No Giannis, no problem as the Bucks had their way with the Heat in Game 2, dismantling Miami to the tune of a 16 point victory. An eye-popping performance as the Bucks flexed their depth throughout the full course of the contest, changing their offensive identity on the fly and picking apart the gaps of the Miami defense. Giannis is still listed as Questionable on the Bucks injury report, but the Bucks offense should still maintain their firepower in a spread-out approach. Heading into this evening, the Bucks are -200 on the moneyline, per DraftKings sportsbook.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat Prediction
The Pick: If Giannis is ruled out, over 220. If playing, pass
This bet is once again correlated to Giannis’s availability as his return would bring too much variance for my liking. Especially on the defensive end, bringing elite length and athleticism to cover a majority of the interior which is the Heat’s bread and butter on offense. Should he return, I will pass on the total and potentially target something live after getting to see how he moves with his back injury. If he opts out, I will take the over at no higher than 220.
Without Giannis, the Bucks take on a whole new identity that plays very friendly towards the over. They run a spread-out style approach to stretch out the Heat’s defense, allowing them to slash and facilitate through the middle to create open looks when the Heat clamp down on the ball handler. Jrue Holiday has taken major strides as a serious go-to playmaker, running the show during Antetokounmpo’s absence.
As for their defense, this is the key reason for the over as their defensive efficiency takes a dive without Giannis manning the middle. Especially against the Heat’s offensive identity as he gets the privilege to sit back and contest looks in the middle. That forces Miami to find success from the perimeter, a major weakness in their offensive game. Without Giannis, this gives the Heat free reign to attack the middle due to the lack of size, stopping and popping for a mid-range or attack the sluggish Brook Lopez who is slow in shifting over across the paint.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat Betting Odds
After dismantling the Heat in game 2, oddsmakers questionably opened this as a tight contest by opening the Bucks as a -2 favorite on the road. That number was hammered early on with bettors taking the number up to as high as -5. I managed to grab a piece at -3 yet would not play this over the key number of -4 should Giannis sit this one out. The Heat are very much live in this contest should the Bucks shooting hit a cold spell as their defense is unable to string together multiple stops.
As for the total, points were originally thought to be scored at a sluggish pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 218.5. Bettors have backed the idea of a lack of defense, taking the total up to as high as 220 as of writing. As previously mentioned, this is heavily correlated with Antetokounmpo’s availability as he dramatically shifts the defensive identity of the Bucks for the better.
- Bucks are 0-4 ATS in the last four matchups against the Heat in Miami
- Under is 24-9-1 in the last 32 meetings in Miami
- Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings overall
Can Jimmy Butler continue to pick apart the Bucks interior?
Jimmy Butler Vs. Bucks interior defense
Jimmy Butler has been the leading force of the Miami offense, relentlessly attacking the middle of the Bucks defense and taking a high quality mid-range or dish to an open shooter. His shooting took the center stage in their last matchup, finishing the game with 25 points and three assists.
His assists numbers would have been higher if the Heat’s secondary scorers were able to knock down their perimeter looks as Max Strus went ice cold from deep. An area that takes a massive dip without Tyler Herro’s shooting after being ruled out with a broken wrist.
Still, Butler is able to create offense in the middle and proved a heavier usage in the interior can score at a consistent enough rate to compete against the Bucks with their stretched out defense. The Heat’s ability to score in the interior with ease is a key reason I believe the over will cash in my Milwaukee vs Miami prediction.
Should Giannis opt out, take the over at no higher than 220.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Miami Heat Starting Lineups
Milwaukee Bucks Injuries: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Q), Wesley Matthews (O)
Miami Heat Injuries: Kyle Lowry (Q), Tyler Herro (O), Nikola Jovic (O)