I don't know which version of "Space Jam" is better, and as a guest lecturer in Tom Fornelli's classroom, I don't think I have the right to use his space to pontificate on LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan as a basketball proposition. All I want to say is this: I cannot think of a sporting event in the history of cinema that I would have wanted to gamble on less than the climactic showdown between LeBron's tunes and Don Cheadle's goons.
There are a multitude of reasons for that, ranging from clearly biased officiating to the inconsistent scoring system. But really, I want to hone in on one specific moment. Avert your eyes if you're worried about spoilers for a basketball game that prominently features Foghorn Leghorn.
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When the fourth quarter starts, LeBron tells his teammates to clear out so he can isolate on his son. Instead, he gives him a motivational speech. It takes several minutes. When next we see the game-clock, after only a single possession has been played, there are 28 seconds remaining. WHAT? He used the entire quarter on a speech? Is there no shot-clock for him to violate? All of the other players were just okay with that? Look, I get it. LeBron is an all-time passer. But when he gets to around minute-seven of his pep talk, maybe it's time to send a double just to get the game going?
This is the rare circumstance in which we should pity the over bettors in a game that had over 2,000 total points. Imagine entering the final frame needing only a few more buckets, only to watch helplessly as the opposing point guard monologued the clock away.
The good news is that the actual basketball game we'll be watching tonight offers far more opportunities for profit. So let's dive into Game 6 of the NBA Finals, a battle that almost certainly won't include Elmer Fudd.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Suns at Bucks, 9 p.m. | TV: ABC
The Pick: Bucks -5 (-105): Home teams almost never lose Game 6's on their home floor with a chance to clinch the title. Since the merger, teams are 10-1 in those scenarios. The Bucks have lost at home only once this postseason and it took 48 points from Trae Young, along with 22.2 percent shooting from behind the arc from Milwaukee, for that to happen. The Bucks shot unrealistically well in Game 5, but so did Phoenix, and both sides normalizing favors Milwaukee because of their rebounding and transition excellence.
It would be a bit unfair to suggest that Chris Paul has struggled in the last few games. He shot 60 percent with 11 assists in Game 5. But he hasn't been able to share ball-handling duties as evenly with Devin Booker as he did when the Suns were at their peak. That has put too much of a burden on Booker to carry the offense, and you'd figure that, eventually, he's going to stop scoring 40 points. In a hostile environment in Milwaukee, expect that to be Game 6 as the Bucks hoist their first championship trophy in 50 years.
Key Trend: The Bucks have lost at home only once this postseason.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The top simulation for this game is related to the Over/Under.
💰 NBA Finals prop bets
The Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo over 32.5 points (-110) -- Giannis Antetokounmpo has been held below 32.5 points in Games 4 and 5, but part of that stems from Phoenix's defensive commitment to protecting the basket. They haven't exactly shut Giannis down, but they're devoting more resources to the basket and the Bucks, in turn, have relied more heavily on jump shots.
Milwaukee made 50 percent of its 3-pointers in Game 5 partially as a result. One more game like that ends Phoenix's season. The Suns are going to have to be a bit more respectful of Milwaukee's shooters, and that should open things up just enough for Giannis to climb back up into the 40-point neighborhood he occupied in Games 2 and 3.
The Pick: Deandre Ayton over 12.5 rebounds (-105) -- Deandre Ayton played 45 minutes in Game 5. Barring foul trouble, he's going to have to repeat that in Game 6. Phoenix simply can't defend well enough when he's not in the game to justify keeping him on the bench any longer now that Dario Saric is out. His scoring is too dependent on teammates to bet his point total over, but the odds of him being held below 13 rebounds again with so many minutes appears quite low. He missed out on a ton of opportunities because of Milwaukee's unusual shooting, and he had 17 rebounds in less than 39 Game 4 minutes.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Two of SportsLine's top experts agree on this spread bet for Game 6 tonight.