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NBA Finals Game 3 Betting Line and Total Update

James Murphy
by in NBA on
  • Game 3 of the NBA Finals is set for Sunday, July 12 at 8:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific with TV coverage on ABC in the US..
  • Phoenix leads the series 2-0 as the series shifts to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks are a -4 point favorite in Game 3 with the total at 221.5 or 222.

The most important game of the season for the Milwaukee Bucks will go on Sunday night as they host the Phoenix Suns at the Fiserv Forum for Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Phoenix won Games 1 and 2 on their home court to take a 2-0 lead in the series as it shifts to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4. Milwaukee is in a must win position–a victory cuts the series deficit to a manageable 2-1 and gives the Bucks a chance to even it up on Wednesday night at home. If the Bucks lose, they go down 0-3 and as any amateur sports historian knows no NBA team has ever recovered from this deficit to win a best of 7 series.

Going down 3-0 in a best of seven series is a desperate spot in any sport. In the three North American sports that employ a best of seven format–the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) only 5 times in history has a team been able to recover from the 3-0 hole to come back and win a series. The ‘all sports’ record shows that the team leading 3-0 goes on to win the series 98.7% of the time with a record of 369-5. In the championship round it’s only happened once (64-1 98.5%). It’s happened once in Major League Baseball where the team leading 3-0 has a record of 38-1 (97.4%). It’s happened most frequently in hockey where NHL teams leading 3-0 are 191-4 all time for 97.9%. In the NBA, the team leading 3-0 is 140-0 to win the series including 14-0 in the Finals.


The Suns won and covered both games in Phoenix. They won Game 1 118-105 as a -5 point home chalk and took Game 2 118-108 as a -4.5 point favorite. Phoenix has been money in the bank for sports bettors this year as they’ve earned more on a unit basis than any team in the sport. The Suns are 65-25 SU year to date and 55-33-2 against the spread for 62.5% worth +18.7 units of profit. Interestingly, they don’t have the best winning percentage against the spread–that distinction currently belongs to the New York Knicks at 42-35 SU but 47-28-2 ATS for 62.7% and +16.2 units.

The Bucks, conversely, have been one of the worst pointspread teams in the NBA. They’re 58-33 SU but 42-49-0 against the number for 46.2% and a -11.9 unit loss. Their real weakness against the spread has been on the road where they’re 19-28 ATS for -11.8 units. At home, they’re close to break even going 23-21 ATS for 52.3% and -0.1 unit. Phoenix has been solidly profitable away from Arizona with the sixth best road pointspread mark in the NBA at 25-17-2 for 59.5% and +6.3 units.

Very little variety in the Game 3 pointspread where -4 is the number at virtually every sportsbook in Nevada, Colorado, New Jersey or offshore. FoxBet, Tipico (New Jersey), BetWildwood (Colorado) and PlayUp (Colorado) all have Milwaukee -4.5. The Don Best opener for the game was -4.5.

Phoenix is now 13-5 ATS in the playoffs and have had Milwaukee’s number in recent years. The Suns are 7-1 SU/ATS over the Bucks in the last three seasons including 2-1 SU/ATS in Milwaukee. Over the long term, Phoenix is on a 15-10 SU/16-8 ATS run against the Bucks dating back to 1996.


The total for Game 3 opened at 222 and has seen very little movement. Most sportsbooks are at 221.5 or 222 with a smattering at 22.5 including Stations (Las Vegas), South Point (Las Vegas), William Hill/Caesars, Wynn Las Vegas and the Golden Nugget Las Vegas. Note that the WynnBET mobile app outside of Nevada has the game at 222–they use lines from their European partner BetBull.

Phoenix has split Overs/Unders during the playoffs (9 UN 9 OV) while the Bucks have gone UN in 10 of their 18 playoff games. Milwaukee has gone UN in 5 of their last 6 spots when trailing in a playoff series. Phoenix is OV in 22 of 32 non-conference games this season. The last 5 head to head in the series have gone OV as well as 6 of the last 8.


Moneyline for Game 3 ranges from Milwaukee -175 to -185 with takeback on Phoenix in a range between +145 and +160. A few outliers–South Point Las Vegas has Milwaukee -190/Phoenix +170 while TwinSpires has Milwaukee -196/Phoenix +150.


The series price has Phoenix as a favorite in the -450 to -500 range with takeback on the Bucks at +350 to +400.

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