After surviving the gauntlet that is the play-in tournament, the Miami Heat now have to figure out a way to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Oddsmakers have opened the Bucks as high as -1000 to win the series, a -9 favorite in their first matchup. Some key Heat players have popped up on the injury report as Questionable, giving even more cause for concern for Miami. Severely outmatched on both ends, my prediction is that this series does not go longer than four games.
Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks Betting Odds
As previously mentioned, oddsmakers lean heavily in Milwaukee’s favor to get the job done as they opened the Bucks as a -9 favorite in game one. Bettors are in agreement as well, backing the Bucks up to -9.5 as of writing. This comes as no surprise as they get the benefit of being well rested as well as playing more efficiently on both ends of the court. While I believe the Bucks cruise to victory, I am bypassing game one as it is tied in with my Bucks to sweep wager.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a slow pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 218.5. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the total, keeping the number the same since the opener. This is an immediate stay away for me as both the Bucks and Heat’s identities can drastically shift the trajectory of the total with an emphasis on free throw shooting. Giannis especially, playing like a bull in a China shop as he steamrolls his way to the rim.
Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
The Pick: Bucks to win series 4-0
As I alluded to earlier, I am bypassing betting this in a single game betting perspective. I will instead be tying in the game one moneyline by taking a “Bucks to sweep” series prop bet. This allows me the ability to still attack games two through four with a potential straight bet, while also having something to constantly root for which is essentially a Bucks moneyline bet. The number is a little too high for my liking, leaving a potential back door opportunity should the Bucks call off their dogs late in a blowout.
The Bucks run as a more efficient unit on both ends of the court with a massive edge on the offensive end. This was a weakness for the Bucks in the early years of Giannis, now developing him into a lethal scoring threat and surrounding him with capable scorers as well. This improved level of play has catapulted the Bucks up to 10th in Offensive Efficiency per TeamRankings, a massive gap to the Heat’s 25th placed ranking.
The offensive level of play has been abysmal for the Heat, a unit that lacks a true go-to scoring threat after Jimmy Butler. Bam Adebayo has developed into a scoring big man, but now has to battle it out against the potential Defensive Player of the Year in Brook Lopez. With Lopez anchoring the paint and Milwaukee smothering the middle with their length, this will put added pressure on Miami to find consistent success from deep which is an area I have little faith in them doing. The Heat rank 27th in 3pt Completion Percentage by shooting a lowly 34.3% from deep.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings in Milwaukee
- Over is 5-0 in the last five meetings against each other in Milwaukee
How will the Heat neutralize Giannis and the rest of the Bucks offense?
Giannis Vs. Heat interior defense
You can’t neutralize Giannis, but you can slow him down. The issue with forming a wall in the interior in an effort to slow him down is that it puts Bam Adebayo in potential foul trouble, slowing down a major source of their scoring should he have to sit for a period of time.
While that has worked in years past, the Bucks boast too much offensive firepower to limit them as a whole. A major reason the Bucks are playing at their championship level, bringing a variety of scoring that does not hinge as much on Antetokounmpo’s usage.
Take the Bucks to sweep the series at the best price possible as their advantages on both ends of the court will be too much for Miami to overcome.
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineups
Miami Heat Injuries: Gabe Vincent (Q), Kyle Lowry (Q), Nikola Jovic (O)
Milwaukee Bucks Injuries: N/A