The Milwaukee Bucks are in an unfamiliar position Tuesday night on the road against the Phoenix Suns, their 2021 NBA Finals foe.
For just the fourth time all season, the Bucks have been installed as an underdog against a Suns team that's in good health and is starting to hit its stride. Milwaukee cannot say the same; Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) is probable, and Damian Lillard (ankle), Khris Middleton (knee) and Brook Lopez (personal) are all questionable.
Tuesday's trip to Phoenix is the last leg of a five-game road trip for the Bucks (33–17), who are just 12–12 as the away team after Sunday's loss to the Utah Jazz. The Suns (29–21) are the rare team with a better record on the road than at home, though Tuesday's game at Footprint Center will be their first home game in over two weeks after playing seven straight on the road.
This is the first of two meetings this season between Milwaukee and Phoenix. The Bucks are 3–1 against the Suns in the regular season since they beat them to win the championship three years ago.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns Odds
Best Bet: Suns -3.5 (-110)
Bold Prediction: Giannis Antetokounmpo Records 10+ Assists
Milwaukee is 1–3 since Doc Rivers took over at the start of this road trip. The offense has struggled during that stretch, averaging nearly nine fewer points per game than its second-ranked season average, and the defense has yet to show any signs of improvement. It took 48 points from Antetokounmpo and 30 more out of Lillard to get past Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks 129–117 on Saturday. Without Lopez or Middleton the next day, the Bucks lost 123–108 to the Jazz despite Antetokounmpo's 33-point, 13-assist effort.
Phoenix is no monster on defense, either, but it is one of the few teams capable of keeping up with Milwaukee on offense. Case in point: Bradley Beal went for 43 points in a 140–112 blowout against the Washington Wizards, his former team, as Kevin Durant and Devin Booker combined for 32 on Sunday. In the Suns' last 10 games, each member of its Big 3 has a 40-point game to their name. Accordingly, they are 7–3 and have the No. 2 offense in the NBA during that stretch.
Only two teams have been worse against the spread this season than Phoenix (19–29–2) and Milwaukee (19–30–1): the Charlotte Hornets (17–32) and Atlanta Hawks (14–36). One is a lottery team and the other is on the fringe of a play-in spot and has been historically bad to bet on.
The Suns and Bucks are also both bad in their respective positions as the former is 13–22–2 as a favorite and the latter is 1–3 as an underdog. Even still, Phoenix not only has home court but also good health on its side. With these teams relatively evenly matched, that's the deciding factor in this nationally televised bout as the Suns are well-positioned to weather Antetokounmpo's offensive onslaught.
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