Tonight, we will get a rematch of last year’s surprising first-round upset when the Milwaukee Bucks head to South Beach to face the Miami Heat. Below is our Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat prediction, betting picks and odds, and each team’s starting lineup.
Milwaukee Bucks Vs. Miami Heat Prediction
With Jimmy Butler being ruled out due to an ankle injury, the Miami Heat are in a tough position; they will be without their two best scorers (Tyler Herro and Butler) and have to hope that Bam Adebayo can step up against one of the biggest, longest, and most physical frontcourts in the NBA. Brook Lopez is amongst the best rim and paint-protecting big men in the NBA, and at 7-foot-1, he has a substantial size advantage against Adebayo (6-foot-9.)
Further, Kyle Lowry is still a solid perimeter defender, as he has been for the vast majority of his career; however, he is going to have to fight through some huge screens from Portis, Giannis, and Lopez the entire game to stick with All-Star Damian Lillard. And that has to be an extraordinarily challenging task, especially for a 37-year-old guard.
Milwaukee has the second-best net rating over the past eight games and has a team shooting split of 50/39/79 in that stretch. Early-season concerns about the team’s defense also seem to have subsided; they have allowed the sixth-lowest 3P% and ninth-lowest FG% to opponents in that stretch while also leading the NBA in rebounds per game.
Frankly, it is a bit astonishing that the Bucks, who have won seven of their past eight games, with their only loss coming to Boston on the road by three points, are merely four-point favorites in this spot. Expect Giannis, Lopez, and Lillard to lead Milwaukee to another win.
Milwaukee Bucks Vs. Miami Heat Prediction: Bucks -4 (-110)
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Milwaukee Bucks Vs. Miami Heat Best Odds
The Milwaukee Bucks are now four-point road favorites since Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro have been ruled out. Milwaukee has Moneyline odds of -175 to grab a road win against a shorthanded Miami team, while the Heat are +145 to win outright. The point total for this game rests at 228.5 points, with -110 odds for both the Over and the Under.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
Milwaukee Bucks Vs. Miami Heat Injuries
The injury report for Miami is hefty: the Heat will miss Jimmy Butler (ankle), Tyler Herro (ankle), Dru Smith (knee), and R.J. Hampton (knee.) Further, Haywood Highsmith is questionable ahead of Tuesday’s matchup. Meanwhile, Milwaukee will continue to miss Jae Crowder, while Khris Middleton is questionable for the game.
Milwaukee Bucks Vs. Miami Heat Key Matchups
Take a look at our Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat key matchup below, featuring Bam Adebayo and Brook Lopez, two high-quality centers for championship-contending teams!
Bam Adebayo vs. Brook Lopez
Surprise, surprise. The key matchup for the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat game belongs to Bam Adebayo and Brook Lopez.
Adebayo will be in a tough spot here, as alluded to above, as he will be the focal point of the Heat’s offense and will have very little help with Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro set to miss this game.
Bam has played two games without Butler this season: he had a massive night against Atlanta and an extremely underwhelming outing versus the Timberwolves. Milwaukee has a frontcourt roster construction similar to Minnesota, with two seven-footers at the power forward and center positions (Lopez and Giannis) and a physical, intense bench big (Bobby Portis.)
If the game against Minnesota was any indication of the potential issues that Adebayo could run into, then we very well might see those struggles tonight. The Bucks allow the sixth-fewest points to opposing centers, and Lopez is a physical force in the paint.
Due to Adebayo’s mediocre perimeter shooting, Lopez will be comfortable roaming in the paint, forcing Bam to score over or around him all night. That’s a tough ask, especially when there aren’t any other talented offensive players to take the attention off of you. Advantage: Lopez