Bucks vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Milwaukee Bucks will travel to South Beach after tying the series 1-1 without Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 2. Can the Miami Heat bounce back and defend their home court? Or will the Bucks’ hot shooting from Game 2 travel with them to Miami?
Let’s break down Saturday’s Bucks vs. Heat Game 3 matchup.
After struggling to make shots in Game 1, the Bucks bounced back in a major way by shooting an unbelievable effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of 66.8% in Game 2. That performance ranks in the 98th percentile of shooting performances this season.
Milwaukee took 49% of its shots from 3 and converted on more than half (51%) of those looks. A team isn’t going to lose many games when it makes 25-of-49 of of its 3-point attempts. But the important question is: Is that performance sustainable?
I contend that 51% is unsustainable. Nevertheless, the Bucks should continue to generate great looks from 3 given the Heat’s defensive profile. The Heat rank 29th in defensive 3-point attempt rate allowed. This is who Miami is; I do not expect the Heat to completely flip their defensive identity in a series tied at 1-1.
Expect the Bucks offense to get up a ton of 3s again tonight. However, whether or not those 3s fall is a much tricker question.
The Bucks seemingly have a tendency to forget how to shoot in the playoffs year after year. We witnessed this in Game 1, when Milwaukee shot a paltry 25.6% from deep.
Realistically, the Bucks’ median expected shooting percentage lies between the extreme outcomes of Games 1 and 2. If this occurs, the Bucks offense should be in pretty good shape, because they are aggressively winning the “math” game through the first two games. Milwaukee has attempted 92 shots from 3, whereas Miami has attempted 59.
Expect the Bucks offense to continue to perform well.
The Heat have shot the ball extremely well during both games in the series, but their underlying shot profile is concerning. Milwaukee has attempted significantly more 3-pointers than Miami has.
Despite that disparity the Heat managed to hang around, because they shot 60% and 41% from 3 in Games 1 and 2, respectively. Miami’s 68.7% eFG% in Game 1 was its best shooting performance of the entire season. Then in Game 2, the Heat delivered their eighth-best shooting performance (61%) of the season.
I highlight this outlier shooting because that is exactly what it is: An outlier. The Heat offense ranked 25th in eFG% (53.1%) this season. Their inability to make shots was a major reason why they fell from the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed to a play-in team and eventual No. 8 seed.
This team is simply not very talented, and there is only so much Erik Spoelstra can scheme up offensively. Miami also lost its best 3-point shooter, Tyler Herro, for the next six weeks. Herro shoots 38% from 3 and is the only player on the team outside of Caleb Martin shooting above league-average from deep on the entire team.
Miami was already bereft of talent, and the loss of Herro only magnifies that. The Heat’s talent disparity is going to show up eventually, and Game 3 may be a good spot for their negative shooting regression to kick in.
Expect the Heat offense to regress towards its regular-season averages tonight.
Bucks vs. Heat Pick
It is difficult to make a Game 3 prediction without confirmation regarding the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but I lean towards the Bucks at -5.
The line opened at an egregious Bucks -2.5, and sharps quickly steamed that line up all the way to -5.5. This has since been bought back down to -5, but I still posit some value there given that Antetokounmpo has the potential to play.
I would not chase the steam if you missed out on the best number, but consider playing the Bucks live early in the game if they start a little bit slow.