Complete Phoenix Suns NBA Finals Betting & Odds History
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The NBA betting history of the Phoenix Suns reaching the NBA Finals is one as an overachieving underdog. The Suns continue their march toward a first league championship against the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference final. After being given little respect by oddsmakers in NBA futures betting at top sportsbooks throughout the postseason, the Suns opened at -225 at FanDuel sportsbook before their series to beat the Clippers (+188) and reach the Finals.
The Suns planted the seeds for this season’s success with an 8-0 run inside the NBA Bubble last summer. The team then acquired Chris Paul to solidify the backcourt and deliver a stabilizing veteran presence in the locker room. The formula worked. Wise bettors in NBA futures markets took notice.
Phoenix was a +4000 consensus pick to win the NBA Finals at sports betting sites as late as Feb. 1, and +2220 to win the Western Conference at the same time. They took the Pacific Division, after carrying +2000 preseason odds, and as high as +2500 two months later.
Here is a rundown of the Suns 2021 futures odds as posted at DraftKings sportsbook:
|Win Total||Over/Under 38.5 (-110)||Over|
|Make/Miss Playoffs||Make (-140) / Miss (+110)||Make|
|Pacific Division||+2000 (Preseason)||Win|
|Western Conference||+2200 (Preseason)||TBD|
|NBA Finals||+4000 (Preseason)||TBD|
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The Suns surprised oddsmakers and bettors in reaching the NBA Finals in 1976 and again in 1993. Neither one of those trips resulted in a championship, but those teams were memorable in a good way for fans in Arizona nonetheless.
Here is a look at the Phoenix Suns betting history in the Finals with their NBA odds for each series.
1976 Finals: Suns vs Celtics
Series Moneyline: Suns +170 / Celtics -200
The “Sundarella Suns” captured the hearts and minds of basketball fans across Arizona during their improbable run to Game 7 of the 1976 NBA Finals. Phoenix needed a 24-13 run to close out the regular season with a 42-40 record and snag the third spot in the Pacific Division in just the eighth year of the franchise's existence.
Much like this year’s Suns team, the 1975-76 Suns solidified their backcourt with a major trade in the offseason – dealing for Boston guard Paul Westphal. It was one of several major moves made by Jerry Colangelo in building his first Western Conference champions. Westphal led the Suns in scoring that season.
Coach John MacLeod coached the Suns for 14 years and topped his term with the team by its performance during the first half of the nation’s bicentennial year.
The NBA family mourns the loss of John MacLeod, the most successful coach in Phoenix Suns history. MacLeod led Phoenix to the 1976 NBA Finals. He also coached the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks during his 18-year head coaching career (1937-2019). pic.twitter.com/aRcPp0LHmt— NBA History (@NBAHistory) April 16, 2019
The 2021 Suns bounced the defending NBA champion Lakers in the playoffs. The 1976 Suns turned the same feat by eliminating the 1975 NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals. Those Suns would win Game 7 on the road, led by Gar Heard’s 21 points.
“There’s a shared sense of what this team meant to the city,” Westphal would say 40 years later. “Going through it at the time, I don’t think any of us grasped it. We’ve all been in different places for 40 years but whenever we run into someone from Phoenix who was there then, they remember and tell us what an impact it made on their lives. How this team was part of the city’s growth, spirit or love for the Suns, it sticks with you.”
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While the 1975-76 Suns were making the improbable a reality in the West, the Boston Celtics were churning up opponents in the East. The Celtics starting lineup featured three future Hall of Fame players in John Havlicek, Jo Jo White and Dave Cowens. Boston forward Don Nelson reached the Hall of Fame as a coach. The Celtics were coached by Tom Heinsohn, who is in the Hall of Fame as both a coach and player. And, of course, Red Auerbach was at the peak of his power as GM. Boston, just two seasons removed from its last title banner, was 54-28 during the regular and held the top spot in the East.
The 1976 Finals provided the longest and most dramatic game in NBA championship history to that point.
Cowens delivered a triple-double for Boston in the opener. The teams split the four first games, each winning twice at home.
The Suns headed back to OG Boston Garden for a historic and epic Game 5, seeking a series edge on a warm spring Friday night. Game 6 would be in Phoenix two days later.
The Suns trailed throughout much of regulation before the game entered overtime tied at 95-95. Suns fans to this day believe the team was robbed because Boston’s Paul Silas signaled for a time out the team did not have as time expired. The Celtics, many argue, should have been hit with a technical, giving Phoenix the opportunity to win the game from the free-throw line at the 48-minute mark. Heard’s jumper tied the score at 101-101 late in the first OT, but the Celtics missed a chance to close it out.
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The second overtime was spellbinding. The lead swung back-and-forth before the Celtics took a three-point edge with 19 seconds to play. The next 14 seconds were the stuff of Suns legend. Dick Van Arsdale flipped in a left-handed jumper, Westphal stole the inbound pass, and Curtis Perry would get off two shots and give Phoenix a 110-109 lead.
There were just five seconds left.
“I don’t believe what I just saw,” screamed CBS announced Brent Musburger.
The veteran announcer would say years later it was the greatest sporting event he ever broadcast. There was more to come.
Havlicek hit a runner off the glass to give Boston a 111-110 lead – and initially the game. Fans flooded the court and the Celtics retired to the locker room. But after reviewing the tape, officials called the teams back and one second was put back on the clock. Westphal then came up with the idea to call an illegal timeout. The technical free throw gave Boston a free throw and a 112-110 edge and allowed Phoenix to inbound the ball at midcourt. Heard’s turnaround rainbow from 21 feet on the right side over a lunging Nelson rolled in off the rim as the clock expired.
Triple overtime began with the score tied 112-112. Neither team played much defense, and Boston took a 128-124 lead late in the third overtime. Phoenix cut it to 128-126 before Boston was able to run out the final 12 seconds.
Game 6 was anti-climactic for all involved. Played three time zones away and less than 45 hours after Game 5 ended, both teams struggled to score as the Celtics won a war of attrition and their 13th NBA title by an 87-80 score.
1993 Finals: Suns vs Bulls
Series Moneyline: Suns +190 / Bulls -240
The 1993 NBA Finals featured another triple-overtime game. Westphal coached the Suns, who rolled through the Western Conference as the consensus choice of oddsmakers. Unfortunately, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls awaited Phoenix in the Finals and would capture their third-straight NBA title in just six games.
Here is a rundown of the betting lines for the Suns in each round of the 1993 playoffs:
|Round 1||Suns -3000||Lakers +2000||Suns 3, Lakers 2|
|Conf. Semis||Suns -650||Spurs +450||Suns 4, Spurs 2|
|Conf. Finals||Suns -330||Sonics +250||Suns 4, Sonics 3|
|NBA Finals||Suns +190||Bulls -240||Bulls 4, Suns 2|
(Vegas consensus odds via sportsoddshistory.com)
Unlike their 1976 predecessors, the 1993 Suns were significant favorites heading into the playoffs after finishing with the top seed in the West and 62 wins in the regular season. Westphal’s Suns were the best team in franchise history. They featured a veteran and star-laden lineup led by league MVP Charles Barkley, point guard Kevin Johnson, shooting guard Dan Majerle and Danny Ainge and Tom Chambers gunning off the bench. Barkley trash-talked his way to 25.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per night.
In the first round, the Suns dropped Games 1 and 2 to the Lakers at home before Barkley powered his team to three straight wins in the best-of-5 series. Phoenix blew a 2-0 lead to San Antonio in the conference semifinals. The teams were tied 2-2 before Barkley combined for 64 points and 33 rebounds in the next two games to lift Phoenix.
The conference final against the Seattle SuperSonics was a grueling affair. The teams swapped wins over the first six games. In perhaps the best – if not most impactful – game of his career, Barkley dominated Game 7 with 44 points and 24 rebounds as the Suns advanced to the Finals by 123-110 score.
The Bulls and Jordan were rested and ready for their third straight championship. The Suns had homecourt in the series but dropped the first two games in Phoenix, In Game 2, Barkley and Jordan each scored 42 points. Ainge added 20 points for the Suns off the bench, as Phoenix outscored the Bulls in the second half. But the depth and size of the Bulls proved too much. Scottie Pippen added a triple-double for the eventual champs in a 111-108 win.
The Suns needed triple overtime to win their first game of the series. Johnson played 62 minutes, scored 25 points and was one of seven Suns players in double figures. Jordan led all with 44 points, but the Suns outscored the Bulls 15-7 in the third overtime to seize the hard-fought 129-121 triumph.
Game 4 was another showcase for Jordan, who rocked Chicago Stadium with 55 points. Even though the Suns were down by just five points heading into the final quarter, Jordan was simply unstoppable.
The Suns took Game 5 in the wake of a famous quote attributed to Barkley, who said the Suns needed to win to “save the city” of Chicago from any potential riots celebrating another Bulls title. Jordan was “held” to 41 points, and the Suns returned to Phoenix down 3-2.
It remains the closest the Suns franchise has come to an NBA title since.
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Game 6 saw the Bulls dominate early. Phoenix trailed 87-79 entering the fourth quarter, but the Bulls did not score for the first 6:09 of the final stanza. Jordan then took over, as he so often did, and scored the next eight points. That outburst and a Majerle air ball left the Bulls with the ball and 14.1 seconds on the clock. The Suns led 98-96.
The Suns did not want to be beaten via a last-second shot by Jordan.
They got their wish.
June 20, 1993. NBA Finals. Game 6. Bulls trail by 2 to the Suns in the final seconds of the game. Ball goes to John Paxson… pic.twitter.com/zCt8VUyiOM— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) June 20, 2017
On that final Chicago possession of the season, the ball was touched by Jordan, Pippen and Horace Grant before it finally landed in the hands of a wide-open John Paxson, who just happened to be the best shooter (in terms of percentage) of anyone on the floor. Paxson nailed a 3-pointer.
The final Suns possession produced nothing and the Finals were over.
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