NBA Finals Game 2 Betting Parlay: How to Bet Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez in Bucks vs. Suns (July 8)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Brook Lopez.
- Phoenix hosts Milwaukee on Thurday for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on ABC.
- The Suns won a fairly convincing Game 1, as Chris Paul scored 32 points.
- Roberto Arguello has found his favorite parlay for the Game 2, however, involving a pair of Bucks players that will be crucial for a Milwaukee win.
|Moneyline||+176 / -210|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via FanDuel|
Despite uncertainty entering Game 1, Giannis Antetokounmpo played for the Bucks, but his return wasn’t enough as the Suns came out on top 118-105.
Chris Paul stole the show with 32 points and nine assists as the Suns led the entire second half by at least seven points.
Antetokounmpo played 35 minutes but only took 11 shots as he finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds. He claimed his knee was healthy, and he backed that up with an incredible chase-down block.
With Antetokounmpo and the Bucks looking to even the series, here’s a two-leg Single Game Parlay from FanDuel at +216 that I will be playing.
Jrue Holiday Under 19.5 Points -124
This point total is simply too high for Holiday. In 16 playoff games where both he and Antetokounmpo have started, his point total has gone under this number. After scoring just 10 points on four-of-14 from the field, I was surprised to see his point total this high.
This feels like a number that is adjusted too high because of recency bias. Holiday balled out, as he scored 25 points and 27 points in the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals. He took at least 20 shots in both of those games, but he has only taken 20 or more shots in three of the 16 games in which Antetokounmpo has played.
At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Holiday is sturdily built for a point guard, and he utilized his strength to overpower thinner Hawks guards to get to the basket consistently to close them out. With Antetokounmpo out, there was much more spacing than normal for him to get to the rim consistently while also shooting a higher volume of shots than usual.
Holiday shot a career-high 39.2% on 3s in the regular season, but he has regressed to the mean in the postseason, as he has made just 28.8% of 3s. Overall, he is a career 35.8% 3-point shooter in the regular season and a 34.0% shooter from distance in the postseason.
While I do expect him to improve from beyond the arc after missing all four of his 3s in Game 1, I am comfortable playing this under as he isn’t an elite shooter and won’t have the volume to get to 20 points unless he scores with significantly above-average efficiency.
I’ll play this under at 19.5 points down to -145 or at the price of -130 down to 18.
Brook Lopez Over 12.5 Points -126
Brook Lopez has averaged 30.2 minutes per game this postseason, but he only played 23 minutes in Game 1. Going into Game 1, his point total was set at 15.5 points, but it has dropped down to 12.5 heading into Game 2 because he played fewer minutes than expected.
Despite less playing time, he was efficient offensively as he connected on seven-of-14 shots (including three-of-five on 3s) for 17 points. The Bucks switched more frequently defensively than usual, and this meant that coach Mike Budenholzer decided to play Lopez, the anchor of the Bucks’ drop defense, fewer minutes in favor of other players after the Suns targeted him on switches.
Game 1 breakdown by player when the Bucks switched & when Lopez was in Drop: pic.twitter.com/cbD1hv0kro
— Half Court Hoops (@HalfCourtHoops) July 7, 2021
The Suns attempted 21 shots when Lopez was the primary defender in a switching scheme, and they scored 31 points (a wildly efficient 1.48 points per possession). Overall, the Suns scored 1.30 points per possession (57 points on 44 possessions) when the Bucks switched, but they scored just 1.14 points per possession (eight points on seven possessions) when the Bucks played a drop.
Consequently, I expect the Bucks to play a drop more frequently in Game 2 (with Lopez playing higher than normal to prevent Chris Paul and Devin Booker from stepping into comfortable midrange jumpers). This will not only maximize their chances of success defensively, but it will also keep Lopez, who has consistently been their third-best player this postseason, on the court.
If the Bucks had Donte DiVincenzo available, I think they could afford to keep Lopez on the bench and switch more frequently, but replacing him with someone like Pat Connaughton, Bryn Forbes, or Bobby Portis is a net loss for the Bucks overall. All three of these bench players were inefficient defensively as Paul and Booker took advantage of them, and Lopez is more consistent than any of them offensively.
Lopez is well-positioned to score against the Suns’ switch-heavy defense as he can punish mismatches inside on post-ups and on the offensive glass. Splash Mountain also can step out and make threes to take advantage of the Suns over-helping on drivers like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday.
I also love the idea of Lopez getting a few easy points when Deandre Ayton is off the court as the Suns’ biggest weakness entering this series was their backup center position. With Dario Saric tearing his ACL in Game 1, the Suns will play some combination of Torrey Craig, Jae Crowder, or Frank Kaminsky as the backup center. Lopez should utilize his size advantage against any of these three to score efficiently if he gets the opportunity.
With more minutes in Game 2, I love the value of him scoring 12.5 points again on Thursday at -126 with value down to -145.