Friday NBA Playoffs Betting: Odds, Picks & Predictions for Bucks vs. Heat Game 3 (Sept. 4)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo (right) and Jimmy Butler.
- The Bucks are a 5-point favorite over the Heat on Friday night in a must-win game for Milwaukee.
- Reed Wallach is taking the over in this Game 3, banking on the Bucks to finally play Giannis more and get back to their game.
- Get his full breakdown for Heat vs. Bucks below.
Bucks vs. Heat Game 3 Betting Odds
|Bucks Odds||-5 [BET NOW]|
|Heat Odds||+5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-195/+160 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||223.5 (-112/-109) [BET NOW]|
|Time||6:30 p.m. ET|
The Miami Heat have taken a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks after a wild finish with a walk-off free throw by Jimmy Butler to seal the Heat win.
While the final minute or so got wild, Miami was in firm control of that game and seems poised to pull this series out.
Can the Bucks turn it around? There’s still time, but it’s now or never for the No. 1 seed.
The writing has been on the wall for Milwaukee since the restart, but what is most disheartening about the start to this series is that Mike Budenholzer seems to have little interest in adjusting.
In Game 2, Giannis Antetokounmpo played 35 minutes and Khris Middleton played 33. While Antetokounmpo did not play his best, he is still the MVP and there is no use in having him sit. On the other hand, Middleton, who helped jump start a second-half spurt, was a +18 in a game the Bucks lost by 2. Budenholzer has been getting lapped by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra when it comes to in-game adjustments, as he has not deviated from his regular season rotation.
Milwaukee got a boost on offense from Eric Bledsoe, who seemed healthy, but the rest of the wings have struggled for the Bucks. Outside of George Hill, who did well in his regular role as backup point guard in stark contrast to the Miami reserves we mentioned, the Bucks’ role players were a mess. Wes Matthews, Pat Connaughton and Marvin Williams were a combined 4-of-18 from the floor. Connaughton in particular hurt Milwaukee, as he was a -19 in just 12 minutes of action.
Budenholzer continues to stay away from Donte DiVincenzo, who played just seven minutes in this one. It may be worth it to give him some run to see if he can provide a spark.
Ultimately, Milwaukee is being forced out of its normal style of play and is struggling to make changes and play the Heat’s game. With Giannis unable to create as much off the bounce, Milwaukee’s role players are being exposed with their inability to attack off the dribble.
Budenholzer is going to have to show he can come up with some sort of adjustment to counter this Miami versatility, because Milwaukee is getting outclassed in just about every facet so far.
Unlike Game 1, the Heat brought the heat (see what I did there) in Game 2, jumping out to a double-digit lead behind a strong defensive effort.
While Middleton has found his shooting stroke through the first two games, and Bledsoe gave the Bucks a guard that can get into the lane, Miami has kept Giannis in check thus far. While Antetokounmpo was able to go for 29 points and 14 rebounds, he only had three assists. Spoelstra has game-planned around Giannis’ ability to suck in defenders and kick out of that and basically nixed it. The defensive plan is working, and it also helps that Miami is getting outstanding performances on the offensive end.
The Heat role players have stepped up in a big way. I hypothesized that Bledsoe back in the lineup could slow down Dragic, but nope. He had a team-high 23 points on Wednesday. Beyond that, Tyler Herro, Kelly Olynyk, Duncan Robinson and Jae Crowder hit on 17-of-40 3-point tries, better than 42%.
The opening two games could not have gone better for Butler and the Heat. They have stunned the Bucks, who lacked the composure to build on a small lead they grabbed in the fourth quarter. Miami looks like the better, more complete team that is getting whatever they want on offense and bullying Milwaukee on defense.
To seal the deal, Miami will need to continue to turn Milwaukee over — they forced 19 in Game 2 — and limit Milwaukee’s rebounding. Milwaukee’s inability to get clean rebounds and control that part of the game leads to its half-court offense, where it is struggling to do much of anything and coughing the ball up.
Game 2 got chippy. The frustrated Bucks were starting to let their emotions get involved as they faced a 2-0 series hole. I think that there is going to be more physicality in Game 3, and a quicker whistle to keep the game composed. With more free throw opportunities, I lean with the over.
On the other hand, if Milwaukee is able to get back to its pace and play their more standard game, which will take Giannis playing more and Bud making in-game adjustments that we haven’t seen yet, this game should also go over, as the Bucks should push closer to 115-120 points. I’m going to stay away from the Bucks team total and go for the game over instead.
Milwaukee is in a must-win situation, so expect their best effort, but I need them to show that they are capable of adapting to the game going on before backing them. I’m more confident that we see a lot of free throws and think the over is the best bet as we figure out how Milwaukee counters Miami’s depth.
The Pick: Over 223.5, play to 224