NBA Finals Game 2 Betting Guide, Sponsored by Taco Bell
Betting on the NBA can get a little overwhelming throughout the season because there are games every day, and there's just a lot to track throughout the season and entering every night -- spreads, over/unders, injuries, and so on.
But you can rely on numberFire to help. We have a detailed betting algorithm that projects out games to see how often certain betting lines hit, and our oddsFire section of the site allows you to track movement in those lines and see where the action is coming from on particular games.
Milwaukee Bucks (+190) at Phoenix Suns (-230)
Spread: Phoenix Suns -5.5
Before we break down Game 2, you should know that FanDuel is teaming up with Taco Bell for an exciting NBA Finals Comeback bonus opportunity.
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Entering the opening game of this series, an eventual 118-105 win for the Suns, the home side -- Phoenix -- closed with -215 odds on their moneyline and a 5.0-point spread in their favor.
That's just about what we get tonight, and the total (219.5 for Game 1) is up just half a point, as well. So, all in all, it's about the same situation we saw by tip-off for Game 1 on Tuesday.
Where the Suns got their edge was with fewer turnovers (8.3% to 12.0%) and a much more fruitful outing at the free throw line (.284 free throws made per field goal attempt compared to .102 for Milwaukee).
In total, the Suns got to the line 26 times and made all but one of them. The Bucks mustered 10 fewer free throw attempts and shot 9 for 16 from the charity stripe.
One could potentially argue that the Suns were simply more aggressive with the shot volume, but one might also be wrong. I think it was a lot of home cooking.
True to form, the Bucks took 41 shots from the restricted area and paint compared to 34 for the Suns. During the playoffs, the Bucks have averaged more restricted-area attempts (25.9 to 21.6) and barely more in-paint-out-of-restricted-area attempts (16.1 to 15.9).
The Bucks were also credited with more drives (43 to 36) but drew a foul on only 9.3% of their drives compared to 13.9% for the Suns.
So, perhaps the foul calls correct a bit and the attempts even out. I'm not saying the Bucks will make a higher rate (their postseason free throw percentage is only 70.6%, and the Suns lead at 87.0%). I'm just focusing on the volume of foul calls and free throw attempts.
Overall, our model at numberFire sees some value in this game -- nothing drastic, but something nonetheless.
Let's start with the spread.
Our algorithm gives the Bucks a 57.5% probability to cover, which earns it a two-star recommendation out of five with an expected return on investment of 9.8%.
Though the betting public loves the Suns (82% of the bets are on the Suns to cover), that comes with "just" 65% of the money. That leaves 35% of the money stemming from just 18% of tickets placed thus far, which could be a signal that heavy bettors in the minority like the Bucks to keep Game 2 close.
We see the inverse discrepancy with the moneyline, though. The Suns are getting a nice 69% of the tickets to win outright, yet that's tied to 86% of the money.
numberFire's algorithm does see the Suns as more likely to win (62.0%). However, that's not enough to like their moneyline. For that reason, it's actually the Bucks' moneyline that is receiving a slight, one-star lean from our model.
Now to the over/under.
Game 1 totaled 223 points, hitting the over by 3.5 points. Through three games in the season series, all three games have hit the over (by 20, 23, and 3.5 points).
The majority of bets (58%) and money (57%) are on the over, and numberFire's model likes the over in two-star fashion, ultimately seeing the over as 61.7% likely occur -- leading to an expected return of 17.8%.
All of this, then, gives us a consensus on the over primarily, so we can start our betting cards there.
But it's looking like the Bucks to cover and the Suns to win outright are the ways to play the spread and moneyline, respectively.