The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns will meet in a critical Game 5 matchup of the NBA Finals this evening. After taking an early 2-0 series lead, the Suns faltered on the road as Milwaukee stars Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo brought the Bucks back to life. Now back at home, Chris Paul and the Suns will look to keep the home team undefeated in this series.
After of a pivotal Game 5 matchup of the NBA Finals, we’ve identified what we feel is the best Bucks vs. Suns player prop bet.
Bucks vs. Suns Player Prop Bet Pick (Game 5)
Chris Paul Over 8.5 Assists (DraftKings Sportsbook -120)
When the Bucks went down 0-2 in the NBA Finals, Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer made a critical adjustment that helped change the landscape of this series. Jrue Holiday began picking up Chris Paul full court. The constant pressure from one of the best one-on-one defenders in the league slowed down the Suns point guard in the Games 3 and 4 losses.
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It’s no coincidence that the Bucks tied the series with two home wins at the same time the future Hall of Fame guard was held to just 14.5 points, two rebounds, and eight assists per game, to go with 4.5 turnovers per game.
Paul shoulders much of the blame for the two losses and it is clear the Suns generally goes as he goes. His stat lines in the last two games of this series are hardly indicative of the 18.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 8.6 assists, and just 2.2 turnovers per game he has averaged in the NBA Playoffs.
Paul’s shot attempts also dipped to 14 and 13 in Games 3 and 4, respectively, the first two times this postseason that he put up less than 19 shots since Game 3 of the Denver series.
That shot total should rise again tonight, but we also believe a more aggressive offensive approach from Paul should free up enough passing lanes for him to also eclipse this prop’s assist number.
Big Players Make Big Plays
Tonight is a series-changing game for Phoenix and Paul has been consistently putting up solid assist numbers in the biggest spots this postseason. He posted 9 and 12 assists in Games 4 and 6 of the Lakers series. He also dished out 26 total assists in the first two games against Denver, another eight in the closeout game against the Clippers, and nine and eight in the Games 1 and 2 victories over the Bucks.
Paul has tallied at least seven helpers in each of his last 13 playoff games, including six efforts that eclipsed this prop’s total. His postseason productivity came on the heels of 41 of 70 regular season games in which he posted nine or more assists (58.6%), despite Paul playing nearly six less minutes per game than he has averaged in this series.
With that in mind, it’s worth pointing out the six other regular season games where Paul dropped exactly eight dimes in games where he played less minutes than his average during this series. If you believe one more assist would have been likely in six more minutes of action in those games, then he would have cashed this prop 67.1% of the time during the regular season.
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Paul will be surrounded by shooters, as Cam Johnson has dominated bench minutes for the Suns, joining Devin Booker, Jae Crowder, and Mikal Bridges as dangerous outside threats. Phoenix will surely get off more than their 78 Game 4 shot attempts tonight, too, meaning more chances for Paul to top this assist total.
That 78 number was the lowest the Suns had attempted since Game 6 against the Lakers and they have not shot that few in Phoenix since Game 2 of that first round series.
There is little reason to believe he won’t walk away from tonight, the most important game of their season, with nine or more dimes.
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