Sunday NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Bucks vs. Heat Game 4 (Sept. 6)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jimmy Butler (right) guarded by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
- The Miami Heat are favored over the Milwaukee Bucks in a do-or-die Game 4 in Orlando.
- Reed Wallach thinks the Heat are the right side to back in this one, but is taking their team total over.
- Read more of his betting analysis for Game 4 with updated odds below.
Bucks vs. Heat Game 4 Betting Odds
|Bucks Odds||+0.5 [BET NOW]|
|Heat Odds||-0.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-107/-112 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||219 (-110/-110) [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
The Miami Heat have built a 3-0 series lead over the No. 1-seeded Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinal round. Miami has touched up Milwaukee every which way thus far, but a 40-13 fourth quarter from the Heat in Game 3 may seal the deal and have the Bucks heading out of the bubble early.
Can the Heat finish it off in Game 4?
In an 0-3 hole, and considering it has never been done before, Milwaukee does not seem equipped to pull off the comeback of all comebacks.
Coach Mike Budenholzer has decided that he is going to go down with the ship and keep his rotations tight, playing Giannis 34:54 in Game 3 and Khris Middleton 36:03. Although Milwaukee did build up a double-digit second-half lead, its poor defensive rotations and stagnant offense doomed the club down the stretch.
The offense got rattled late as Miami went on its run, hitting uncontested 3s and firing the ball across the court. Milwaukee had multiple empty possessions where the team could not get a competitive shot off and for the game shot 11-of-37 from beyond the arc. Giannis shooting 0-of-7 from 3 is a tough pill for any team to swallow, but Middleton and Brook Lopez combined to shoot 5-of-15 from deep and could not provide steady offense down the stretch with Antetokounmpo struggling.
Bud did go to Donte DiVincenzo in favor of Pat Connaughton for the first time all series, playing the Villanova standout 21 minutes, and the Bucks were +2 in that time.
In Game 4, Milwaukee is going to have to empty the tank and play Giannis and Middleton upwards of 40 minutes. The team can’t get it all back in one shot, but its now or never. I’m not sure what Bud has to lose by playing his guys the distance and starting the comeback.
I am not sure if changing defensive schemes will benefit Milwaukee at this point, but the team may have to get away from playing Lopez as much. While he is integral to the team and his 3-point shooting is a massive plus for his size, he is getting torched on the defensive end and it has had collateral damage on the defense as a whole, with wings trying to make up for the open roll man and Miami’s shooters getting clean looks.
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Miami went into this series thinking they are better than this Milwaukee team. Having beaten the Bucks 2-1 in the season series, the Heat became a trendy upset pick but not many saw this kind of beatdown coming.
Where the Heat have really decimated Milwaukee is on its secondary action. The Heat’s stable of versatile big men have broken the Bucks’ drop defensive scheme, as Lopez has been pulled out of the paint to contest a host of Heat 3-pointers. With the paint opened by that action, Miami has been able to take on less equipped rim protectors and sloppy Milwaukee rotations.
Kelly Olynyk was out of Game 4 with injury, but Myers Leonard and Derrick Jones Jr. soaked up some of those minutes with the rest going to the remaining players in the regular rotation. Jones was able to hit two open 3s and Leonard went 0-for-2 in eight minutes.
On the defensive end, Miami continued to make Giannis uncomfortable. Despite the 21-6-9 stat line, Giannis shot 7-of-21 from the field and missed all seven of his 3-point tries. Miami has used different looks at Giannis all series long and the reigning MVP has not had an answer for them.
Looking at Game 4, Miami’s fourth-quarter surge may be all that was needed to send this Milwaukee team over the edge. Now up 3-0 and minimal adjustments on the horizon from their opponent, the Heat need to continue to use their perimeter threats to take the Milwaukee defense out of its form. It is too late to just switch coverages, as there have already been leaky secondary rotations from the Milwaukee back line that have led to open shots. It may just have to become Milwaukee outshooting Miami, which has been a losing battle this series.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Milwaukee’s defense can’t seem to figure out how to generate enough stops to slow down Miami. As I said above, Milwaukee’s drop coverage is getting ripped apart and it is causing the perimeter defenders to be out of place trying to cover up the initial action.
Miami’s deadly shooters continue to make Milwaukee’s defense pay, but on the other end they have thrown Giannis completely off of his game. Giannis has not been able to penetrate and has become too reliant on his three-point shot, which is a luxury, not what makes him MVP. He is a 30% shooter, and probably shouldn’t be settling for three’s down the stretch.
If he is unable to go in Game 4 — he is on the injury report for a sprained ankle and is questionable — this becomes a play on Miami at any number -4. The loss of Giannis would not just be a talent loss, it would be a motivation loss. The Bucks may be throwing in the towel if the Greek Freak doesn’t go in an elimination game.
I think Miami knows they have this series mentally and it is showing on the court. After opening three straight games as around 5-point underdogs, Miami opened Game 4 at -1 in a closeout situation. I do think Miami is the right side, but I instead will be playing the Heat team total over. It has hit through the first three games, and if Milwaukee is going to make an overhaul of their defense, they will make fundamental mistakes that will play into the Heat’s hand.
The Pick: Heat Team Total Over 109.5, up to 111.5