed Despite Injuries
The Suns beat Portland and New York in their last two games without All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker, who missed the games while in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will not play Sunday.
Jrue Holiday wins it at the death for Milwaukee, as the Bucks pull off a stunning 21-6 run to close the game. pic.twitter.com/Jju9qVrEcG
— Armando Wobacot (@WorldWideWob) March 3, 2022
Landry Shamet started both games for Booker, scoring 18 points in 51 minutes, but the Suns also made extensive use of a lineup that had Payne at the point in place of Paul (Payne will get starter’s minutes while Paul is out) and forwards Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson on the floor, with Johnson coming off the bench.
They’re tied with Golden State with the top odds to win the Western Conference.
Suns vs Bucks Prediction
The Suns are depleted, while the Bucks are out for revenge. As good as the Suns have been this season — and they were the first (and only) team to 50 victories — this is as big a payback spot as it gets. The Bucks will even the season series here.
The pick: Bucks -6.5 (-110)