The Daily Sweat: Suns in 5? Clippers might not be able to dig out of this hole

·4 min read

The Phoenix Suns have been through too much as a franchise to let this opportunity pass.

They've had bad luck and disappointments before, including a memorable series loss to the Houston Rockets in 1995 when they led 3-1. Mario Elie still haunts them. This postseason they've been through ups and downs with Chris Paul's health, and even a scare with Devin Booker's nose.

Phoenix is in a situation to write some positive history on Monday night. The Suns are up 3-1 on a Los Angeles Clippers team that still doesn't have Kawhi Leonard. All they need is one more win to get to their first NBA Finals since 1993.

The oddsmakers think the celebration will happen tonight. The Suns are 5.5-point favorites at BetMGM for Game 5 at home. They're -2500 to win the series.

The odds reflect more than just the Suns having a dominating lead in the series. Phoenix has a very good team that is better than the Clippers and clearly can win a championship.

Paul is one of the great leaders of all time, though a trip to the NBA Finals has eluded him. Deandre Ayton is a great fit at center or the Suns. Devin Booker might be the most underrated star the NBA has, though that should change after this playoff run. Phoenix has plenty of shooters. They were great in the regular season and that has carried over.

The Suns, and Paul in particular, have waited a long time for this opportunity. The Clippers have battled the entire playoffs, but a close Game 4 loss and the extended absence of Leonard might be too much to bounce back from. The party might be happening in Phoenix tonight. Take the favorite.

Deandre Ayton (22) Torrey Craig (12) and Mikal Bridges (25) celebrate a Game 2 win, and the Suns will try to clinch a Western Conference title on Monday. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton (22) Torrey Craig (12) and Mikal Bridges (25) celebrate a Game 2 win, and the Suns will try to clinch a Western Conference title on Monday. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Here's a first look at Monday's sports betting slate:

Stanley Cup Final begins

The Montreal Canadiens are going to have to beat the odds again.

The Canadiens' amazing playoff run continued with an upset of the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup semifinal, and they're big underdogs again against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final round. The Canadiens are +220 underdogs to win the Stanley Cup at BetMGM. Game 1 is Monday night, and the Canadiens are +165 for the opening game.

Tampa Bay has turned it on in the playoffs, and the defending champs are worthy favorites at -275. It's hard to lay that kind of number though. The Canadiens have already shown they're not intimidated by being counted out.

Euro 2020 knockout stage continues

The Euro 2020 tournament has been fantastic, and there are a couple more matchups for Monday.

France and Spain, two of the stronger teams in the field, are both -165 favorites to win on Monday. Spain plays Croatia at noon Eastern and France faces Switzerland at 3 p.m. Yahoo Sportsbook's Nick Bromberg has his picks here.

Who cashed tickets this weekend?

The most notable result might have been the Milwaukee Bucks taking back home-court advantage for the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 3 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night. Trae Young turned his ankle, Khris Middleton got out his blowtorch in the fourth quarter and the Bucks ended up covering the 4.5-point spread by pulling away late in a 113-102 win that was much closer than the final score would indicate. With that win, the Bucks took a 2-1 lead in the series and went back to being favorites to win the NBA title at BetMGM.

In Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers rebounded from a rough start to the week, including a combined no-hitter against them Thursday, to take the final three games from the Chicago Cubs. That included a 7-1 win on Sunday night behind a big first inning and a classic performance by Clayton Kershaw.

What does the MLB slate look like for Monday?

There's one semi-early game, as the Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Pirates square off at 5:10 p.m. ET. That's not exactly the marquee game on the slate.

The San Francisco Giants and Dodgers meet up in Los Angeles. The Giants are 3.5 games ahead of the second-place Dodgers, still looking for respect and hoping to extend their lead in the NL West. That's the highlight of an 11-game schedule for Monday.

What's the best bet?

Let's keep this simple and go with the Suns. It's their time, and Game 4 had to take a lot of fight out of the Clippers. It's not like a 3-1 series lead is insurmountable, but the Suns don't seem like the team that will drag it out.