Wednesday NBA Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bucks vs. Heat Betting Preview (December 8)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks.
- The Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat face off for the third time this season Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).
- The Bucks are 9-1 in their past 10 games and are 6.5-point favorites entering tonight's matchup.
- Roberto Arguello explains why the Bucks have significant advantages and gives his betting pick in the matchup.
Bucks vs. Heat Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Miami Heat (14-11) host the Milwaukee Bucks (16-9) on Wednesday night on ESPN. This will be the third matchup between these teams this season.
The Heat dominated the shorthanded Bucks 127-104 in the Bucks’ second game of the season in Miami. The Bucks returned the favor with a 124-102 blowout win in Milwaukee this Saturday in a game Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo all sat out due to injury.
The Heat will once again be without Butler and Adebayo at home on Wednesday while Antetokounmpo will play. Will Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, and the Heat weather the storm and cover as 6-point underdogs? Let’s break down this matchup below.
Healthy Bucks Turning the Corner
Now that the Bucks have gotten relatively healthier lately with their big three of Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Khris Middleton available most games, they have started to resemble the regular season machine that they have been over the last few seasons.
The Bucks have won 10 of their last 11 games, and they lead the league in Efficiency Differential over the last two weeks at +14.1 as they have been covering by an average of 4.5 points per game over that span.
Without their two best players, Adebayo and Butler, the Heat won’t have the firepower to keep up with the Bucks who are rolling offensively (fifth in Offensive Rating over the last two weeks per Cleaning the Glass.
The Heat will miss Adebayo’s length as he is one of the few defenders who has a chance of keeping up with Antetokounmpo. Butler’s off-ball defense is a big reason why Antetokounmpo has struggled to drive against the Heat in the past as Butler has an innate feel for when to go for steals or hand tight on his man.
Antetokounmpo should have a field day against a shorthanded Heat frontcourt (also without Markieff Morris due to whiplash) that will need to play either Omer Yurtseven, Udonis Haslem, or P.J. Tucker as their big man when Dewayne Dedmon inevitably goes to the bench. Middleton should benefit from Antetokounmpo’s gravity against an overmatched Heat frontcourt and have quality looks, in addition to having someone other than Butler guarding him.
Can Miami Heat Up From Deep?
Without Butler and Adebayo, the Heat are missing significant contributors on both ends of the court. Their defensive ability gives the Heat tremendous scheme versatility, but without them, the Heat will be considerably smaller than the Bucks. This means the Heat will need to win the battle from the 3-point line to overcome the Bucks’ advantage with Antetokounmpo in the paint.
While Herro has been impressive so far in his third season, Robinson and Lowry have underwhelmed as shooters so far. Herro has turned heads as he has made 51% of his long midrange shots (81st percentile among combo guards, per Cleaning The Glass) and 39% of his 3s. He can make tough shots off the catch or the bounce and is the Heat’s best offensive weapon with Butler out.
The sharpshooting Robinson has been in a funk for much of the season as he has made just 33% of his 3s after making 45% and 41% of his shots from beyond the arc each of the last two seasons. Per Cleaning The Glass, Lowry’s 32% accuracy on 3s is his lowest shooting percentage on 3s since the 2009-2010 season.
However, Lowry has been efficient inside the arc as he is shooting in the 95th percentile among point guards in the midrange (51%) while also ranking in the 97th percentile at the rim among point guards (74%), per Cleaning The Glass.
The Heat also need to find someone to put pressure on the rim to make up for Butler and Adebayo’s driving abilities to give their shooters more spacing. Butler is shooting a career-high 70% at the rim this season, which ranks in the 81st percentile among forwards.
The Heat will especially miss their ability to get to the line. Butler leads all NBA forwards as he has drawn shooting fouls on 20.5% of his shot attempts. Similarly, Adebayo ranks in the 91st percentile among all bigs as he has been fouled on 20.2% of his shots. No one else on the Heat has drawn shooting fouls on more than 13.2% of his shots.
The Bucks beat a similar Heat team on Saturday and won by 22 without Antetokounmpo. This game will be even more challenging for the Heat as Antetokounmpo will play, and the Bucks have been 24.9 points better per 100 possessions with him on the court than off the court.
The Heat simply don’t have the depth inside to compete with the Bucks, even with the absence of Brook Lopez. Antetokounmpo should have his way with the Heat in the paint while Bucks shooters get quality looks on the perimeter.
The Heat will need a significantly above average scoring night from their three best shooters to remain competitive, but the recent form of Robinson and Lowry doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. I like the Bucks to cover as 6-point favorites, and I’d bet them down to -8.
Pick: Bucks -6