The Milwaukee Bucks look to avoid elimination tonight as they host the Miami Heat for Game 5 of the 1 vs 8 matchup in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Heat took a commanding 3-1 lead with a win on Monday night, led by Jimmy Butler who exploded for 56 points.
Based on the odds, it appears sportsbooks expect Milwaukee to have no problem defending home court and sending the series back to Miami. They have made the Bucks heavy betting favorites with a point spread of -11.5.
MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo returned in Game 4 after missing two games with a back injury, and he should remain in the starting lineup for Game 5.
Read on for in-depth analysis of this Game 5 matchup between the Heat and the Bucks, including a betting prediction and best bet picks.
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
The Heat needed an all-time great performance by Jimmy Butler to steal Game 4 at home. They were down by 11 with less than six minutes to play before Butler went full hero mode and the Heat closed out the game by outscoring Milwaukee 30-17.
Butler scored 19 of those 30 points including a go-ahead three with 1:20 to go that gave the Heat a lead it would never relinquish.
The Bucks have become the fourth No. 1 seed to fall down 3-1 in the first round since the NBA expanded first round series to seven games in 2003. Those top seeds are 1-2 in that scenario, and in the history of the NBA playoffs, teams that go down 3-1 are just 13-258 in the series.
We repeat: Teams that go up 3-1 in a best-of-seven series in NBA history are 258-13 … for a winning percentage of .952.
Jimmy Butler's Heat will take a 3-1 lead to Milwaukee for Game 5. https://t.co/R5UsFdDCUg
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 25, 2023
The good news for the Bucks, besides the fact that they return home for Game 5, is that the return of Antetokounmpo helped them to be in control for most of Game 4. If not for Butler’s late-game heroics, the storyline entering Game 5 would be very different, and we certainly can’t expect another performance like that by Butler (but we also can’t rule it out!).
The Bucks do have a double-digit win over Miami in this series – a 138-122 victory in Game 2 without Giannis. Still, the way Butler and the Heat are playing, it’s hard to imagine the Bucks winning by double digits in Game 5, no matter how desperate Milwaukee may be.
The Bucks will win the game, but I would not be laying 11 points, so if I am betting the spread, I’m picking the Heat.
The best bet in this game, however, is the over. The totals in the first four games have been 247, 260, 220 and 233, and in their last two matchups in the regular season it was 238 and 227. With that recent history, it’s a bit surprising the line has not moved higher than 219.5.
I am trusting that trend and betting on a fifth straight over in this series.
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks Betting Odds
Somewhat surprisingly, the Bucks opened as double-digit favorites for Game 5, with a spread of -11.5. That line has not moved more than 0.5 points as of this writing on Tuesday afternoon, but it could come down some before tipoff.
The Bucks have been favored in every game this series, but this is the largest point spread so far. The closing lines for Games 1 through 4 were -9, -5.5, -2, and -7.5.
The Bucks’ moneyline odds opened at -700 and are at -610 as of this writing, while the Heat’s moneyline has moved from +510 to +460.
The public money is pretty split on those odds with the handle split roughly 50/50 against the spread and 60/40 in favor of the Heat on the moneyline, per VSiN.
The over/under for Game 5 opened at 220 and is now at 219.5, and it should not move much from that number. That line is right in the range of the over/under for the previous four games, which were 221, 216, 216, and 217.5. The Over has hit in all four games so far this series.
Public money is split on the total, but with roughly 80% of the bets being on the Over, it appears some sharp money is on the Under.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Bucks winning 115.25-104.25.
- The Bucks are 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall, while the Heat are 4-1 in their last five.
- The Over is 5-0 in the Heat’s last five road games, and 16-5 in their last 21 games overall.
- The Over is 6-0 in the last six meetings between these teams, and 7-0 in their last seven meetings in Milwaukee.
The matchup between the two superstars is the most important aspect of Game 5, but it also could come down to three-point shooting.
Jimmy Butler vs Giannis Antetokounmpo
The obvious matchup to watch in this game is the one between the two superstars, each of whom will need to put their teams on their back in this game.
What can Butler do for an encore, and how will his Game 4 performance affect Milwaukee’s defensive strategy? The Bucks are likely to apply even more defensive pressure on Butler and force other Heat players to beat them, so Butler’s ability to beat double teams and make plays for his teammates will be critical in this game.
For Antetokounmpo, he did just about everything in Game 4 and finished with a triple-double. While he shot an efficient 12-for-22 to score his 26 points, the Bucks need even more offensively from him to avoid elimination.
High pressure moments like this are when teams need their superstars to shine the brightest. The team that gets the better performance from its superstar is likely the team that walks away victorious.
Milwaukee was one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams in the league this season, averaging 39.4 attempts per 100 possessions (4th most) and hitting them at a 36.8% clip (10th best). In the playoffs they have become even more reliant on the three ball, averaging a league-high 42.6 attempts per 100 possessions while maintaining similar efficiency at 37%.
If the Heat continue to hit shots like that, they have a serious chance to close out the Bucks, possibly as early as Game 5. The Bucks might need some hot shooting to carry them if they want to keep their season alive.
Miami Heat Starting Lineups
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineups
Miami Heat Injuries: Tyler Herro (O – hand), Victor Oladipo (O – knee)
Milwaukee Bucks Injuries: Wesley Matthews (O – calf)