Heat vs. Bucks Odds
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The 2021 NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks are on the ropes as they trail 3-1 to the Miami Heat after losing back-to-back games in South Beach. Milwaukee will need to win three straight games to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals — a shocking turn of events for a team that led the league with a 58-24 record.
Despite being down 3-1 in the series, the Bucks are still +130 to win in seven games. However, 95% of teams leading 3-1 go on to win the series, but it wouldn’t be shocking if the Bucks came back given how much of a talent mismatch they have. That historic comeback would need a victory in Game 5, where Milwaukee is an 11-point home favorite.
After ranking last in the league in scoring with 109.5 points per game, the Heat have averaged 123 per game during the postseason, which leads all playoff teams. They are shooting 54% from the field and 47.6% from behind the arc. Those percentages are likely to come back down to earth, but the Heat have found a successful way to attack the Bucks defense. With both teams scoring so well in this series, 219.5 total points feels too low. Let’s break it down.
Jimmy Butler has arguably been the best postseason player in the league as he’s averaging 36.5 points per game with a 34.1% usage rate. His efficiency has also been off the charts as he’s shooting 62.8% from the field and 52.9% from downtown. With Tyler Herro out due to injury, Butler doesn’t have much scoring help. However, Butler has proved he can basically win a game by himself as he scored 56 points in Game 4.
Compared to his season averages, Bam Adebayo has struggled in this matchup. He is one of the few players shooting below 50% during this series. To close out the best team in the league, he’ll need to step up.
Not only is Herro out for the rest of this series, but so is Victor Oladipo. The Heat are running out of playable bodies, but have gotten fantastic minutes from Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin. Combined, they are averaging 35.8 points per game while shooting 56.8% from the field and 56.7% from 3.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has only played in one full game this series, but it’s still shocking that the Bucks have the worst Defensive Rating (120.9) in the playoffs. They ranked middle of the pack in points allowed during the regular season and defending the 3-point line has been their kryptonite. Herro may be out, but Miami has plenty of shooters.
The Heat split the first two games in Milwaukee, winning by 13 points in Game 1, then losing by 16 in Game 2.
The respect the Bucks are getting to win three straight games is something we rarely see. They are nearly an even-money bet to win the series and Antetokounmpo is a big reason why. He may not be 100% healthy, but having him on the floor changes the game completely. Antetokounmpo led the league in points per minute this season and scored 26 points in Game 3, while also accumulating a triple-double with 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
There are a couple trends working in the Bucks favor for Game 5. First, they have won 13 of their past 14 games after losing as favorites. Additionally, the Heat have failed to cover the spread in seven of their past eight road games after winning as underdogs. Covering 11 points is tough, but the Bucks are that talented.
Outside of Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have a great supporting cast. Khris Middleton is an elite scorer and leads the team in points per game, while also averaging over six rebounds and assists per game. Jrue Holiday has shot poorly in this series, but he’s a strong defense and has dropped double-digit assists in half of the games. And don’t forget Brook Lopez, who had a monstrous Game 4 with 36 points and 11 rebounds.
The Heat had the second-slowest Pace throughout the regular season, but this series has averaged a Pace of 101.63, which is the third-highest in the playoffs. As bad as the Bucks have been defensively, the Heat haven’t been much better and have a Defensive Rating of 115.3 while allowing 117 points per game. The Bucks will have no problem scoring.
With their backs against the wall, expect Milwaukee to respond. The Bucks have averaged 118.8 points per home game this season, compared to 115 on the road. After Butler got 18 free-throw attempts in Game 4, expect some home cooking for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in Game 5.
We’re following the public in Game 5, but on the total instead of the 11-point spread. The Bucks are likely to bounce back, but the Heat have a knack for hanging around and keeping games competitive. With 75% of the bets on Milwaukee, we are following suit and betting the over of 219.5.
Each of the past seven games in Milwaukee between the Bucks and Heat has gone over the total. The over has hit in three of the four games this series and given how many points have been scored per game, I would bet this over up to 223.5 points.