Betting Bullets: Odds take big swing in Bucks favor after win at Phoenix

  • Joined ESPN in 2014
  • Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008

  • ESPN Sports Betting Analyst
  • Host of Daily Wager
  • Behind The Bets podcast host

After the home team won and covered each of the first four NBA Finals games, the Milwaukee Bucks won as four-point road underdogs in Game 5. The Bucks can now capture their first title in 50 years on Tuesday, when they host Game 6 as five-point favorites.

Following three straight wins, the Bucks are now -400 at Caesars William Hill. Those are the same odds for Giannis Antetokounmpo to be named Finals MVP. Jerry West is the lone player ever to be named Finals MVP on a losing team, which occurred when the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games in 1969.

Holding a 2-0 series lead, Phoenix was a -475 favorite to capture the franchise’s first championship. Additionally, Chris Paul was an odds-on -160 favorite to win the Finals MVP award.

Paul is now a +900 long shot to win Finals MVP. Devin Booker (+500) is the Suns player with the shortest odds. Phoenix is now +320 to win the championship, which would require a road upset and home win in consecutive games.

Betting bullets

• Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill has a prop bet on whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go 17-0 during the regular season. Yes is +2,500 and no is -7,500.

• The two college football teams that have attracted the most interest at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill are Auburn and Arizona State. Bettors were fading the Tigers and backing the Sun Devils. The price to bet the under on Auburn 7 has gone from +125 to -105. The price to bet the over on Arizona State 8.5 has gone from -110 to -125.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we were off on some of these win totals,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., said in a company release. “Usually there’s a pretty good formula for these: You’ve got 12 games, they went 10-2 last year, they’ve got this many starters returning, you look at their schedule — and you can pretty much make a number. But there’s not much to base off from last year, and so many more kids are coming back with the extra COVID year.”

• Odds to win the national championship via SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas:

Alabama +200
Clemson +450
Ohio State +500
Oklahoma +500
Georgia +1,000
Iowa State +3,000
Texas A&M +3,000
Texas +3,000
LSU +4,000
Notre Dame +5,000
USC +6,000
Penn State +6,000
Wisconsin +6,000
Florida +6,000
Oregon +6,000
North Carolina +8,000
Michigan +8,000

• Two Wimbledon matches are under investigation after irregular betting patterns were flagged by bookmakers, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said last week. The ITIA did not identify the matches in question and told ESPN that it was unable to provide any additional details while the investigation is ongoing.

“Unusual betting patterns can occur for many reasons other than match fixing,” a spokesperson for the ITIA said in an email to ESPN. “For example, incorrect odds-setting; well-informed betting; player fitness, fatigue or form; playing conditions and personal circumstances.”

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